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Game #47 Preview: Walker vs Garcia

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Blue Jays (26-20) vs Yankees (26-21)

New York Mets v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Nicholas T. LoVerde/Getty Images

The Blue Jays head to the Bronx to take on the Yankees to open one of the biggest series of the season. Game 1 gets underway tonight at 7:05 EDT.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Taijuan Walker will look to continue to solidify his #2 ranking in the Jays’ rotation, as he tries to both build off and overcome the challenges his faced his last time out. In his start last Tuesday against the same Yankees, Walker made it through 4 shutout innings, which, aside from being too short, is a promising start. However, he walked 5 batters that game and struck out just 3, dancing out of danger the entire evening.

On the season, Walker is 3-2 with a 2.95 ERA, getting quite lucky based on FIP (4.82). He is controlling his own luck a bit though, as he is doing a fantastic job limiting hard contact, sitting at the 88th percentile in limiting hard hits. As a result, he has allowed just 33 hits across 42.2 innings, including just 6 home runs, which makes it a bit harder for runners to be strung together to be able to score.

Yankees’ Starter

Stud rookie Deivi Garcia will make his second consecutive start against the Blue Jays, and he certainly had their number his last time out. Over 7 innings, he allowed 2 runs on 5 hits and no walks over 7 innings, striking out 6. The Blue Jays recorded 4 of those hits in the first 3 innings, including a 2-run home run by Derek Fisher that gave the Jays a temporary lead in the second inning. However, Garcia set down 14 of the final 15 batters he faced, as he looked completely dominant on the mound once he got settled in.

That great start earned Garcia the first win of his big league career. It brought his season total to a 1-1 record with a 3.06 ERA over 17.2 innings. He has struck out an impressive 18 batters against just 2 walks. That Fisher home run was just the second he has allowed, but as a fly ball pitcher in Yankee Stadium (and the rest of the East) he will be prone to more than just 1 per 9 innings, and that will probably be the biggest determining factor of his overall success.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

It’s great to have Bo Bichette back. He’s just 1-8 with 3 strikeouts so far, but his presence in the lineup is a boost, and he will begin to hit again, so there is no need for concern there. Hopefully the Jays will be able to add Teoscar Hernandez to the list of active Blue Jays fairly soon, and if they’re really lucky, Rowdy Tellez before the season is out. But at least Bo Bichette is back.

Jonathan Villar, who inexplicably keeps getting starts at DH, will likely be there again today. He has a 76 wRC+ on the year, and an even worse 59 wRC+ since coming to the Jays, and has yet to record an extra base hit. He did at least pick up his first 2 steals over the weekend, and I don’t think he has been randomly overaggressive on the basepaths forcing an easy out in the last few games either, so hopefully he is settling in and coming around.

Yankees’ Lineup

The Yankees officially activated Gio Urshela yesterday, which seemed a bit weird since it was an off day for them. He’ll return to his normal duties at 3B, pushing DJ LeMahieu back to 2B and Tyler Wade to the bench, making the Yankees’ lineup a fair bit stronger.

There is a chance that both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will return this week as well, although I wouldn’t be overly confident in saying that will be today. They’ve already announced the Urshela activation and subsequent roster moves, that I’m not sure they would do another one, but there’s certainly nothing stopping them. It seems pretty likely that the pair will be bashing in the Yankees’ lineup by the weekend though. That would mean a lot less of Brett Gardner (88 wRC+), Miguel Andujar (70 wRC+) and Mike Ford (35 wRC+) in the Yankees’ lineup.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Joey Votto stepped up his double header, going 2-5 with a pair of home runs and a pair of walks, earning the Monster Bat award for the day. The Reds swept their double header over the Pirates by scores of 9-4 and 3-1.

Mike Minor threw 7 shutout innings, allowing a pair of hits and walks while striking out 8 batters to narrowly win the Pitcher of the Day award. That was technically a complete game shutout, as the Athletics used his effort to split their double header with that 9-0 win while the Mariners won the first game 6-5.

Kwang-hyun Kim narrowly missed out on the Pitcher of the Day award, as he also threw 7 shutout innings, but did so by allowing 3 hits and walks. He did pick up the WPA King title though, as his game was scoreless throughout his time on the mound, and he build up a .610 WPA. However, his Cardinals ended up losing that game on a walk off sac fly in the bottom of the 8th, as the Brewers took game 1 of their doubleheader 2-1, before the Cards came back and won 3-2 in the nightcap.

Find the Link

Find the link between Gio Urshela and Thomas Pannone