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Game #58 Preview: Lopez vs Walker

Orioles (24-33) vs Blue Jays (30-27)

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Your playoff bound Blue Jays wrap up this weird 2020 season with a 3 game set welcoming the Orioles. There isn’t a whole lot on the line this weekend, as it’ll take a sweep by the Jays and the Yankees losing at least 2 to the Marlins to change the standings at all, so the Jays will likely just be using this series as a tune up for the playoffs which start on Tuesday. Today’s game is set to get underway at 6:37 EDT.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Taijuan Walker will head to the mound for the Jays, coming off arguably his best start with the Jays. His last time out, Walker went 6 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 8 on his way to his second win as a Blue Jay. That improved his numbers in blue to 2-1 with a 1.54 ERA across 5 starts. Of course, there are 6 unearned runs in there too, but he has looked quite good for the Jays.

Walker faced the Orioles a month ago in his first start with the Jays, and instantly made a great impression. Over 6 shutout innings, he allowed just 4 hits with 3 walks and 4 strikeouts, inducing a lot of weak contact and stymieing the Orioles’ hitters.

Orioles’ Starter

Jorge Lopez will make his 6th start and 10th appearance overall for the Orioles this evening. Over 37 innings, the right hander is 2-1 with a 5.11 ERA, striking out 27 batters to 11 walks, while allowing 6 home runs.

Lopez faced the Jays earlier this year, making his first official start on August 30. He lasted 4.2 innings, surrendering 3 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks, while also striking out 3. He held the Jays bats silent, going 3-up 3-down the first 3 innings, but then the Jays got their offence going the next couple innings, and knocked him out before he could through the 5th.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

The Jays’ bench is fairly short, so there won’t be a whole lot of post-clinch sitting for the regulars, with just 2 opportunities, assuming Alejandro Kirk is catching and Danny Jansen is on the bench.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. just wrapped up one of the best series of his young career, and it came in one of the most important series that he has played in. Over the 4 game series, he went 9-15 with a home run, triple and 3 doubles, driving in 7 runs and coming up big for the Jays. Hopefully he can build off this great series and go on a tear and help carry this team into the playoffs.

Orioles’ Lineup

Chris Davis and Anthony Santander are currently on the Injured List for the Orioles, both out for the remainder of the season, Davis with patellar tendinitis and Santander with an oblique strain. One has to wonder if Davis, who still has 2 seasons left on his contract but has produced -5.3 WAR over the last 3 seasons, may be talked into retirement this winter.

Also on the at least somewhat injured side of things, shortstop Jose Iglesias has been struggling with a wrist injury and has missed a handful of games over the last week. When healthy, he is still hitting quite well, carrying his very good .373/.401/.530 line over 142 PA into today’s game.

On the doing good list, the Orioles have a pair of their 2015 1st round draft picks in the heart of the order and doing quite well, in names that I’m sure we’ll become quite accustomed to in DJ Stewart and Ryan Mountcastle. Stewart, with a .208/.371/.506 (139 wRC+ line) has done well when putting the ball in play, but has struck out in 36 of his 99 plate appearances. Mountcastle is fairing much better on the strikeout and average side, hitting .325/.378/.500 (138 wRC+), but doesn’t quite have the power or walk drawing skills of Stewart. Stewart has 7 home runs while Mountcastle has 5 in his 127 PA.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Colin Moran went 3-3 with a home run, double and a walk to pick up the Monster Bat award. He helped lead his Pirates to the 7-0 victory over the Cubs.

Hyun-Jin Ryu, with his 7 shutout innings, gets the Pitcher of the Day trophy, and also picks up the WPA King one as well. The game was close enough that he accrued .386 WPA in the Jays’ playoff clinching 4-1 win over the Yankees.

Standings Watch

Current seed: 8th (unchanged from yesterday)
Games back of the Yankees for 2nd in East: 2 (-1 from yesterday, elimination number is 1*)
Games back of Cleveland for 7th seed: 3 (unchanged from yesterday, if the Jays can catch and tie them, they would have the same intradivision record, and I’m not sure who holds the next tiebreaker. So let’s say this elimination number is 1.)
Games up on 9th: DOESN’T MATTER
Magic Number to clinch a playoff spot: CLINCHED!!!!!!!!!

Find the Link

Find the link between Jose Iglesias and Jacob deGrom.