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Game #66 Preview: Cole vs Stripling

Yankees (34-32) vs Blue Jays (33-32)

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays will look to bounce back after an unenjoyable loss in hostile territory against the Yankees last night. I personally can’t wait for games to be back in Toronto, if only for better viewing experience not having to listen to a predominantly Yankee fanbase at a home game. Anyway, game 2 of the 3 game series gets underway tonight at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Ross Stripling will make his 10th start and 11th appearance overall, in a rotation spot that’s a lot more secure for him than it was a few weeks ago. Through 47.2 innings, Stripling is now 2-3 with a 4.91 ERA, but after his first 25.0 innings, he was 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA.

When you split his season between the first 25.0 and the 22.2 since he reworked himself, it’s a obviously a huge contrast. But the big difference isn’t even the strikeouts (29 in the first 25 innings vs 20 in the last 22.2) or walks (8 vs 6). He’s just doing an exceptionally better job at limiting hits (36 vs 16), and especially hard ones that lead to home runs (7 vs 2). On the season, with his 4.91 ERA, he’s entering serviceable starter territory, and that’s about all you could ever expect from him.

Stripling’s first start of the season was against the Yankees, and unsurprisingly he had a rough outing. He lasted just 3.1 innings, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5. Just like when we looked back yesterday at Ryu’s start (and again last night), Gary Sánchez hit a home run off him.

Yankees’ Starter

Gerrit Cole will make his final start before the controversial new foreign substance rule is fully in place. Cole has recently been in the spotlight with this issue thanks to a Josh Donaldson interview calling him out, followed by his own interview that has to rank as one of the worst athlete interviews of all time.

Cole has unquestionably been the best starter in the American League so far in 2021. He is 7-3 with a 2.31 ERA, and an even better FIP at 2.11. Through 81.2 innings over 13 starts, Cole has 113 strikeouts against just 11 walks. He has allowed 60 hits overall, and 8 of them have been out of the park. Overall, pretty much complete dominance.

Cole made 2 early season starts against the Jays, picking up the win on April 12 and taking a no-decision in the Jays’ opening day win. In 11.1 innings, he allowed 3 runs on 8 hits, striking out 16 and walking 3. Teoscar Hernández touched him up for a home run.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Back around to a righty on the mound, the Jays will likely have Rowdy Tellez and Reese McGuire in the lineup.

Cavan Biggio, who had the night off last night, will likely be back in there at 3B.

Santiago Espinal had a great night last night after being added back to the roster with Jonathan Davis going on the paternity list. He went 3-4 with a double and is going to put some pressure on the club to be the one to stick around when George Springer comes back. He likely isn’t making it, but he’s doing a great job making the decision a tough one for management.

Randal Grichuk’s recent struggles continued last night, and going back to the double header in Cleveland, he has struck out in all but 1 of the games since then. Over 60 plate appearances in that span, he has just 11 hits (with 2 doubles and 4 home runs) with 20 strikeouts. The gains that we saw at the start of the season have quickly disappeared for him in this cold stretch.

Yankees’ Lineup

Last night’s loss didn’t feel like a typical loss to the Yankees. The heart of the order, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Giancarlo Stanton, went a combined 0-12 with 3 walks. If the Jays’ pitching can keep those 3 down, they really should be able to win most of the time.

Unfortunately for the Jays, Gary Sánchez continues to be a pest against them. In the 7 games that Sánchez has played against the Jays, he has hit a home run in 4 of them. He is 8-30 overall, with 4 of his season’s 9 home runs.

Chris Gittens, who played in his 7th career game last night, picked up his first career hit, a home run off Hyun Jin Ryu. Between him and Brett Gardner, it really felt like we got beat by the least likely guys last night.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Ryan McMahon went 3-3 with a home run, triple and a sac fly, driving in 4 runs on his way to winning the Monster Bat award. His output helped his Rockies beat the Padres 8-4.

Mike Yastrzemski hit a 2-out grand slam in the 8th inning last night, turning an 8-5 deficit into a 9-8 lead. The home run itself was worth .729 WPA, but the WPA King walks home with a .667 mark overall. The score held at 9-8 as the Giants beat the Diamondbacks, handing them their 21st straight road loss.

Chris Flexen threw 8 shutout innings, allowing just 4 hits and no walks while striking out 8 to take home the Pitcher of the Day award. He also earned the win, as the Mariners made easy work of the Twins, beating them 10-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Gary Sánchez and Tyler Flowers.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant