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Game #13 Preview: Shoemaker vs Eovaldi

Blue Jays (5-7) vs Red Sox (5-9)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays wrap up their series against the Red Sox this afternoon, looking for their first series win of 2020. Today’s game gets underway at 1:35 EDT.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Matt Shoemaker will make his third start of the year, obviously looking for something a lot closer to the success he had in his first start as opposed to the struggles he faced his last time out.

In his first start in Tropicana Field, Shoemaker held the Rays to just 1 run on 3 hits, walking 2 and striking out 4 over 6 solid innings, still the longest start by a Blue Jay this year. Last time out in Atlanta, he was knocked around for 6 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks over 4.2 innings, a start in which he allowed 3 home runs. But he’s back to pitching on a much more normal schedule, so the hope is that it was just the abnormal layoff that threw him off his game.

Red Sox’ Starter

The plan going into the weekend seemed to be that the Red Sox with go with a bullpen day today, but the announced starter as of right now seems to be staff ace Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi became the defacto ace, making the opening day start for the club, after Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez are out for the season, David Price was traded to the Dodgers, and Rick Porcello left via free agency.

The fireball throwing righty has made 3 starts this year, each one a little worse than the one before. On opening day, he held the Orioles to 1 run over 6 innings, walking 1 and striking out 4. His next start against the Mets saw him allow his only home run thus far, while he allowed 2 runs over 5 innings with 4 strikeouts and a walk. His most recent start on Tuesday was also 5 innings, where he allowed 4 runs, but did strike out 6 against just 1 walk.

Overall, that has given Eovaldi a 1-1 record with a 3.94 ERA. As noted above, he has done a good job limiting home runs and walks, while getting the odd strikeout. This gives him a 2.97 FIP, nearly a full run better than his ERA. Statcast seems to think the other way though, as he has given up a lot of hard contact, and his expected wOBA should be .373 compared to the .355 mark he has allowed thus far.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Lefties in general have always hit Eovaldi better in general, and just taking a quick look at head to head stats, the Jays’ batters aren’t far off. All four of the Jays’ regular lefties have a home run off Eovaldi, while none of the righties do. So expect to see Reese McGuire behind the plate, as well as Cavan Biggio, Rowdy Tellez and Travis Shaw.

Don’t be surprised to see Joe Panik out there again too. The only way I wouldn’t hate this move is if they use it to give Randal Grichuk a two day rest as a maintenance period for his recent injury, but even then I’m not sure I wouldn’t hate it.

EDIT: Lineup is out, and still no Reese. I wonder if something is wrong with him. Seems weird to have Jansen catching for the 3rd straight day, in a day game after a night game.

Red Sox’ Lineup

I expected to see the same lineup yesterday as the day before, and they delivered with one exception - Alex Verdugo after his 2 homer game was bumped to the top of the lineup, while Andrew Benintendi continued his flip flopping between the top of the order and the bottom. Tzu-Wei Lin gets the start at second base today, but that seems to be the only change from yesterday.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Jorge Soler went 2-5 with a pair of home runs, driving in 4 runs to pick up the Monster Bat award. He helped carry his Royals to the 9-6 win over the Twins.

Frankie Montas twirled 7 shutout innings, allowing just a pair of hits and nothing else, earning the Pitcher of the Day award. He also earned the win in the Athletics’ 3-1 win over the Astros, and because it was so close, Montas gets the WPA King award as well, for his .445 mark.

Find the Link

Find the link between Andrew Benintendi and Derek Dietrich.