After yesterday’s rainout in Baltimore, the Blue Jays head down to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays in the final series before the All Star break. The first game of three gets underway at 7:10 this evening. Please note that there won’t be a preview for tomorrow’s game, but the Saturday matinee is scheduled to get underway at 1:10 ET.
Blue Jays’ Starter
Alek Manoah had his start yesterday pushed back to today, so instead of facing the Orioles, he faces the Rays for his second straight start. He comes into play with a 2-0 record and a 2.70 ERA over 36.2 innings across 7 starts. His FIP is a lot higher at 4.46, which is helped by his 43-12 strikeout to walk ratio, but gets hurt by the 7 home runs allowed. Interestingly, those 7 home runs came in 2 games - a 3 homer game against the Marlins, and a 4 homer game against the Orioles. His other 5 games have been tremendous, with only 2 earned runs over 30 innings.
His one start against the Rays is one of the tremendous ones, probably his best start as a pro. Last Friday night he went 7 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits and a walk while striking out 10 batters.
Lefty Shane McClanahan will make his 13th start of the season for the Rays, bringing in a 3-3 record with a 4.18 ERA. Across 56.0 innings this year, McClanahan has 66 strikeouts against 18 walks, allowing 9 home runs. That adds up to a 3.87 FIP, and for what it’s worth, he has probably allowed a couple more home runs than his groundball profile otherwise should. His xFIP, which normalizes the home run rate to league average, is a pretty great 3.17, but that ignores that suppressing home runs is a bit of a skill.
This will be McClanahan’s second start of the year against the Jays, and he has done well both times out. He has combined for 10.1 innings, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and 4 walks, striking out 9. He was cruising along nicely in his last outing, allowing just a George Springer solo home run through 5 innings, before the Jays’ bats came alive and scored 2 more runs off him, and 3 off the bullpen in a decisive 6th inning. But he does have the ability to hold the Jays’ bats to just 1 run over 5 innings, which he did in each of his first 2 starts.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
I’m firmly on the “Cavan Biggio is the better player, and should be getting most of the starts” side of things, but if there ever was a time that I’d be like “yeah, this is a game Espinal should start” it’s against a hard throwing lefty. McClanahan is one of the hardest throwers from the left side, so Espinal getting a start here makes sense.
Danny Jansen is likely also catching today, with the lefty on the mound.
Otherwise, expect to see the normal righty dominant lineup that the Jays typically send out in the 1-7 spots.
One of the Rays’ top prospects, Vidal Bruján, was called up the other day, but apparently it was only as the 27th man for the double header on Wednesday, and he has been sent back down. So we won’t start hating him just yet.
Manuel Margot strained his hamstring in a game earlier this week and has been placed on the IL, so we won’t be seeing him this week. I don’t see a prognosis for how long he’ll be out, but at least through the All Star break, and probably longer.
Margot is the only one currently on the IL, so it’s otherwise full steam ahead for the Rays. Taylor Walls was activated from the IL last Saturday, and he seems to be getting most starts at SS while uber-prospect Wander Franco gets the starts at 3B, and slides over to SS when Walls sits. They’re both switch hitters, so I’d imagine they’ll both play most days.
Expect a very lefty heavy lineup against Manoah again, although that didn’t necessarily do them any good last Friday when they had Randy Arozarena as the only righty.
Roberto Pérez hit a 2-out, 3-run home run in the bottom of the 8th, turning a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead. His Clevelanders fought a bit more and ended up walking off the Royals 7-4. FOr his part, Pérez gets the WPA King award with a .581 mark.
Logan Gilbert pitched a fantastic game yesterday, allowing just 1 hit and no walks over 7 shutout innings, striking out 8. He gets the Pitcher of the Day award as the Mariners shut out the visiting Yankees 4-0.
Find the Link
Find the link between Randy Arozarena and Albert Pujols.