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Games #50 and 51 Preview: Ray/Stripling vs Eflin/Rosso

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Blue Jays (26-23) vs Phillies (24-25)

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

After being pulverized in New York, the Blue Jays head to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies for 4 games, beginning with a double header today. Game 1 is a makeup game from the series at the beginning of August, which means that the Jays get to bat last, followed by a normal game half an hour after the first one. Both games are scheduled to be 7 innings, and the first one is scheduled to get underway at 4:05 EDT.

Blue Jays’ Starters

Robbie Ray is currently scheduled to be the starter for the first one. Ray seems to actually fighting for a chance to make a playoff start for the Blue Jays, having pitched relatively well in his short time here (relatively in that he has hasn’t allowed 5 home runs in an inning I suppose isn’t that impressive). In 3 games since the trade deadline, Ray is 1-0 with a 4.38 ERA, striking out 14 batters in 12.1 innings, walking just 6. I say “just” 6, because he was walking more than a batter per inning before showing up in Toronto, so that’s definitely an improvement.

Game 2 appears to belong to fellow newcomer Ross Stripling. Stripling has pitched alright as a Jay in his 2 attempts, although to fairly rough results. Over 7.2 innings, he has allowed 6 runs on 10 hits and 4 walks, but he has struck out 5 and not allowed a single home run. His ERA as a Blue Jay is 7.04, but his FIP is at least just 3.20.

Phillies’ Starters

Zach Eflin is set to start game 1, and he has had a bumpy road to his season. Through 8 starts, Eflin is 2-2 with a 5.01 ERA, although if you go by FIP, he has looked quite good, registering a 3.68 mark in 41.1 innings. He is doing a fantastic job racking up strikeouts (52) while limiting home runs (7) and walks (11). Efling throws hard (averaging 94-95 this year), so will likely see at least some success against the Jays’ lineup today.

The game 2 starter has not been announced, and this just seems to be speculation on the part of Fangraphs (they’ve been right frequently in this situation), but it appears the Phillies will recall Ramon Rosso to make this start. Rosso has pitched in 6 games for the Phillies, including a 2.1 inning start on September 13. Overall across his 8 innings, he has allowed 7 runs on 9 hits, walking 8 and striking out 9 with just 1 home run allowed.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Teoscar Hernandez returned to the lineup yesterday, and did not look overly comfortable as he struck out 4 times in 5 at bats. He’ll more than likely just play 1 today, and hopefully he wasn’t rushed back too soon. Just as a note, today would be the last day a player can be sent to the Injured List if they’re going to be available to be activated by the Wild Card round (I think anyway), so if he or anyone else re-aggravated anything, today would be the day to make that move.

The Jays’ bench right now seems to be as strong as it has all season, with Santiago Espinal, Jonathan Villar, Jonathan Davis and Alejandro Kirk. I would expect all 4 of them to get a start in one of the games today, and with a righty going for the Phillies in both games, it doesn’t really matter who sits in either.

Phillies’ Lineup

All Star catcher J.T. Realmuto has been out of the lineup for almost a week now, and is expected to miss the entire weekend due to a hip issue. Why he isn’t on the Injured List I’m not sure, although him going there in a roster move today to get Rosso back on the roster seems like a probable move.

Similarily, All Star infielder Jean Segura is expected to miss both games of the double header today due to a triceps issue. Add in that Rhys Hoskins is out for the season and expected to need Tommy John Surgery, the Philies are missing 3 of their best bats.

They do still have a few of their other top bats in the lineup though, led prominently by Bryce Harper, but also featuring other great bats like Didi Gregorius, and Alec Bohm.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Lourdes Gurriel Jr., with his 4-4 night including a pair of homers and a double, gets the Monster Bat award.

Brandon Nimmo had a huge game tying triple in the top of the 6th inning, followed by a go-ahead home run in the top of the 9th, to help his Mets beat the Phillies 10-6. Nimmo for his efforts was worth .649 WPA and takes home the WPA King trophy.

Stephen Brault threw a complete game yesterday, allowing 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. He struck out 8 on his way to earning the win in the Pirates 5-1 defeat of the Cardinals.

Standings Watch

The sweep at the hands of the Yankees has pushed the Jays to 2.5 games back of them in the race for second place, and now 6 games back of the Rays for first with 11 games to go. We’ll move past that pipe dream and focus on the Yankees and Cleveland, who they’re jockeying for 7th place with, and the Mariners, who head the group of teams with playoff hopes flickering in the distance.

Current seed: 8th
Games back of the Yankees for 2nd in East: 2.5
Games back of Cleveland for 7th seed: 0.5
Games up on 9th: 4.5
Magic Number to clinch a playoff spot: 7

Find the Link

Find the link between Alec Bohm and Wade Boggs.