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Game #161 Preview: Means vs Manoah

Orioles (52-108) vs Blue Jays (89-71)

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays and Orioles continue their pivotal final series of the season this afternoon, with the Jays needing to keep marching towards a sweep to maybe have a chance at the playoffs. Today’s game is set to get underway at 3:07 ET.

The Yankees and Mariners lost yesterday, meaning the Jays are tied with the Mariners as the first losers here, sitting on the outside looking in of the Wild Card matchup. The Red Sox have a one game lead over both, and the Yankees are one up from the Sox. Even if the Jays win today and tomorrow, they need the Red Sox to lose once to force a Game 163.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Alek Manoah will make the final start of the regular season, looking to put a punctuation mark on what has been a fantastic rookie year. He’ll fall short of any significant Rookie of the Year voting levels due to a deep field and just not having enough innings to force himself to the top. But he has posted a great 8-2 record with a 3.35 ERA. He has struck out more than 10 batters per 9 innings, and his home run rate is a fair bit better than league average too. If he does have one weakness though, it’s giving up free baserunners. While his walk rate is pretty much right at league average, when you add in his 15 bean balls over 104.2 innings, he is allowing a free baserunner every other inning. But thankfully he has been able to pitch around most of those jams, and has had a great season.

This will be Manoah’s third start against the Orioles, with one taking place in Baltimore and one in Buffalo. The one in Baltimore is a forgettable one for him, as he allowed 4 home runs over 3.1 innings, getting lit up by Ryan Mountcastle especially, before being ejected from the game for beaning Maikel Franco after back to back home runs. His start in Buffalo went well though, allowing just an unearned run over 6 innings.

Orioles’ Starter

The Orioles will send out their one good starter for this one, as John Means will make his 26th start of the season. Means enters play with a 6-8 record, but a 3.32 ERA over 143.2 innings. Outside of a shoulder strain that caused him to miss about 7 weeks at the beginning of summer, he has been great and consistent for the Orioles, one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dark season.

Remarkably, Means has not faced the Jays this year. He missed a couple series when he was out with an injury, but otherwise the rotation just didn’t line up for him to face the Jays.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

I’m honestly surprised Jano is behind the plate, because he will be tomorrow to catch Ryu too.

Orioles’ Lineup

Still forthcoming

Yesterday’s Heroes

Trea Turner had a great game yesterday, going 2-3 with a pair of home runs and a walk, driving in 5 runs to take home the Monster Bat award. His first inning home run got the Dodgers their first lead, while a 6th inning grand slam tied things back up for them at 5. As a result, Turner is also our WPA King with a .466 mark, as the Dodgers beat the Brewers 8-6. Unfortunately for them, their elimination number for the NL West still fell to 1, as the Giants just keep on winning.

Ranger Suárez had another great outing last night, throwing 7 shutout innings to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. He allowed 6 hits, a walk and a bean ball, but cleaned it all up with the help of 9 strikeouts, and he walked home with the win as his Phillies beat the Marlins 5-0. Suárez finishes the regular season with a 1.36 ERA over 106.0 innings.

Find the Link

Find the link between John Means and Spencer Turnbull.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant