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Game #25 Preview: Morton vs Bergen et al

Braves (12-14) vs Blue Jays (12-12)

Atlanta Braves v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Coming in hot off their onslaught last night, the Blue Jays will look to continue their offensive ways again this evening again the Braves. The game will be played at the later start time again, 7:37 ET, as to avoid the sun.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Left hander Travis Bergen, who was taken in the Rule 5 Draft but returned to the Jays before he was traded for last night’s starter and then returned again, will make his first start in the Majors. It is also his first professional start since this one time in Vancouver back in 2017 (we’ve all got a story like that, right?). So far in his short career, Bergen has worked as a fastball-curveball guy, and I would imagine that’s all we see out of him as he works through his 1 or 2 innings today.

Following Bergen will be a cavalcade of Jays’ relievers, as the Jays are sitting on a 12 man bullpen right now. Three of them pitched yesterday and will probably be last resort today, but pretty much everyone else is quite well rested thanks to the off day on Thursday.

Braves’ Starter

The Braves will trot out their biggest offseason addition, right hander Charlie Morton. Morton signed a 1 year, $15m deal early in the offseason, likely less than he would have gotten had he held out, but still a good deal for the 37 year old.

His early returns have been decent so far, as he’s sitting with a 2-1 record and a 4.76 ERA. His FIP is a lot better at 3.39, as through 28.1 innings, he has struck out 33 against just 10 walks and 3 home runs. He’s looking every bit the same pitcher he has been ever since being reworked as a member of the Astros back in 2017.

As a member of the Rays the last couple seasons, the current Jays have actually seen Morton a few times. Five regulars (Vladdy, Bo, Biggio, Grichuk and Semien - although Semien would have been more in their Houston-Oakland days) have at least 8 PA against Morton, and all have done well. Biggio and Bo both have a homer and are hitting over .300, while Grichuk is 5-11. So this is one of the rare instances where the young Jays’ bats have familiarity with a pitcher.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Expect to see Cavan Biggio back in the lineup to face Morton. He’ll probably be the only lefty in the lineup of quite a few heavy hitting righties.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same lineup as last night otherwise, as Alejandro Kirk has earned himself another start today, and is probably going to start getting more and more starts as we go here as well.

Braves’ Lineup

With the optioning of Johan Camargo yesterday, the Braves are also carrying a very full bullpen, giving them just a 2 man bench in games where they can deploy a DH.

Pablo Sandoval came in as the final batter last night, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him act as the starting DH today.

Ronald Acuña Jr., who suffered an ab strain a couple weeks ago, doesn’t seem to be hitting quite as well as he was prior to the injury. He still got on base twice yesterday and put up great at bats, but since missing time with the injury, he is hitting just .154/.353/.269.

Yesterday’s Heroes

I don’t know who these Aaron Judge and JD Martinez guys are, so I’m giving the Monster bat award to Alejandro Kirk!

The Marlins and Nationals played to a scoreless tie through 9 innings, so naturally that means that MLB gets to screw with the pitching dominance and put a guy on second base! The Marlins scored their guy, then Kyle Schwarber one upped the Marlins by hitting the guy in from second and also scoring himself on a walk-off home run. The home run itself was a .556 WPA swing, and our WPA King finished with a .513 mark in the Nats 2-1 win.

Lance McCullers Jr. threw 7 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 9 and picking up the Pitcher of the Day award. The strong outing also netted him his second win of the year as the Astros took down the Rays 9-2.

Find the Link

Find the link between Pablo Sandoval and Albert Pujols.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant