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Game #55 Preview: Greinke vs Ryu

Astros (31-25) vs Blue Jays (29-25)

MLB: Miami Marlins at Toronto Blue Jays Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays welcome the Astros to Buffalo for a 3 game weekend set, starting things off with a battle of the Aces tonight. The game is set to get underway this evening at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Hyun Jin Ryu will go for Toronto, coming into play with a 5-2 record and 2.52 ERA. His season so far this year is a bit of an improvement on his 3rd place Cy Young season last year, with the big difference being that he has gotten his walk rate down from great (2.28 per 9 innings) now sitting in elite territory (1.23 per 9 innings). That has helped mask a bit of a drop in strikeouts for him, and his K% - BB% is better than last year, currently sitting at 21.6%, placing him 17th in the Majors among 66 qualified starters.

Astros’ Starter

Zack Greinke will make the start for the Astros, his 13th of the year. So far this year, he is 5-2 with a 3.67 ERA over 73.2 innings. He’s having a pretty non-typical Greinke season though, as his strikeout rate is down to 6.96 per 9 innings, his lowest rate since 2005. His walk (1.83 per 9) and home run (1.10) rates are also coming in at a 3 year high, although as you can see, they’re both still perfectly fine.

Greinke faced the Jays back on May 9, and he was good hitting for the young bats. Greinke lasted just 4 innings, allowing 4 runs on 9 hits, striking out 4. Rowdy Tellez touched him up for a home run in the game as well.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

The latest on Cavan Biggio on Wednesday was that he is still “day to day”, so two days later, they’re out of “days”. He has been on the IL for 14 days now, so he is eligible, but I guess we’ll see if he’s back in time to play his dad’s Astros.

Danny Jansen had both games of the Marlins’ series off, and with the 2 off days mixed in there as well, he got a nice break to help his body heal from all the crazy things a catcher goes through. He’ll be back in the lineup tonight though, as he always catches Ryu.

Astros’ Lineup

The Astros currently have an almost fully healthy position player group at the moment. Jason Castro has been out since May 25 with Achilles discomfort, and probably is still out for a bit. Michael Brantley is out with a hamstring problem, since then as well, but has been taking batting practice, and Dusty Baker has said that he expects him back soon. I doubt he’s back today, but we might see the almost-Blue Jay at some point this weekend.

The Astros enter play today as one of the best offences in the game. They lead the Majors with their 116 wRC+, scoring an AL 5.21 runs per game, second in the Majors behind the Dodgers’ 5.32. They’re .264 batting average is first, 5 points ahead of the second place Jays.

The Astros have 8 players with more than 150 plate appearances this season, and outside of Myles Straw’s 70 wRC+, the lowest wRC+ in that group is Kyle Tucker’s 126. They’re a strong and deep lineup that will probably enjoy the friendlier confines of Sahlen Field, but hopefully the Jays pitchers are up to the challenge.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Josh Donaldson went 3-5 with a pair of home runs and a double, good enough to pick up the Monster Bat award. He couldn’t do it all though, as his Twins fell 6-5 to the Royals.

Jacob Stallings hit a huge 3-run double in the bottom of the 8th, propelling him to a WPA King title with a .476 mark. His Pirates were able to hold on to the lead Stallings gave them, and won 5-3 over the Marlins.

Ryan Yarbrough threw a complete game yesterday, and it wasn’t even a no-hitter. He allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, walking none and striking out 6 to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. He also earned the win as the Rays took down the Yankees 9-2.

Find the Link

Find the link between Kyle Tucker, Pete Alonso and Wade Boggs.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant