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Game #83 Preview: Matz vs TBD

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Blue Jays (43-39) vs Orioles (27-57)

Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

The Blue Jays head to Baltimore to once again play the Orioles, opening a 3 game series against their division rivals co-dwellers. Tonight’s game gets underway at 7:05 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Steven Matz will make his second start since missing a couple weeks while on the COVID IL. Matz’ return to the rotation started off great last Wednesday, as he made it through a pair of scoreless innings on 23 pitches. But the wheels fell off for him in the 3rd, as he appeared to hit an early wall, coupled with some shoddy defense. He ended up allowing 4 runs in the 3rd, throwing 25 pitches, striking out 2 and was out after he let up a home run. Hopefully he has built up a bit more strength for this start, and is ready to go longer.

On the season, Matz has been pretty good. Through 72.1 innings, he has a 7-3 record with a 4.60 ERA. His FIP is quite a bit better, sitting at 3.88. That is thanks to 78 strikeouts against 18 walks and just 10 home runs allowed. As a back half of the rotation pitcher, that’s a pretty good season.

Orioles’ Starter

The Orioles don’t have a starter listed for this game. Fangraphs thinks that Dean Kremer will be recalled from the Minors, making his 3rd straight start against the Jays. Kremer was optioned after his June 24 start, so he would be eligible for recall today. If that’s the case, he would bring his 0-7 record and 7.25 ERA into action, against a team that he struggled mightily against. He managed just 1 out in that start, allowing 6 runs on 2 hits and 5 walks, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had the big blow with a grand slam.

I’m guessing that it won’t be Kremer, but rather just a mish mash of random pitchers. Spenser Watkins seems likely to figure prominently. having been called up a week ago, and pitching just once for 8 pitches in his Major League debut. He has been a starter in AAA this year, recently going 6 innings in a start on June 23. So he’s my pick for the guy originally slated to get the most innings today.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Without a defined starter for the Orioles, it’s a bit tougher to speculate on the lineup. I would think that Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire are in a pretty standard platoon. I guess if the plan is for a bullpen day, I would go with Jansen, who has far less severe splits throughout his career. But if the expectation is that it’ll be Watkins or Kremer, then we likely see Reese get the start, against one of the righties.

George Springer, who has had the DH duties in 3 of the last 4 games, rolled his ankle while swinging the bat in his last plate appearance on Sunday. He was visibly limping around, but we didn’t see him try to run the bases or have to field after that. With the off day yesterday, hopefully everything is fine, but if he’s back at the DH spot today, he probably has some lingering effects. If he’s out of the lineup, that’s bad.

Orioles’ Lineup

The Orioles took a big blow the last time they faced the Jays, losing Freddy Galvis for a couple months due to a strained quad. Terrible timing for a terrible injury, as Galvis has a long recovery ahead of him, and also likely misses the opportunity to be traded to a contender at the deadline.

Maikel Franco missed the weekend series with an ankle injury, and will probably be a gametime decision once again. If he’s out again today, I would imagine a quick IL stint is in the cards for him. Domingo Leyba, who came over on waivers and made his Orioles’ debut in the final game of the 4 game series in Buffalo, has been covering at 3B while Franco has been out.

Orioles’ leadoff man and center fielder Cedric Mullins was rightly named to the All Star game over the weekend. He’ll be the Orioles’ only representative at the game, but he certainly isn’t a pity pick, and very likely could be starting in CF replacing the voted-in-but-injured Mike Trout. Mullins is 9th in the Majors in position player WAR, hitting .318/.385/.547 (154 wRC+) with 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases. For today’s game, expect him to be the only lefty in the lineup against Matz.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Ben Gamel went 3-5, launching a pair of home runs and collecting a double, driving in 6 runs to pick up the Monster Bat award. His big day at the plate helped his Pirates to the 11-1 win over the Braves.

Franmil Reyes had a big game at the plate as well. He had an RBI single in the 4th to get Cleveland on he board, hit a 2 run home run in the 5th inning to tie the game at 5, then he gave the team a bit of breathing room with a 2-run double to run the score to 8-5 in the 6th inning. All of that gives Reyes the WPA King trophy with a .439 mark on the day. However, all of that wasn’t enough, as the Rays clawed their way back and walked it off with a 9-8 win.

Wily Peralta threw 7 shutout innings, allowing just a trio of hits and striking out 6 while walking none, giving him the Pitcher of the Day award. He also got the pitcher win as the Tigers beat the Rangers 7-3.

Find the Link

Find the link between Cedric Mullins and Maikel Franco.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant