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Game #23 Preview: Fedde vs Matz

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Nationals (8-12) vs Blue Jays (11-11)

MLB: APR 27 Nationals at Blue Jays Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a very fun win last night, the Blue Jays will look to earn the short two game sweep of the Nationals this evening. Gametime is set for the same 7:07 ET start.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Lefty Steven Matz will make his fifth start of 2021, facing a very familiar foe in the Nationals. Of the 115 career games he has pitched, 15 have come against the Nationals, although that was arguably a different Matz than the Jays are getting thus far.

Through his first four starts, Matz is off to a remarkable 4-0 record with a 2.31 ERA over 23.1 innings. He has struck out 25 against 8 walks, while managing to allow just 2 home runs. On the surface, he doesn’t seem to be doing much different - his pitch use and pitch quality are fairly similar to where they have been in the past - but he is getting more swings and misses out of the zone, and is getting a lot more soft contact.

Nationals’ Starter

Right hander Erick Fedde will get the start for the Nats. Fedde is off to a bit of a rough start, posting a 1-2 record and a 5.51 ERA. He has pitched a bit better than that though, as through 16.1 innings, he has 18 strikeouts against 8 walks, while allowing just a single home run. The home runs could go up if Dunedin plays like it did last night.

Fedde’s numbers are hurt quite a bit by his first start of the season against the Braves. He didn’t make it out of the 2nd inning in that one, and ultimately allowed 6 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks, striking out just 1. Since that start, he has thrown 14.2 innings, allowing just 5 runs on 10 hit and 5 walks, striking out 17. So if he pitches like he has been the last few games, that’s definitely a better pitcher than his overall numbers suggest.

Fedde is a predominantly sinker heavy pitcher, throwing it about half the time while generating a career ground ball rate of 52.8%. The sinker will come in in the mid-90s, while he complements that by pretty evenly cycling through a changeup, cutter and curveball. Everything works off his sinker though, and expect to see quite a few ground balls today.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had quite the night last night, and it was definitely a lot of fun to watch happen. His whole start to this season, now coming up on 100 PA, has been magical and I hope it never it ends.

On to things that I hope do end - George Springer is still on the Injured List. There was hope and expectation that he was going to be activated for yesterday’s game, but that obviously didn’t happen. So we get to live through that hope and expectation again today, although I’m sure it will be tempered quite a bit. Yesterday’s announcement came around 3:30 ET, so I would expect somewhere around there for news again today.

Nationals’ Lineup

They looked like a lot deeper group last night than expected. Ryan Zimmerman is still looking like a useful player, despite being older than most of his competition, and missing all of last season. The top of the lineup with Trea Turner and Yadiel Hernández proved quite strong, while the Kyle Schwarbers and Starlin Castros of the lower half of the lineup does at least make you pay attention. Overall the numbers aren’t good (87 wRC+ as a group), but they’ll get better.

Last night we saw Alex Avila behind the plate, and it would seem that he’s in a fairly even timeshare, so tonight we will see old friend Yan Gomes.

Hernán Pérez and Jordy Mercer are the righties typically on the bench, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one, if not both, in the game against Matz tonight.

Yesterday’s Heroes

The Monster Bat Award winner is pretty obvious

Brandon Crawford hit a game tying home run in the bottom of the 9th to send things to extras in San Francisco. The home run was worth .444 WPA, enough to boost his WPA King total to .462. Unfortunately for him and the rest of the Giants’ players and fans, they lost it on a pair of home runs in the top of the 10th, as the Rockies ended up winning 7-5.

Ian Anderson threw 7 shutout innings, allowing just a hit and a walk while striking out 8. His excellent start earned him the Pitcher of the Day honours, but also won him the game as his Braves took down the visiting Cubs 5-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Ryan Zimmerman and Chad Cordero

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant