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Game #92 Preview: Richards vs Hatch

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Red Sox (57-38) vs Blue Jays (48-43)

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

The Blue Jays will look to quickly put the memory of last night’s game behind them, and hopefully come out to a better start tonight in game 2 of the 3 game series against the visiting Red Sox. Tonight’s game is once again set for a 7:07 ET start.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Alek Manoah fell down some stairs and hurt his back, and while it doesn’t sound like a long term injury (thankfully), he is unavailable to go today and has been placed on the IL. Taking his spot in the rotation for this turn will be Thomas Hatch, making his 2021 debut. Hatch, who came over in the 2019 deadline deal that sent David Phelps to Chicago, made the team out of Spring Training 2.0 last year, and spent the entire season in the bullpen. He missed the start of this season due to right elbow impingement, but made his way back after a bit of a setback in late May.

Hatch made 8 starts for the Bisons, working his way up to 5.0 innings in each of his last 3 starts. In 29.1 innings in AAA, he was 0-1 with a 2.15 ERA, striking out 29 batters against 12 walks. Working multiple innings out of the bullpen last year, he threw 26.1 innings, pitching to a 3-1 record with a 2.73 ERA. He struck out 23 batters against 13 walks, allowing 3 home runs.

Red Sox’ Starter

Veteran Garrett Richards will make his 19th start of the season for the Red Sox. The 33 year old righty is 5-5 on the season with a 4.91 ERA, and a very similar 4.71 FIP. Through 91.2 innings this year, Richards has just 73 strikeouts against 43 walks. His one saving grace this season is that he has allowed just 11 home runs.

Richards has made 3 starts against the Jays already so far this year, with some mixed results. In total, he has made it through 16.2 innings, going 4.2 innings, 6.2 innings and 5.1 innings. Through those 16.2 innings, he has allowed 10 runs on 22 hits and 12 walks, striking out just 10. He managed to escape a lot of the damage that 35 baserunners (a bean ball is also mixed in) in 16.2 innings causes by not allowing a home run. Interestingly, 4 of his 5 wild pitches thrown this year have occurred against the Jays.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

They showed some fight last night, but ultimately were a few timely hits from making a game of it. They ended up leaving a runner at second in the 1st, 2nd and 5th innings, plus the bases loaded in the 4th. A couple hits in those situations would have made for a much more interesting game, but sometimes things don’t work out that way.

George Springer is on a nice little hot streak lately, collecting 6 hits and a walk over his last 9 plate appearances, hitting a double and a home run while also stealing a base. His average is finally up over .200, now hitting .235, and his wRC+ on the season is up to 120. His career numbers are a .269 average and a 134 wRC+, so he’s closing in on those.

Reese McGuire got the start yesterday, and actually picked up a decently hit single, but also had some rough looking at bats as well (as did most Blue Jays). He’s still getting a lot of starting time, likely at least once more in this series, but eventually I think the team will want to upgrade on him with Alejandro Kirk.

Red Sox’ Lineup

They came out with a full blown attack last night, a bit unexpected if only because they struggled against the Yankees over the weekend. They’re still one of the best offenses in baseball though, and they have the ability to hang crooked numbers like that.

Kevin Plawecki got the start behind the plate last night, but expect Christian Vázquez to be back to the normal catching duties. Otherwise, I’d expect things to be much the same as last night, unless they look to give some rest to one of their players.

Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo were the only starters to not get hits yesterday, although Verdugo did draw 3 walks. Bogaerts did not reach base at all, and that’s at least one thing from last night that the Jays’ pitchers will need to replicate if they want to have success today.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Yesterday saw a lot of big offensive nights, with 5 different teams putting up double digits. But it was Juan Soto who rose above all else to claim the Monster Bat prize. Soto went 3-5 with a pair of home runs, driving in 5 runs as his Nationals beat the visiting Marlins 18-1.

The top 5 position player WPAs came from the wild Reds-Mets game, and it was Jesse Winker that came out on top for the WPA King award. Winker had a go ahead double in the top of the 7th and a game tying double in the top of the 9th, giving him .730 WPA on the day, but his Reds fell 15-11.

Jon Lester threw 7 shutout innings, allowing 6 hits and nothing more while striking out 7 batters to take home the Pitcher of the Day award. He also got the win quite easily, as he was the Nationals’ starting pitcher in their big blowout.

Find the Link

Find the link between Garrett Richards and Randal Grichuk (but not Mike Trout).

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant