Now that the Blue Jays have passed the 2⁄3 mark of the season, they’re ready to play the Yankees for the first time this season. Which is alright, because the Yankees are currently heavily infirmed, and playing some of the worst baseball they have played in years. But that doesn’t mean this super important series is any easier, and gets underway this evening in Buffalo at 6:37 EDT.
Blue Jays’ Starter
The Jays kick off the series on the mound the best way possible, sending out their Ace Hyun-Jin Ryu. This will be Ryu’s 9th start of the season, bringing his 3-1 record and 2.51 ERA into action today. Over 43 innings, Ryu has 48 strikeouts against just 12 walks, allowing 14 runs (12 earned) on 35 hits. So far, Ryu has been everything the Jays had hoped he would be, bringing a calming and dominant presence to the mound, and with 3 of his remaining 4 or 5 starts against the Yankees down the stretch, his importance continues to grow.
Lefty Jordan Montgomery makes his 7th start of the season for the Yankees, and he has undoubtedly been a disappointment for the Yankees so far this season. After coming back from Tommy John surgery just over 2 years ago, I’m sure the Yankees and their fans were hoping for better than a 2-2 record with a 5.76 ERA, although that’s over just 25 innings on the season.
There is definitely time for him to improve still though, and there have been some encouraging signs for him thus far. He has walked just 4 batters so far, but it’s the 5 home runs and 22 strikeouts that is maybe a bit more concerning, as he was a lot better throughout the Minors at getting strikeouts and preventing home runs. Perhaps the most encouraging sign for the 27 year old is that his fastball is at an all time high this year, averaging about 93 mph, after being below 92 before this year.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
The Jays are still waiting for an official diagnosis on Teoscar Hernandez, but considering the reason they haven’t gotten a clear picture is that they’re waiting for the swelling to go down, it’s fair to assume he’ll be out for a while still. I would imagine that we’ll see a resolution before the game, which would likely mean Billy McKinney being recalled, although I personally would prefer Jonathan Davis.
Santiago Espinal hasn’t started in a game since Thursday, as the Jays faced 4 consecutive righties over the weekend. I’m hoping that with the lefty on the mound, he’ll be back in at SS and we can have a real defender out there. Once Bo is back, I’m pretty sure that Espinal will be the one on the way out, and while that does make me sad, Joe Panik has at least looked a lot better over the last week or so.
Gio Urshela went to the Injured List the other day, joining Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge as the position player contingent currently away from the team. Those 3 represent 8 of the Yankees’ position players that are above replacement level, so it for sure a huge hit to their offence.
The outfield currently consists of Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner and Clint Frazier. Frazier is doing quite well in his short time thus far, with a 155 wRC+ in 82 PA while playing passable defense. Hicks is hitting for a low average, but is doing well getting on base which is making him a league average bat. Brett Gardner is doing quite poorly with the bat, hitting .180/.308/.326, and it’s starting to seem likely the Yankees will decline the 37 year old’s option this winter.
The left side of their infield now that Urshela is down appears likely to be Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, and those two coupled with Gary Sanchez behind the plate represent the struggles the Yankees have faced this season. Torres has the high mark on the offensive side with an 87 wRC+, but is struggling defensively at SS. Sanchez is having a terrible time with the bat (58 wRC+), and while he’s doing better framing pitches, he is doing a bad job blocking balls and throwing out runners. Andujar has looked bad on both sides of the ball in his short time in the Majors, and is probably going to be held out of the starting lineup occasionally in lieu of Tyler Wade.
Jacob DeGrom got the Pitcher of the Day award in that game as well, as he went 7 strong innings, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits while striking out 12.
Ji-Man Choi, benefiting from the free runner at second base to lead off the bottom of the 10th, hit a game tying double while putting himself in scoring position to set up the winning run. That play gave him a .608 WPA, which was the entirety of his day as he was a pinch hitter for that at bat. The Rays scored Choi from second, and won the game 5-4 over the Marlins.
Find the Link
Find the link between Brett Gardner and Alex Gordon