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Game #8 Preview: Shoemaker vs Fried

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Blue Jays (3-4) vs Braves (7-4)

Washington Nationals v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Since Major League Baseball is seemingly still going on, the Blue Jays will continue their season this evening after a long weekend away from game. This is one of those days that I’m thankful to be writing this, because I have no idea who they’re playing, where they’re playing, or when they’re playing, so I have some research to do. Looks like gametime is set for 7:10 EDT in Atlanta with the Braves as the legitimate home team.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Matt Shoemaker is slated to make his second start of the season, after a very strong start to the season about a week and a half ago. In that start, Shoemaker went 6 solid innings (the longest start by a Blue Jay so far) while allowing just 1 run on 3 hits and a pair of walks, striking out 4.

His fastball velocity is right back where it has been over the entirety of his career, which is a great sign for a pitcher coming off an ACL injury and more than a year since last pitching. He looked very much like the pitcher that we enjoyed watching through his five pre-injury starts last year.

Braves’ Starter

The Braves were dealt a significant blow yesterday, as 22 year old staff Ace Mike Soroka went down for the year with a torn Achilles Tendon. With the injury, today’s starter Max Fried will slide into the top of the rotation role for the playoff hopeful Braves. The rotation depth will be tested as they continue their push for the playoffs, but having Fried head the charge is a pretty good start.

Through his first two starts of the season, the lefty Fried is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA. He has pitched a bit better than that based on his FIP over his 11.2 innings, currently sitting at 2.01. He has yet to allow a home run, while striking out 12 and walking just 3.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

With the four day layoff, the injured Blue Jays have hopefully been able to mend their broken wings and come back full time. Bo Bichette and his sore hamstring did start the game last Thursday, but getting an extended break right after that is likely a good thing for the hamstring. Randal Grichuk, who has been out since the third game of the season with a tight IT Band, was seen on the field working out over the weekend, and is expected back today.

Travis Shaw, who was away on personal leave, is expected to be back for this series as well, which could explain who is replacing the recently optioned Sam Gaviglio.

Braves’ Lineup

Marcel Ozuna, who came to the Braves on a 1 year, $18m deal after an underwhelming offseason having been saddled with the Qualifying Offer, is off to a very hot start. After 11 games, he is hitting .324/.444/.649, splitting time between LF and the newly minted NL DH.

Shortstop Dansby Swanson is also off to a hot start, despite striking out in 40% of his plate appearances. He is also putting to use his excellent speed, which is making him look more like the player the Braves were hoping he would be after getting him from the Diamondbacks as the former first overall pick.

Freddie Freeman has played in all 11 Braves games thus far, a good turnaround for Freeman after testing positive for Coronavirus at the start of July. The Washington Post has an in depth look of what he went through as he battled the virus, but he has thankfully been able to make it back the field pretty much the same great player he was before.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Yoan Moncada went 3-5 with a home run and double, good enough to pick up the Monster Bat award. His output helped carry his White Sox to the 6-4 win over the Brewers.

Alec Mills threw 7 shutout innings against his former organization, allowing 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4. He picked up the win in the Cubs’ 2-0 shutout of the visiting Royals. Pitching that many shutout innings in a close game will obviously build up a lot of WPA, and his .463 mark gives Mills the WPA King title as well.

Find the Link

Find the link between Marcel Ozuna and Nelson Cruz.