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Game #31 Preview: Stripling vs Urquidy

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Blue Jays (16-14) vs Astros (16-15)

Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Blue Jays continue their road trip this evening, heading down to Houston to start a three game series against the Astros. Game one starts tonight at 8:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Ross Stripling will head back to the mound, making his fourth start of the season. While his overall 0-1 record and 6.39 ERA look bad, he has maybe pitched a bit better than that overall. Over his 12.2 innings, he has managed to strike out 14 batters against just 4 walks and 2 home runs. However, he has also given up 18 hits, a lot of it on hard contact, so while his FIP in the early going is saying he has been quite unlucky, other stats like xERA say that he hasn’t been great.

Astros’ Starter

José Urquidy will make his 7th start of the year, coming into the game with a 2-2 record and a 3.71 ERA. Over his first 6 starts, the 26 year old has thrown 34 innings, managing just 27 strikeouts but also limiting walks to 8 and home runs to 4. Urquidy seems to be just getting warmed up as well, as his last 2 starts have been among his best, and where he earned both of his wins. His last start was especially great, going 7 shutout innings against the Rays.

Urquidy is a fastball, changeup slider guy from the right side, and has seen a lot of success recently with his changeup. Hopefully the Jays’ batters have a pretty full memory bank of pitchers with a good changeup from their start against Cole Irvin this week, and they’ll be better equipped to handle Urquidy’s tonight.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Joe Panik, who has had troubles recently with his calf, went for an MRI yesterday and was reportedly unavailable for yesterday’s game. The Jays haven’t announced a decision, but if an Injured List stint is happening (and let’s be honest, the way this year is going, Panik is going to the IL today), then the Jays would need to recall a position player. The Taxi Squad currently has just pitcher A.J. Cole on it, so anyone coming in would have to come from AAA. Rowdy Tellez seems most likely, but Josh Palacios is also an option.

Otherwise, we’re likely to see the same lineup we have been, with one of the regulars getting a day off his feet to play DH, and Cavan Biggio sliding around to cover the position.

Astros’ Lineup

The Astros’ position players are at full strength injury wise, currently sitting without a regular or bench player on the IL. As such, they come into today’s game with a group pretty much the same as we’ve seen from them over the last few years, with the exception of Myles Straw who has taken over in CF for the departed George Springer.

Overall on the season, the Astros are off to a good start with the bats. They collectively have a 110 wRC+, and are 6th in the Majors scoring 4.87 runs per game. Yuli Gurriel started the season on fire, but has since cooled down, although his overall numbers still show a 166 wRC+. That is second on the team to Yordan Alvarez, whose 176 mark makes him one of the best DH in the league.

On the other end of the spectrum, Jose Altuve is having a rough season, currently sitting with a 91 wRC+. Myles Straw and Kyle Tucker are the only other two position players under 100, both sitting with a wRC+ in the 70s.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Yordan Alvarez went 3-4, hitting a pair of solo home runs to pick up the Monster Bat award. His output helped carry his Astros to the 7-4 win over the Yankees.

Zack Wheeler threw a complete game shutout, outdueling Brandon Woodruff to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. Wheeler allowed just 3 hits and no walks while striking out 8, and because it was such a tight pitchers’ duel, he also racked up the WPA earning him the WPA King title with a .631 mark for the game. As a result, his Phillies took home the 2-0 win over the Brewers.

Find the Link

Find the link between Myles Straw and the NLCS MVP for the last team to beat the Astros in the World Series.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant