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Game #38 Preview: Nola vs Kay

Phillies (21-18) vs Blue Jays (20-17)

Philadelphia Phillies v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Blue Jays look to even their series against the visiting Phillies this evening, as they play game two of their three game series. Tonight’s game is set to get underway at 7:37 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Anthony Kay is expected to get the ball to start tonight. Considering how long he has been around the team, I was expecting more than just 2 starts and 1 relief appearance from him so far, but that’s it. In those three games, he has thrown 9.2 innings, and they haven’t been overly good. He is 0-2 with a 10.24 ERA, allowing 12 runs (11 earned) on 14 hits and 4 walks, surrendering a pair of home runs while striking out 10.

He’s definitely better than the early numbers say he is, and the Blue Jays are no doubt hoping that’s the case tonight and he can give them a bunch of innings to rest the battered and bruised bullpen.

Phillies’ Starter

The Phillies are going with their Ace this evening, right handed Aaron Nola. After his first 8 starts and 47.2 innings, Nola is 3-2 with a 3.59 ERA. He has been dominant across the board, striking out 10.01 batters per 9 innings, walking just 1.51 per 9 innings, and he has allowed just 5 home runs overall. About the only thing he hasn’t been great at is keeping the ball on the ground, as his 38.8% rate this year is far short of his 50% career rate. But because he is limiting hard contact so well, those “fly balls” he’s allowing are very playable.

Nola features the standard fastball, curveball and changeup pitch selection, while he’ll also mix in a sinker and a brand new cutter on rare occasions. His fastball velocity sits in the low 90s, averaging 92.4 mph, but it has good horizontal run and a lot less drop than a normal fastball, making it very difficult to square up. His curveball is his best secondary, and it plays off his fastball pretty well, but the changeup can be a devastating pitch to both lefties and righties as well.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

The Jays’ bats were frustratingly held silent last night, outside of an opposite field home run by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The wind last night seemed extra painful, as it knocked down and moved around a few very hard hit balls. They also had hard hits finding fielders a bit more than normal as well. The Jays had 10 balls put into play over 103 mph, and they managed 3 singles and a reached on error out of the 10. They’re going to need a bit more luck tonight.

With Reese McGuire likely to catch Robbie Ray in tomorrow’s game, it’ll be interesting to see which catcher will get the start today. I would expect it’ll be Danny Jansen, but McGuire has been getting more work recently.

Phillies’ Lineup

Bryce Harper proved to be the middle of the order threat that is to be expected of him last night. He went 2-2 when the Jays let him put the ball in play, hitting both his single and double hard, at 99.8 and 102.1 mph. Otherwise, he worked the Jays pitchers for 3 walks.

J.T. Realmuto being activated before yesterday’s game surprised me. He had COVID like symptoms, but must have tested negative and gotten over the symptoms to be able to play again. He ended up going 0-4 with a walk and had some big outs in big situations, but I’m sure Phillies’ fans were happy to have him come up in those big spots, and would gladly see him coming to bat in those situations more than almost anyone else.

Didi Gregorius sat out yesterday’s game with an elbow problem, and seems to be day to day at this point. If he’s not in there today, they probably start to consider an IL stint for him.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Aaron Judge went 2-3 with a pair of home runs and a walk, driving in 2 to pick up the Monster Bat award. He helped his Yankees to the 5-4 win over the Orioles.

Adam Frazier had a heck of a game for the Pirates, earning the WPA King title with a .715 mark. He singled to set himself up as the game tying run in the 9th, then tripled leading off the 11th, which tied the game because of the fake runner, and then he scored the winning run as the Pirates beat the Giants 3-2.

Kevin Gausman threw 8 innings of 1 run ball, allowing 5 hits and striking out 12 to take home the Pitcher of the Day award. Unfortunately for him, that was the same game as Adam Frazier, and Gausman was stuck with a no decision as his Giants lost 3-2 to the Pirates.

Find the Link

Find the link between Bryce Harper, Brandon Crawford and Dee Strange-Gordon.

tats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant