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Game #53 Preview: Walker vs Medina

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Blue Jays (26-26) vs Phillies (27-25)

Toronto Blue Jays v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Blue Jays wrap up their 4 game series in Philadelphia this afternoon, looking not only to prevent the 4 game sweep at the hand of the Phillies, but also prevent the 7 game road sweep, on this final road trip of the 2020 season. Either way, they’re back in Buffalo tomorrow, but first the game that gets underway at 3:05 EDT today, and I’ll never understand the random start times this season.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Taijuan Walker will be back on the mound for retribution after the shellacking he took at the hands of the Yankees (and Derek Fisher). Things started well for Walker his last time out, as he retired the first 4 batters he faced. Then he let up a double, followed a badly misplayed ball by Fisher, followed by another misplayed ball by Fisher, and all of a sudden the Yankees had a run in and a couple runners on. Walker then got a strikeout, and got the number 9 hitter to two strikes, but failed to put him away, allowed 4 straight hits including back to back home runs, and all of a sudden his night was over.

That outing hurt some of his numbers, although 6 of the 7 runs were unearned. He now has a 1.56 ERA as a Blue Jay, but has allowed 9 runs in 17.1 innings, with 6 of them being unearned. On the season, Walker is 3-3 with a 3.05 ERA over 44.1 innings, allowing 22 runs (just 15 earned) on 39 hits and 17 walks, striking out 38. He has now allowed 8 home runs, which gives him a 1.62 per 9 innings rate, a fair bit higher than the 1.35 per 9 inning league wide rate.

Phillies’ Starter

Adonis Medina is set to make his Major League debut. Medina entered 2020 as the 11th best prospect in the Phillies’ system according to Fangraphs. He features a fastball, slider and changeup, with about league average stuff and control. Nothing overly flashy, but probably good enough that he’ll be able to get some outs at the Major League level.

Medina pitched exclusively at the AA level in 2019, making 21 starts and throwing 105.2 innings. He put up a 4.94 ERA with 82 strikeouts against 41 walks, allowing about a hit an inning while generating an above average rate of ground balls. I’d expect to see more of that today too, keeping the ball on the ground and in play against this Jays’ team.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Phillies’ Lineup

Yesterday’s Heroes

Tim Anderson went 2-5 with a pair of home runs, picking up the Monster Bat award in the process. His output helped his White Sox to the 5-0 win over the Reds, which knocked the Reds down to the 8th spot in the NL, and put the Sox within half a game of the Rays for the top spot in the AL.

Old friend J.A. Happ twirled a gem last night, holding the Red Sox off the board over 8 strong innings to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. He allowed 4 hits, didn’t walk anyone and struck out 9 as the Yankees beat the Red Sox 8-0.

In probably the closest race for WPA King, Clayton Kershaw beat Corbin Burnes by a tally of .376 to .375. Kershaw threw 7 innings of 1 run ball, and his Dodgers held on for the 6-1 win over the Rockies in Colorado.

Standings Watch

Current seed: 8th (unchanged from yesterday)
Games back of the Yankees for 2nd in East: 5 (+1 from yesterday)
Games back of Cleveland for 7th seed: 2 (unchanged from yesterday)
Games up on 9th: 3 (-1 from yesterday)
Magic Number to clinch a playoff spot: 6 (unchanged from yesterday)

Find the Link

Since no one found it yesterday, we’ll do it again today. Find the link between Andrew McCutchen and Ryan Braun (and a bonus point for why they’re the only 2 that qualify for this and why not the other one).