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Game #44 Preview: McClanahan vs Ray

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Rays (27-19) vs Blue Jays (23-20)

Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

After a terrible loss last night, the Blue Jays will look to put an end to their little 3 game losing streak, as they play game 2 of their 4 game set against the visiting Rays. The game is once again set for this evening, getting underway at 7:37 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Robbie Ray will make his 8th start of the season, entering play with a 2-1 record and a 3.79 ERA over 40.1 innings. His numbers took a bit of a hit his last time out, as with a huge lead he came back out for the 6th inning (which he otherwise wouldn’t have) and promptly gave up a couple home runs. He looked fairly good before that inning, although he did end his big no-walk streak earlier in the game as well. Overall on the season, his numbers are now 48 strikeouts (great) to 10 walks (also great) and 11 home runs (2nd most in all of baseball).

Ray faced the Rays back on April 24, and he threw a quality start in the game that started his walkless streak. In that game, Ray went 6 innings, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, striking out 9 batters. He also allowed a pair of home runs as well, to Mike Zunino and Mike Brosseau.

Rays’ Starter

Rookie Shane McClanahan will get the ball for the Rays, making his 5th start of the season and of his Major League career. Through 17.1 innings, McClanahan is 1-0 with a 4.67 ERA. He has done an excellent job getting strikeouts (22) and limiting walks (5) but has allowed 3 home runs in his 17.1 innings.

His last time out, McClanahan made it through 5.1 innings, the longest start of his young career. It also gave him the first win of his big league career, in the only game he was eligible to earn it, having gone just 4.0 innings in each his first 3 starts.

McClanahan entered the season as the 118th ranked prospect in all of baseball by Fangraphs, while MLB.com had him a bit higher at 71. The young lefty is predominantly a fastball-slider pitcher, with his fastball sitting in the upper 90s, averaging 97.4 mph. His slider sits just above 90 mph, an insane speed for a slider. He’ll throw two pitches at pretty much the same rate against lefties and righties, and so far this year have accounted for about 90% of his pitches thrown.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Cavan Biggio has been beset by a neck problem, and this seems like a perfectly fine day to keep him out of the lineup again with McClanahan on the mound.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. missed the game again yesterday, his second in a row, with a sore knee. If he’s healthy enough to play, I would imagine he would get into the DH spot.

If Gurriel is at DH today, the Jays very likely would have an all right handed lineup. With Biggio’s neck problem, Santiago Espinal has been getting reps at 3B and doing great. Jonathan Davis has been playing in CF as well the last few days, and is 2-8 with 3 walks and a stolen base.

Rays’ Lineup

Before yesterday’s game, the Rays traded Willy Adames to the Brewers, opening up the shortstop position for one of their top prospects, who is on his way to the Majors. No, it’s not Wander Franco, but rather another good infielder in Taylor Walls, who is the Rays 7th best prospect (MLB.com) or 8th best (Fangraphs) depending on who you ask. He is supposed to be an excellent defensive shortstop who can get on base well and slap the ball around. He doesn’t have a lot of speed or power, but his other tools are excellent.

Francisco Mejía, who hit the big grand slam last night, could very well be on the bench in this one. He has started the last 2 games behind the plate and could be in need of rest. Backup Mike Zunino also hit a home run off Ray the last time they played, so there’s that angle too.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Jesse Winker went 4-4, getting the hat trick of home runs while also chipping in a single and a walk to pick up the Monster Bat award. The Reds rode his output to the 9-4 win over the Brewers.

Adolis Garcia hit a 2-out, 3-run home run in the bottom of the 10th to walk off the Astros. The home run was worth .799 WPA towards his WPA King total of .835 in the Rangers’ 7-5 win.

Jordan Montgomery threw 7 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits and walking none while striking out 11 batters to take home the Pitcher of the Day award. He didn’t get the win though, as the Yankees took the lead in lead in the bottom of the 7th, only to give it up in the top of the 8th. There was a lot of other drama late, as the Yankees had a guy thrown out at home trying to score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th, right before a line drive double play. Then in the top of the 9th, the Yankees turned a triple play before walking it off in the bottom half, beating the White Sox 2-1.

Find the Link

Find the link between Taylor Walls and the Canadians’ starting pitcher the day they won their 8th in a row.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant