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Game #28 Preview: Kay vs Irvin

Blue Jays (14-13) vs Athletics (18-12)

Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The Blue Jays look to bounce back after a tight loss last night, as they go into game two of four against the home town Athletics. Tonight’s game is another late one, getting underway at 9:40 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Left hander Anthony Kay is back with the team and is expected to pitch this evening. He’s penciled in as the starter, but he could be the bulk guy after an opener as well. This will be Kay’s second appearance of the season, as he continues to ride the bus between the Alternate Site and the big league club. I would imagine he’ll be given the chance to hang around a little bit longer this time, although he’ll need to get some good results on his end for that to happen.

Kay’s only other appearance this season came in a start against the Royals. He surrendered 5 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits over 3.1 innings, but he struck out 3 and didn’t allow a walk or home run. His quality of contact was also good, as his xERA for the game was just 1.70 as opposed to the 10.80 he ended up with. He just got Royal’d in KC, something we’ve all seen before.

Athletics’ Starter

The A’s will send out Cole Irvin to make the start. This will be Irvin’s 6th start, and he’s off to a good start in the early going. He has a 2-3 record with a 3.67 ERA, and a very similar FIP of 3.48. Over his 27 innings, he has struck out 25 against just 4 walks and 3 home runs, really helping to drive the success that he is seeing.

The left handed Irvin features a 5 pitch mix, including a 4-seamer, a sinker, slider and changeup, plus a curveball that he’ll very infrequently toss in there. His 4-seamer, which sits around 93 mph, is his main pitch, but he’ll mix in his sinker occasionally as well, although his career ground ball rate of 36.2% suggests it isn’t overly effective. His changeup and slider he’ll use at about the same rate overall, with the typical breakdown of using his slider against the same handed lefties, and the changeup against the righties.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

George Springer predictably had the night off last night. It may have been pre-planned prior to the fatigue on Sunday, but after being taken out of the game Sunday it was pretty much expected. We’ll see today if he’s back in the game, or if this is more serious of a setback than the team is letting on.

I would guess that Riley Adams will make his Major League debut today behind the plate. Adams has been working at the Alternate Site, and has likely caught a few side sessions from Anthony Kay, so he should have that familiarity.

Joe Panik should be on the bench today against the lefty. Santiago Espinal would get the start at 3B if George Springer can’t go and the Jays need to move their lineup around to make that work. I could also see a situation where the team wants to give rest to multiple players on this long road trip, so I think there’s a good chance Espinal is playing this one.

Athletics’ Lineup

Ramón Laureano, who hit the big 2-run home run in yesterday’s game, continued his fantastic start to the season. Not only does have 6 home runs already, but he also has a Major League leading 8 stolen bases, and I’m sure he is going to try adding to that in this series.

Joining Laureano on the home run and stolen base kick is Mark Canha, who has 4 home runs and 5 stolen bases of his own. Canha is hitting a bit better than Laureano is overall, with a .255/.392/.415.

Stephen Piscotty, who also had a big night last night, probably appreciates the Jays coming into town with 4 lefties set to go. He’s typically the weak side of a platoon, but he’ll likely get all 4 starts here, and the A’s played lefties in 3 of 4 games before the Jays showed up too, so he’ll be worn out by the end of this series.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Josh Naylor went 2-4 with a home run and a double, while also picking up an intentional walk and driving in 3 to pick up the Monster Bat award. His bat was a pretty big cog in Cleveland’s 8-6 win over the Royals.

Cedric Mullins II had a huge 2-run home run in the top of the 8th, turning a 1-run deficit into a 1-run lead. The hit alone gave our WPA King .432 WPA towards his .394 total, as the Orioles beat the Mariners 5-3.

Dean Kremer allowed 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings, striking out 4 Mariner batters to take home the Pitcher of the Day award in that game as well.

Find the Link

Find the link between Ramón Laureano and James Shields.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant