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Game #10b Preview: Cole vs Ray

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Yankees (4-5) vs Blue Jays (4-5)

Los Angeles Angels v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

After the rainout yesterday, the Blue Jays look to spring back into action this evening, starting a new series against the Yankees. Start time for this one is 7:07 ET, and with clear skies in the forecast, it should start around then.

Blue Jays’ Starter

The Jays are expected to activate Robbie Ray from in the Injured List in time to make this start. Ray has been out for almost 3 weeks after bruising his elbow while falling with his child. Strange circumstances for an injury, but ultimately it cost him just two starts, and he should be ready to go.

Ray had a fabulous Spring Training up until the injury. Through 4 appearances, he pitched 13.2 innings, allowing just 3 runs on 6 hits and 5 walks, surrendering 2 home runs while striking out 18. The walks are the concern, and while that rate isn’t far off his career rate, the last couple years they have been completely out of control for him.

In 2020, Ray threw 51.2 innings, and allowed 45 walks. When the Jays acquired him at the trade deadline, he had up to that point walked 31 in 31 innings, so 14 over his 20.2 innings with the Jays was at least an improvement. Hopefully his continued work with Pete Walker can continue to improve his numbers.

Yankees’ Starter

Ace Gerrit Cole will make his third start of the season, and second against the Jays. Going back to last year’s messed up schedule, this will be the 4th start in 5 regular season games for Cole against the Jays. He looked a bit out of sorts his first time out against the Jays this year, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, walking 2 and striking out 8. Teoscar Hernández took him deep in that game to end his day in the 6th inning.

His second start of the season was a lot more like the Gerrit Cole that everybody fears. Against the Orioles, Cole threw 7 shutout innings, allowing just 4 hits without any walks, and struck out 13 batters. It was the Orioles, but they were also doing well up to that point.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Currently, the trio of expected starting outfielders is on the Injured List. George Springer is still a little ways out with his quad injury. Teoscar I believe needs to be out for a few more days since coming in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was on the COVID IL due to side effects from the vaccine. He left mid-way through Friday’s game, so we’re probably far enough now that the effects have subsided and he’ll be activated for today’s game.

With Gurriel coming back, that means the Jays will have to send someone back out to the Alternate Site, or maybe just the Taxi Squad. I’m honestly still not 100% sure who goes where, and how all of that technically works. The Jays currently are carrying a 3-man bench, so the player going down doesn’t necessarily need to be a fielder, although I would think that it will either be Jonathan Davis, Josh Palacios or Santiago Espinal that will be on the way out.

Yankees’ Lineup

They have still managed to keep their stable of oft-injured players healthy since we last them, having only lost Gio Urshela for a game due to COVID vaccine side effects. But he’s back to full strength again now.

Not operating at full strength is the Yankees’ offense on the whole. Together, like the Blue Jays, they have been a bit of a disappointment in the early going, with Yankees batters collectively hitting at a 99 wRC+. The biggest culprits are Jay Bruce (43 wRC+), Aaron Hicks (43 wRC+), Giancarlo Stanton (61 wRC+) and Clint Frazier (63 wRC+).

There have been some (un)welcomed bright spots in the Yankees’ lineup in the early going. Brett Gardner (171 wRC+) has been fighting to remain relevant and force his way into the lineup most days. Gary Sanchez (167 wRC+) has started his season off a lot better than he has looked the last couple seasons as well.

Yesterday’s Heroes

J.D. Martinez went 4-6, launching 3 home runs and driving in 4 to pick up the Monster Bat award. He helped his Red Sox to the slugfest win over the Orioles 14-9.

Kyle Seager had a nearly equal game with the bat, going 4-5 with 2 home runs, but his at bats were a bit more instrumental in helping his Mariners win. Down 6-0, Seager started the comeback with his first home run leading off the 6th inning. In the 7th, he had a big single that put their 5th run on 3rd base. Then the final blow came in the top of the 9th, when Seager launched a 3-run home run, making the score 8-6. That would end up being the final tally as the Mariners took down the Twins. His WPA King total was a very impressive .680.

Luke Weaver spun a gem yesterday (man I hope I’m the first one to use that line), throwing 7 shutout innings, allowing just a hit, beaned batter and a walk while striking out 8. He picks up the Pitcher of the Day award in the Diamondbacks 7-0 win over the Reds.

Find the Link

Find the link between Gio Urshela and the first guy to throw 8 hitless innings (not 8.2) for the Padres, which was considered pretty much the best they could do before Joe Musgrove a couple days ago.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant