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Game #17 Preview: Ryu vs Rodriguez

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Blue Jays (7-9) vs Red Sox (11-6)

Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Blue Jays continue their road trip this evening, blazing into Boston to take on the red hot first place Red Sox. First pitch is set for 7:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Coming in on 6 full days rest, Hyun Jin Ryu will make his 4th start of the season. He has been great through the first 3, pitching to a 1-1 record with a 1.89 ERA. Through 19 innings, Ryu has allowed 15 hits and 2 walks while striking out 19. He has been every bit the ace the Jays wanted out of him so far since signing prior to last season.

Red Sox’ Starter

The Sox will send out left hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who will be making his 3rd start of the season, a good comeback story for a guy who missed the entire 2020 season. Rodriguez couldn’t play last year due to myocarditis, brought on COVID-19, the effects of which just seem absolutely atrocious.

“... cleared to start just walking in a couple weeks” is one of the phrases from last year that will forever be ingrained in my mind.

Anyway, now that he’s seemingly fully recovered, he is back on the mound and pitching like the Rodriguez of old. Through his first couple starts, he is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA over 10 innings. He has allowed just 9 hits and 1 walk while striking out 12, with the only real culprit being 2 home runs over his 10 innings, and that’s honestly not that terrible of a stat in the early going.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

They entered the Royals’ series on a fairly hot streak, getting some production and multi-hit games from top to bottom in the lineup. By the time they left Kansas City, it really felt like Vladimir Guerrero Jr was the only one having competent at bats.

Bo Bichette had just 1 hit in the series in KC, although he did hit a couple rockets right at defenders, including a career best 115.5 mph liner to CF. He also hit one at 112.4 on Sunday, which are both great to see, as he usually doesn’t quite get such amazing exit velocities. I think he’ll be just fine heading into Boston.

Rowdy Tellez, who went 4-11 in the series after going 4-12 in the Yankee series, is maybe starting to come around. Unfortunately, 7 of those 8 hits are singles, and he’s not walking either. But the good is definitely there.

Red Sox’ Lineup

The Red Sox are off to a fantastic start to the season, currently leading the Majors in runs scored, and second when you break it down to a per game rate. Their 128 wRC+ also tops the Majors, while their 22.0 K% is the 4th lowest in the game.

Seven of their regulars have a wRC+ well over 100, with JD Martinez topping the scale at an American League best 243 mark. He also leads the AL in homers at 6, and leads the entirety of Major League Baseball in RBI with 20. I think it’s safe to say that after a substandard 2019 and a terrible 2020 that Martinez is back to his normal self.

The only regular who isn’t off to a good start is first baseman Bobby Dalbec, who currently holds just a 68 wRC+. However, don’t expect that to last too long, just hopefully through this series. While his wOBA is a pedestrian .267, his batted ball profile suggest that he should be doing much better, and his xwOBA of .411 shows that.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Paul DeJong went 2-4 with a pair of home runs, driving in 5 yesterday to pick up the Monster Bat award. He helped his Cardinals to the easy 12-5 win over the Nationals.

Joe Musgrove made it through 7 strong inning, allowing a pair of solo home runs, but not much else in winning the Pitcher of the Day award. He struck out 13 batters, walked 1 and allowed 2 other hits, but his Padres still lost 3-1 to the Brewers.

Kevin Gausman threw 6 shutout innings in a tight game, which gets him the WPA King trophy. He contributed .350 WPA towards his team’s eventual 2-0 win over the Phillies.

Find the Link

Find the link between JD Martinez and former Blue Jay great Marco Estrada.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant