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Game #72 Preview: Ray vs Rogers

Blue Jays (36-35) vs Marlins (31-41)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Miami Marlins Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays will attempt to sweep their 4 game home and home season series against the Marlins this evening. First pitch tonight in Miami is set for 7:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

I’m fairly certain that today’s starter is Robbie Ray, although I do see some places saying Anthony Kay for some reason, but I don’t see anything confirming that yet. So we’ll go under the assumption that Ray will be making his 14th start of the year. Through his first 74.2 innings, Ray is 4-3 with a 3.50 ERA. I would expect that he will cross the 100 strikeout plateau in this start, one of the quickest paces in Blue Jays’ history of reaching that mark. I’ll see if I can answer that before gametime, because I’m sure someone will else will find that interesting too.

This will be Ray’s second start against the Marlins, and the first one went quite well. Back on June 1, Ray went 6 innings, allowing just 1 run on 6 hits, walking 2 and striking out 9. It was just one of two starts this season that he didn’t allow a home run.

Marlins’ Starter

The big young lefty Trevor Rogers will go for the Marlins in this one. He has made 14 starts so far this season, and through 81.2 innings, he is an impressive 7-3 with a 1.87 ERA. He is doing everything great so far, getting strikeouts (10.47/9 innings), limiting walks (2.87/9 innings) and especially limiting home runs (just 4 all year). He’s also preventing a lot of hard contact, with an expected batting average against him of just .205.

The 6’5” Rogers has two great pitches. His fastball, which he throws about 59% of the time, sits in the mid-90s. He’ll throw it in all counts, setting batters up and knocking them down with it. Playing exceptionally well off the fastball is his mid-80s changeup, a pitch that he’ll throw a little over 25% of the time. He has excellent command of both pitches, and can have the hitters in a rocking chair going back and forth trying to hit what’s coming. And just when they’re ready for something, Rogers will throw a slider, a pitch he’s comfortable throwing against lefties and righties. It’s not at the same level as his other two pitches, but helps to keep the batters off balance knowing it’s there.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

George Springer went an unfortunate 0-4 in his triumphant return. He’s batting 5th for the foreseeable future, and until he fully gets settled in with his timing, I can understand the reasoning for it.

Marcus Semien, who is keeping Springer’s leadoff spot warm in the meantime, is looking much more like the April Semien as opposed to the Player of the Month May Semien. After posting a .658 OPS and 81 wRC+ in April, Semien exploded in May with an 1.130 OPS and a 204 wRC+. However, since the calendar flipped to June, Semien’s bat has cooled to a .735 OPS and 99 wRC+. An encouraging sign for him, even after last night, is that his strikeout rate in June is the lowest it has been this year.

Reese McGuire continued his hot streak last night, collecting another pair of hits, and now has a multi-hit game in 3 of his last 4 starts. His season line is up to .290/.338/.435 (112 wRC+), and he’s looking to stick around the lineup even after Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen both get healthy. Unfortunately for the Jays, neither are healthy yet, and with a lefty on the mound, McGuire won’t be starting today.

Riley Adams will instead be the one behind the plate, and while he has looked decent behind on the catching side of things, he has shown that he still needs some time developing in the Minors with his bat. There’s still a lot of opportunity and upside for him, but both he and the team would be better served when Jansen or Kirk come back and Adams can get back to more playing time and development in the Minors.

Marlins’ Lineup

The Marlins don’t appear to be running any platoons, so I wouldn’t expect to see a lineup that is any different for the Marlins against the lefty Ray as they had out there against the righty Stripling.

The 8 guys they had starting yesterday all have a wRC+ of at least 91, with the low point being Jon Berti. Jorge Alfaro and Adam Duvall are both at 98, and have bats that are capable of much more. Everyone else is above 100, and I really think this team will be a lot better at scoring runs going forward. Couple that with their phenomenal starting rotation and strong defense, and I honestly don’t understand how they have done so poorly this year.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Tyler Naquin went 4-4 with a home run and a walk, driving in 3 runs to pick up the Monster Bat award. That home run was a 3 run shot in the top of the 9th, giving him a WPA of .475, and he also takes home the WPA King trophy as well. His great game helped carry his Reds to the 10-7 win over the Twins.

Charlie Morton was dominant last night, throwing 7 shutout innings. He allowed just 1 hit and 2 walks (and 2 bean balls), striking out an impressive 11 batters on his way to the Pitcher of the Day trophy. He also took home the pitcher win, as his Braves completed the shutout of the Mets, 3-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Adam Duvall and former Jays’ top pick Jeff Hoffman.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant