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Game #36 Preview: Stripling vs Morton

Blue Jays (19-16) vs Braves (17-19)

Toronto Blue Jays v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Blue Jays wrap up their series with the Braves today, looking to sweep not only this 3-game series against them, but also the 6-game season series. It is an early start time for this one (the earliest of the year I believe), set to get underway at 12:20 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Ross Stripling will make the start for the Jays, his 5th of the season. His first 4 haven’t gone well, and at some point the question will become whether it’s worth it to keep sending him out there. He can remove that narrative, at least for the short term, if he can have a better start than he has had so far this year.

In his 4 starts, Stripling has thrown 16.1 innings, ranging between 10 and 15 outs in each start. Over his 16 innings, he has allowed 12 runs on 24 hits and 7 walks, surrendering 3 home runs along the way. One good sign is that he has managed to strike out 17 batters, which on a per inning rate is just a little bit above league average.

Braves’ Starter

Right handed veteran Charlie Morton will get the start for the Braves. The 37 year old has made 7 starts so far, and through 34.1 innings he is 2-2 with a 4.98 ERA. He has allowed 19 earned runs, plus an impressive additional 6 unearned runs so far this season, while allowing 33 hits and 14 walks and getting 40 strikeouts. Those 6 unearned runs all came in his last start, in which he allowed all 6 in the first inning, before being pulled from the game with just 2 outs.

Morton is the rare pitcher who has faced the young Jays’ hitters a lot, having pitched for the Rays the last couple seasons. And he did it again back on May 1 of this year when the Braves were in Dunedin. Things didn’t go overly well for Morton in that start either, as he allowed 4 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks over 5.1 innings. He did manage to strike out 6 batters, and looked pretty good through 5 innings, surrendering just a 2-run home run to George Springer in the 3rd inning. He gave up a bean ball, a walk and a single surrounding a strikeout to open the 6th, and that was the end of his night.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Once again we get the pain of watching pitchers bat, and Stripling is among the worst of them. He has 8 singles and 4 walks in 97 plate appearances.

With today’s game being so early, I would expect to see Reese McGuire behind the plate. I doubt we see any other differences in the starting 8 though, except maybe a bump in the lineup for Cavan Biggio against the righty, and to get Lourdes Gurriel Jr. between the two lefties.

Braves’ Lineup

I’m sure they’ll be happy to see the right handed Stripling today. Aside from not being as good as Robbie Ray and Hyun Jin Ryu, Stripling is also a right handed pitcher. Against righties this year, the Braves lineup is hitting .240/.330/.440 (109 wRC+), while lefties have held them to a .186/.246/.329 (59 wRC+) so far in 2021. Which is a really weird split considering they only have one lefty regular in the lineup, 2020 NL MVP Freddie Freeman.

I think it’s pretty safe to assume that Jeff Mathis will be behind the plate in this one, with the early day game. Otherwise, I really don’t think they’ll change anything.

Yesterdays’ Heroes

Teoscar Hernández, with his 2 home runs in the Jays’ win last night, takes home the Monster Bat award.

Victor Caratini, playing in a double header yesterday, was pretty solid in both. In the first game, Caratini hit a Grand Slam to give his Padres a 5-1 lead, and they’d hold that lead to win 5-3. In the second game, Caratini had a game tying single in the top of the 7th inning, forcing the game into extras. The Rockies pulled out the win in that one though, earning the split of the double header with a 3-2 walkoff win in 8 innings. Caratini’s double header performance gets him the WPA King title with a combined .570 WPA on the day.

Gerrit Cole held the Rays scoreless over 8 innings, allowing just 4 hits and nothing else as he struck out 12 batters to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. He also picked up the win, as the Yankees squeaked out the 1-0 win and series victory at the Trop.

Find the Link

Find the link between Charlie Morton and Chris Sale.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant