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Game #36 Preview: Walker vs Perez

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Blue Jays (19-16) vs Red Sox (12-25)

Toronto Blue Jays v Miami Marlins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Blue Jays head up to Boston to start a 5 game series against the Red Sox, with their normal 4 games plus a makeup from the players’ strike last week, which will be played in a double header Friday. But first, we have today’s game, which gets underway at 7:30 EDT.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Taijuan Walker will make his second start in Blue Jay blue, looking to replicate the success of his first try. Fresh off the plane in Buffalo last Saturday, Walker took on the Orioles and held them down quite well. Over 6 shutout innings (a rarity for a Blue Jays’ pitcher), Walker allowed 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out 4 on 92 pitches.

On the season as a whole, Walker is 3-2 with a 3.27 ERA. He is averaging 5.5 innings per start, with 29 strikeouts against 14 walks+hbp over 33 innings. He hasn’t been helping himself too much after those free baserunners either, picking up just his second double play his last time out. Add in the exactly league average home run rate of 5 over 33 innings, and he’s probably somewhat lucky to be sitting at the numbers he is.

Red Sox’ Starter

The Red Sox will counter with veteran lefty Martin Perez. This will be Perez’ 8th start of the year, and he has probably been their best starter thus far. Across 35.1 innings, Perez is 2-4 with a 4.58 ERA, allowing 19 runs on 30 hit, walking 15 and striking out just 24.

Perez has seen his four seam fastball velocity diminish a fair bit this year, which is what you’d expect as a pitcher gets older, but he’s just 29 a probably a couple years ahead of the normal decline phase. Prior to this season, the last 5 years has seen his four seam fastball velocity over 93, pushing 94, but this year his average is down to 92. Surprisingly, it’s also the most effective it has ever been, going from something used to set up other pitches to actually being used to get outs occasionally. This is allowing his other fastballs to become a bit more unhittable as well, which is also nicely setting up his curveball. If he can get the walks under control, he can become an above average pitcher.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

A few of the Blue Jays’ have been getting a day off here the last couple days, as Charlie Montoyo looks to keep his players fresh over the long stretch of games the Jays are currently in. If Montoyo is going to rest someone again today, I would guess that it is going to be Cavan Biggio with the lefty on the mound. But the chances of Biggio actually getting the day off are probably fairly slim.

Jonathan Villar was pretty good with the bat yesterday, seeing his second start hitting in the number 3 hole. Going forward, he really shouldn’t be batting third, and he really needs to limit his baserunning and fielding mistakes to less than 1 per game, not 1 per inning like he did to start yesterday’s game.

With his 5th home run yesterday, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has upped his season line to .269/.326/.471 (114 wRC+) which seems like a pleasant surprise when looking back on how some of his at bats have gone. His numbers are pretty much now in line with his career numbers.

Red Sox’ Lineup

The Red Sox traded away Mitch Moreland and Kevin Pillar. No longer seeing Pillar in the lineup isn’t that exciting for Jays’ fans, as he was 0-12 against the Jays this year. But the removal of Moreland is something to be celebrated, as he was hitting .412/.524/1.176 with 4 home runs and 9 RBI in 5 games.

Taking the roster spot of Moreland is one of the Red Sox’ top prospects Bobby Dalbec. Dalbec entered the season as the Sox’ 4th overall prospect, a solid right handed hitter with a lot of power. He has struggled so far in his first 3 games though, hitting just a home run and single while striking out 8 times in 12 PA.

J.D. Martinez, who is having an extremely untypical season with a wRC+ currently sitting at 83, took a pitch off his left hand the other day, causing him to miss a few days. The x-rays didn’t show any damage, but I’m sure the Red Sox will be watching that hand closely.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Adam Duvall went 3-4 yesterday, launching 3 home runs while driving in 5 to pick up the Monster Bat award. He was very instrumental in his Braves’ 7-5 win over the Red Sox.

Zac Gallen dominated the Dodgers over 7 innings, keeping them off the board with 1 hit and a pair of walks, striking out 7 to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. Unfortunately for him, his bullpen couldn’t hold the 1-0 lead, thanks to a Mookie Betts home run to tie it in the 9th, followed by the late inning “heroics” of...

Chris Taylor, who picks up WPA King title thanks to a big error on the part of the Diamondbacks. Taylor laid down the extra inning sacrificial bunt, but the Diamondbacks threw it away, allowing the free runner to score and Taylor to move into scoring position and eventually score. That play alone was worth .614 WPA, bringing him out of the negative and up to .554. The Dodgers ended up beating the Diamondbacks 3-2.

Find the Link

Find the link between Bobby Dalbec and Yankees’ top prospect Deivi Garcia.