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Game #42 Preview: Pivetta vs Matz

Red Sox (26-18) vs Blue Jays (23-18)

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Blue Jays will play the rubber match of their three game series against the Red Sox this evening. Gametime is once again set for 7:37 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Lefty Steven Matz will make his team leading 9th start of the year. So far on the season, he is 5-2 with a 4.29 ERA. His numbers suggest an even better pitcher than that indicates, as he is seeing excellent results in his strikeout rate (9.86 per 9 innings), walks (right at his career rate of 2.79 per 9 innings), and a home run rate that’s as close to league average as he’s ever going to get (1.29 per 9 innings, just over the 1.17 league average). He is also coming off his first scoreless start of the season, going 5 shutout innings against the Phillies.

Red Sox’ Starter

Canadian Nick Pivetta will make the start against the Jays. This will be his third career start against the Jays, as he made a pair of starts in 2018 as a member of the Phillies. Pivetta enters play today looking to continue a very strong season, carrying a 5-0 record with a 3.16 ERA through 8 starts. His biggest change so far this year compared to years past is a reduction in home runs, as he has allowed just 3 in his 42.2 innings of work. The 0.63 HR/9 inning rate would put him among the best in baseball at limiting the home run, which isn’t something that anyone should expect to last. His career rate is 1.52 per 9 innings, he is allowing more fly balls than previously as well, so unfortunately for him, you have to expect that home run rate to increase.

The right handed Pivetta brings a solid arsenal to the game, all centered on his mid-90s fastball that he throws about half the time. Anchored off that are a slider and a curveball, both of which he’ll throw to both lefties and righties. He’ll probably throw the curveball a bit more to lefties, but both are just detours as he works his way back to the fastball. If the Jays are going to have success, they’ll need to hit the fastball.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Rowdy Tellez sat out yesterday’s game as well, making it 3 straight off days for him while he recovers from an injury he suffered on Sunday. If he’s still not ready for today’s game, the Jays will probably start really considering sending him to the IL.

Jonathan Davis got the start last night, and on top of the better defense in CF, he gave the Jays a pair of walks from the bottom of the order. Between Davis and Santiago Espinal, it’s nice having a couple competent bench pieces that can cycle through a lot of spots, depending on the starting pitcher’s ability (grounders for Ryu, so Espinal started at 3B, while Stripling allows more fly balls, so Davis was in the OF). While Rowdy is out, this is a solid strategy. It’s just too bad they’re both righty bats.

Red Sox’ Lineup

As the Jays flip back to a lefty starter, Franchy Cordero will likely be headed back to the bench as Hunter Renfroe will re-enter the lineup.

Marwin Gonzalez, who is really struggling with the bat this season with a .205/.293/.295 (67 wRC+) batting line, seems to have taken the second base position as his own. Enrique Hernández looks to have taken over in CF, although I’m sure the flexibility will help the Red Sox as they move forward.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Trey Mancini went 4-5 with a pair of home runs and a double, driving in 5 runs to pick up the Monster Bat award. That still wasn’t enough though, as his Orioles fell to the Rays 9-7.

Another night, another no-hitter. This time it was Corey Kluber, who completed the task against the Rangers to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. And since it was close, he gets the WPA King award as well with a .615 mark. Kluber allowed just 1 walk while striking out 9 batters in the Yankees’ 2-0 win.

Find the Link

Find the link between Nick Pivetta and Fernando Abad.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant