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Game #24 Preview: Smyly vs Ray

Braves (12-13) vs Blue Jays (11-12)

Washington Nationals v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Blue Jays welcome the Braves to Dunedin to kick off a three game weekend series. Today’s series opening game is set to get underway at a very weird time, 7:37 ET, so take note of that when you’re wondering why the game isn’t on TV when you want it to be.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Robbie Ray will make his fourth start of the season, coming into play with an 0-1 record and a 2.81 ERA. The ERA is a bit lower than he probably deserves, dancing around a lot of baserunners in his first couple starts thanks to 9 walks in his first 10 innings. His last start was much better in that regard, as he didn’t allow a single walk over 6 innings, but he was touched up for a pair of home runs that led to 3 runs and ultimately his first loss of the season.

Overall through 16 innings, Ray has allowed 5 runs on 13 hits and 9 walks. He has allowed 3 home runs and has struck out 15. His last start was completely different than his first two in pretty much every regard, but he made it through 6 innings and really seemed to dominate the game, and that’s the Ray I would much rather watch than the one constantly dancing out of trouble.

Braves’ Starter

Veteran lefty Drew Smyly will be making his fourth start of the year as well. He enters play with an 0-1 record and a 7.20 ERA, really struggling in each of his 3 starts. Over 15 innings, he has allowed 15 runs (12 earned) on 15 hits and 3 walks, generating 15 strikeouts. He has allowed 6 home runs in that span, and he probably isn’t looking forward to pitching in the friendly confines of TD Ballpark.

Smyly is pretty much just a 2-pitch pitcher at this point in his career, pairing a 92.6 mph fastball with a slow hook of a curveball. He will occasionally mix in a cutter, but that will be a rare occurrence. Expect to see the fastball a little bit more, but both will be fairly regular, and they will both fill up the strike zone.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

George Springer will probably be at DH again today, and seems likely to get mostly DH days for the time being.

I still don’t have any idea when Teoscar Hernández will return to the lineup, but I would like to think this weekend he has a chance. Maybe even today.

Joe Panik started both games at 3B against the Nationals, but against the lefty, hopefully we don’t see that today. I would rather we never see Panik at 3B again, but I know I won’t get that wish. But for today, we’ll either see Santiago Espinal, or if Teo is back in the lineup in RF, then Cavan Biggio will probably move back in to 3B.

Braves’ Lineup

There are only a couple players this season off to as good of a start as Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and while we saw one when the Angels came to town, we get to see another one this weekend in Ronald Acuña Jr. Through 102 plate appearances, Acuña is hitting .341/.441/.718, sitting atop the Major League leaderboard with 8 home runs and 24 runs scored.

The Braves aren’t just a one batter lineup either. Batting second behind Acuña is reigning MVP Freddie Freeman. Freeman is off to a bit of a rough start on the BABIP front, but he still has a very good batting line of .236/.376/.506 (135 wRC+).

Rounding out the rest of the lineup will be Ozzie Albies at 2B, Dansby Swanson at SS, Johan Camargo at 3B, Travis d’Arnaud behind the plate, Marcell Ozuna in LF and Guillermo Heredia in CF. Pablo Sandoval is on this roster as well, and with the DH, will probably make a start this weekend.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Trey Mancini went 3-4 with a home run yesterday, picking up the Monster Bat award. The Orioles needed every ounce of production they could get from him, as they took down the Yankees 4-3 in 10 innings.

Matt Chapman had a 4th inning home run and a 9th inning double, both breaking a tie, which helped drive his WPA on the day to .502. The WPA King’s heroics helped his Athletics take down the Rays 3-2.

Dylan Cease threw a 7 inning complete game shutout yesterday, holding the Tigers to no runs on 3 hits and no walks, while striking out 9. Cease obviously picked up the win in that game, and also gets the Pitcher of the Day award in the White Sox 11-0 win.

Find the Link

Find the link between Ronald Acuña Jr. and the only pitcher in Jays’ history with at least 50 saves and wins.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant