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Game #27 Preview: Matz vs Montas

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Blue Jays (14-12) vs Athletics (17-12)

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays hit the road, heading to Oakland as the first stop of this long road trip. The first of four against the Athletics starts tonight at 9:40 ET.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Lefty Steven Matz will head to the mound tonight, looking for a bounce back start to get his great season back on track. Overall, Matz’ numbers are still good, with a 4-1 record and a 4.00 ERA. His last start against the Nationals really turned those numbers from great to merely good, when he allowed 6 runs on 8 hits over 3.2 innings, although his previous start of 3 runs over 5 innings was far off from his 1 run over 6+ from his first 3 starts.

Athletics’ Starter

The A’s will counter with right hander Frankie Montas. Montas is off to a rough start this season, currently sitting with a 2-2 record and a 6.20 ERA through 5 starts and 24.2 innings. As the record would suggest, Montas has had a pair of good starts, and a couple bad ones. In the good starts, which just so happened to coincide with the team’s incredible hot streak that netted them 13 wins in a row, Montas allowed 1 run on 8 hits total over 12 innings.

Montas is a hard throwing righty, with a fastball that averages 96.3 mph, and he complements that with a sinker, split finger and slider. His splitter is probably his best pitch, as he has so far this season gotten over 50% whiffs on it. He only uses it about 18% of the time though, so it certainly is one that gets used strategically.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

George Springer was pulled from yesterday’s game with what was later announced to be fatigue. The reasoning that I saw was that he spent a lot of time in the hot Florida sun working his quad and testing himself in the outfield, and that he just overdid it a bit and didn’t see the need to push it further. Hopefully he got rested up on the flight out to Oakland, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get today off. Hopefully that’s it though.

Riley Adams will be making his Major League debut at some point in this series, although I would guess he would get the chance tomorrow catching Anthony Kay, someone he might have a bit more familiarity with.

Hopefully this last series against Atlanta will help propel them going forward. In the sweep, the team hit a collective .312/.400/.615 with 9 home runs over the 3 games. Only Cavan Biggio and Joe Panik had a wRC+ below 150 in the series, so it was an incredible group effort.

Athletics’ Lineup

The Athletics enter play as pretty much the average team offensively, sitting with a 104 wRC+ and scoring a 15th place 4.21 runs per game.

At the top of the list of offensive performers is first baseman Matt Olson. Olson is hitting .314/.375/.628 (186 wRC+) with a team-leading 7 home runs in the early going. He has been scuffling a little bit lately, and also missed a few games after taking a ball to the eye during batting practice, but is still going to be a tough out from the left side.

Outside of Olson, the A’s are seeing positive contributions from Ramon Laureano, Matt Chapman, Jed Lowrie and Mark Canha. They’re helping to lengthen the lineup, and are a big reason they were able to string together that amazing 13 game winning streak.

On the other end of the spectrum is offseason addition Elvis Andrus. Andrus is off to a brutal start so far, hitting just .160/.206/.191 through 102 plate appearances, and while he’s still providing solid baserunning and defence, they’re both also down from his career normals.

Yesterday’s Heroes

AJ Pollock went 3-6 with a pair of home runs and a double, driving in 8 runs to pick up the Monster Bat award. He accounted for half his team’s RBI, as the Dodgers beat the Brewers 16-4.

Max Scherzer threw a complete game, picking up the Pitcher of Day award while on his way to the birth of his 3rd child. The future Blue Jay went 9 innings, allowing just a run on a solo home run, striking out 9 against 0 walks as the Nationals beat the Marlins 3-1.

Corey Kluber threw 8 shutout innings, holding the Tigers off the board and helping to make a 2-run 2nd inning stand. He accumulated a WPA King total of .473, as the Yankees beat the Tigers 2-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Matt Olson and Justin Marks.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant