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Game #99 Preview: Ryu vs Rodriguez

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Blue Jays (50-48) vs Red Sox (63-40)

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox - Game One Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

The Blue Jays will look to earn the split of their 4 game series against the Red Sox as they wrap up their visit to Fenway Park, before going HOME for tomorrow. Today’s game is set to get underway at 7:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Hyun Jin Ryu will head to the mound, looking to become the first Blue Jay this year to reach the 10 win plateau, after Robbie Ray tied things back up with 9 yesterday. Overall, Ryu is 9-5 with a 3.44 ERA, over 19 starts and 110.0 innings. He has just 89 strikeouts so far this season, something that has been missing from his game, especially since the beginning of June. Through the first 2 months, he had 58 strikeouts over his first 58.1 innings, right in line with his last few seasons. But since then, with just 31 over 51.2 innings, he really hasn’t had the success he did earlier in the year.

Ryu has faced the Red Sox twice this season, resulting in one of his worst starts of the season and one of his best. In the bad one, he went 5 innings, allowing 4 runs on 8 hits, but he struck out just 2 and allowed a home run to Xander Bogaerts. In the good start, he went 7 shutout innings, allowing just 4 hits and striking out a season high 7. He didn’t walk a batter in either game, accounting for just 2 of his 3 walkless outings this year.

Red Sox’ Starter

Left hander Eduardo Rodriguez gets the start for the Red Sox, coming into play with a 7-5 record and a 5.23 ERA. That ERA is nowhere near what his FIP (3.51) and xERA (3.65) suggest his results should be, indicating that he’s had his share of bad luck and bad sequencing. After pitching just an inning in his last start due to migraine problems, he has now thrown 96.1 innings this year, with 113 strikeouts against just 24 walks. His 14 home runs allowed puts him right about league average, with 1.31 per 9 innings against a league average of 1.24.

Rodriguez has made two starts against the Jays this year, both times going head to head with Ryu. In the first game, Rodriguez took home the win, pitching 6 innings while allowing just 2 runs on 3 hits, striking out 6 and walking 1. Bichette hit a home run off him in that game. Ryu came out victorious in the second matchup in May, as the Jays’ bats figured Rodriguez out, touching him up for 5 runs on 11 hits over 5 innings, with 6 strikeouts and a walk, although none of the hits left the ballpark.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

With the lefty Rodriguez on the mound, and Ryu going for the Jays, expect to see Santiago Espinal at third base. That probably means Cavan Biggio will once again be on the bench, although he could slide over to second base while Marcus Semien goes to SS and Bo Bichette goes to DH. Bichette hasn’t had a DH day since July 3, but before that he had 2 in April, 3 in May and 3 more in June.

It’ll be interesting to see what the Jays do behind the plate in this one. Ryu’s recent bounce back in performance lined up with Danny Jansen coming back, then with Jansen once again on the IL this past weekend, Ryu had another rough outing with Reese McGuire behind the plate. I’m usually not one to buy into catcher’s ERA and things like that, but I do believe that some pitchers pitch better with certain catchers, and Jansen seems to be Ryu’s guy. With Jansen out again, I’d go with Kirk behind the plate today. With the lefty on the mound for the Red Sox as well, I’d really rather not see McGuire.

Red Sox’ Lineup

As expected, Xander Bogaerts was back for the nightcap yesterday, good enough to go after missing a couple games with a sore wrist. There’s no reason to expect he won’t be back out there again tonight.

Michael Chavis didn’t start either game yesterday, which was a bit surprising considering the Jays had two lefties starting. Expect him to be in the lineup tonight.

Bobby Dalbec will probably be starting at first base again today, and between him, Danny Santana, Michael Chavis and Franchy Cordero, the Red Sox have the worst first base group in all of baseball. With tomorrow’s trade deadline likely to bring a lot of moves today, expect the Red Sox to be on the hunt for a Major upgrade there. Don’t be surprised to see them going after pending free agents like Anthony Rizzo and Freddie Freeman, as both of their teams have now fallen below .500 on the year and are likely to sell.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Ryan Jeffers went 2-3 with a pair of home runs and a pair of walks while driving in 6 runs to pick up the Monster Bat award. His 2 home runs were part of a 7 homer attack from the Twins, who still fell to the homerless Tigers 17-14. Interestingly, that was the first time since at least 1901 that a team outhomered an opponent by 7 and still lost.

Salvador Perez hit a game tying home run in the bottom of the 9th, forcing extra innings where the Royals walked it off 3-2 over the White Sox. For Perez’s home run, he gets the WPA King trophy, as the hit alone was worth .464 WPA, and he had a total of .580.

Walker Buehler threw 7 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits and a pair of walks while striking out 8 to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. He also got the win, as his Dodgers beat the Giants 8-0, and trimmed the Giants’ division lead down to 2 games.

Find the Link

Find the link between Bobby Dalbec, Jesús Aguilar and Miguel Sanó.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant