The Blue Jays welcome the Rays into Buffalo to kick off a 3 game weekend series. Tonight’s game gets underway at 7:07 ET.
Blue Jays’ Starter
Alek Manoah returns from suspension to make his 7th start of the year, bringing in his 1-0 record and 3.34 ERA into the game tonight. Over his 29.2 innings this season, he has 33 strikeouts against 11 walks, a solid if unspectacular rate for the rookie. His problem so far has been the home runs, as he has allowed 7 so far, a rate of 2.12 per 9 innings. Thankfully for him, 5 of the 7 home runs have been solo shots, while the other 2 were 2-run home runs, helping him to avoid excessive damage. But thanks to the home runs, his FIP is still an ugly 5.32, a number that strongly suggests he isn’t going to be able to keep his ERA in the low 3.00s.
The Rays are expected to go with a top prospect of their own in Luis Patiño. Patiño will be recalled from AAA to make his 6th appearance of the year. Through his first 15.0 innings, he has pitched well, allowing 7 runs (6 earned) on 12 hits and 4 walks. He has collected 19 strikeouts as well. While he has only pitched 15 innings, it’s not because of struggles, but rather that the Rays are slowly building up his innings this year. His last 3 outings in AAA were all 5 innings, and if he’s pitching well today, he will probably be in that same range again.
Patiño made his first appearance of 2021 in his only appearance against the Jays so far, starting the game back on April 25. He was limited to once through the order, holding the Jays to just a walk while picking up 3 strikeouts. The walk was to Cavan Biggio to lead off the game, and then the next 8 all went down in order.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
Don’t expect anything different than normal with the lineup today, with the All-Stars in the top 4 spots (Bo is going, don’t worry), followed by Springer in the 5 hole, Biggio probably 6th, with Grichuk, Gurriel and McGuire rounding things out. If this is the lineup in all 3 games this weekend, I wouldn’t be surprised.
The only change to really watch for in this is which outfielder will be the DH. Springer was there yesterday, and I’d guess it’s probably Teo’s turn today. Gurriel probably makes a start at 1B again at some point this weekend.
Sunday could see the activation of Danny Jansen, as I do expect him this weekend, but probably not until then.
The Rays have a pretty much fully healthy contingent of position players. The only one who is currently on the Injured List is Taylor Walls, who went on the injured list with wrist tendinitis a little over a week ago.
Conveniently for the Rays, Walls’ last start at shortstop was the Major League debut of baseball’s best prospect, Wander Franco. Franco has been with the Rays now for 8 games, and while he came in with the fireworks (a home run and a double in his first game), he has just 4 singles and 4 walks in the 7 games since. He’s an exciting young prospect, and I look forward to watching him for the handful of games before I start loathing to see him in the opposing lineup.
Elsewhere in the lineup, expect to see lefties Ji-Man Choi and Kevin Kiermaier getting the starts as the strong side of their platoons at 1B and CF against the right handed Manoah.
Joey Gallo went 3-3 with a home run, a pair of singles and a walk, driving in 3 runs to pick up the Monster Bat award. He, along with teammate Nate Lowe, carried the Rangers to the 8-3 win over the Athletics.
Kyle Farmer hit a 1-out, game tying home run in the bottom of the 9th inning, picking up the WPA King trophy with a .489 mark. The Reds walked it off later that inning, beating the visiting Padres 5-4.
Nathan Eovaldi threw 7 shutout innings, allowing 5 hits and no walks while striking out 6 batters to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. He earned the win, but pretty much anyone could have for the Red Sox in this one, as they beat up on the Royals 15-1.
Find the Link
Find the link between Wander Franco and Paul Hines (and why Paul Hines specifically, not someone like Michael Conforto (this link may become more relevant in like 6 or 7 years)).