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Game #32 Preview: Matz vs Javier

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Blue Jays (16-15) vs Astros (17-15)

Toronto Blue Jays v Houston Astros Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

After suffering a pretty consistent beating last night, the Blue Jays will look to bounce back this evening against the Astros in game two of their three game weekend series. Tonight’s game is set to start at 7:10 ET, an hour earlier than last night.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Also looking for a bounce back after a bad showing is today’s starter Steven Matz. Matz is coming off a pair of bad starts, allowing 11 runs over his last 8.2 innings. Those two starts have really hurt his season numbers, as he is now sitting at a 4-2 record with a 4.78 ERA. He’s still doing well on the strikeouts and walks, striking out 33 over 32 innings against just 10 walks. But it’s the home runs that continue to hurt him, as he allowed 3 over his last 2 starts, all 3 with at least one runner on base.

Astros’ Starter

Cristian Javier will take the mound for the Astros, and he is off to a great start to his season. Through 5 starts and 25.2 innings, Javier is 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA. He has struck out 30 against just 8 walks, and the really impressive number is just one home run - a 3-run shot to Austin Meadows last weekend. That home run snapped a string of 21 scoreless innings for Javier.

The 24 year old righty is pretty much a 2-pitch pitcher, relying heavily on his fastball and slider. He’ll mix in the occasional curveball and changeup, but those aren’t going to be very common. His fastball is the really interesting one, as it is a rising fastball (or “invisiball” if you want to relate it to Blue Jays’ prospect Joey Murray) that is very hard to hit. When you match his rising fastball against the slider that drops more than average, it’s a very tough combination to hit.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

With Rowdy Tellez back in the fold, I would expect that we start to see a fairly consistent batting lineup, with Rowdy taking most starts at DH and spelling Vladimir Guerrero Jr. occasionally. Otherwise, short of the very common injury, the rest of the regular fielders will be in the lineup.

Behind the plate is the only other spot where there will be a rotation. Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire will both start one of these two games this weekend, and with righty Zack Greinke going tomorrow, it doesn’t really matter who goes which day as far as platoon advantage goes. If I had to guess, I’d say Jansen goes today, as he has caught every start of Matz’ so far.

Astros’ Lineup

The Astros don’t have an official platoon in their lineup, with lefties Michael Brantley, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker getting into games against both lefties and righties. The last time the Astros faced a lefty, Aledmys Díaz played right field instead of Tucker, so that could be a possibility again today.

Jason Castro is their backup catcher, but he’s a lefty, so I would guess they’ll just go with Martin Maldonado tonight, then look to have Castro against the less experienced and less-likely-to-go-deep-into-the-game Anthony Kay tomorrow.

Yesterday’s Heroes

DJ LeMahieu went 3-4, knocking out 2 home runs and picking up a single to earn himself the Monster Bat award. Thankfully his Yankees still lost though, falling 11-4 to the Nationals.

Seth Brown had a big game yesterday, driving in the go-ahead run in the 7th inning with a single, then hitting a 2-out walkoff home run in the bottom of the 9th. Both RBI were in support of starter Sean Manaea, who lost his no-hitter in the 8th inning, but thanks to Brown the Athletics still won the game 2-1 over the Rays. Brown’s WPA King total was .647.

While Manaea lost his no-hitter in the 8th, Wade Miley was able to complete the no-hitter in his start against Cleveland. Miley threw the season’s fourth no-hitter, striking out 8 while allowing just a walk, while also picking up the Pitcher of the Day award. He was in a tight duel with Cleveland starter Zach Plesac, who threw 8 shutout innings of his own, but the Reds managed to put up their 3 runs in the top of the 9th to win 3-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Aledmys Díaz and José Fernández.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant