Last night was fun. The power that the Jays hadn’t been able to get to during first couple games of the series all arrived at once, with George Springer bashing his 15th and 16th homer of the year and Lourdes Gurriel jr. chipping a home run and a double of his own, and Teoscar Hernandez blowing the game wide open with a 5th inning grand slam. On the mound, Alek Manoah was dominant, overpowering the Angels’ hitters with his two fastballs for 22 swinging strikes and a career high 11 strikeouts.
Blue Jays’ Starter: José Berríos makes his third start since coming over to Toronto at the deadline. So far, Berríos has been every bit the ace the Jays hoped for when they swung a blockbuster trade to pry him away from the Twins. through 12.0 innings, Berríos has allowed just 1 run on 10 hits and 1 walk while striking out 13.
Berríos features two fastballs, a four seamer and a sinker, that average about 94.5 and 93.5 mph, respectively. He mixes the two fastballs and his hard, two-plane curveball about evenly, although he’s started leaning a bit more on the breaking ball since joining the Jays’ rotation. He’ll also mix in a change-up about a sixth of the time, mostly to lefties. All of his stuff has big horizontal movement, and he commands all of them, routinely posting solidly below average walk rates.
Angels’ Starter: Tonight will probably present a stiffer test for the Blue Jays’ offense. Shohei Ohtani’s 2.93 ERA ranks ninth among AL starters with at least 50 innings pitched, and his 29.9% strikeout rate is seventh. While his bat has been cold lately, Ohtani’s arm has only been heating up. In four starts since the beginning of July, the right handed thrower has posted a 1.38 ERA with 23 strikeouts to only 1 walk in 26.0 innings.
Ohtani features a 4-seam fastball that sits around 96 and can touch 99. He throws that about 50% of the time, with the remainder of his pitches being split nearly evenly between a splitter, slider and cutter. with a curve that he drops in three or four times per start.
Blue Jays’ Lineup: George Springer has been the star lately, with 5 home runs and a 216 wRC+ so far in August, including his two last night. Vladimir Guerrero jr. continued his struggles last night, but there’s more than enough hitting around him for the Jays’ to weather his slump without having to worry too much. I was glad to see him work a walk in the 9th inning last night, because he’s looked like he’s pressing at the plate recently.
With a right handed pitcher on the mound again, and with Randal Grichuk’s continued struggles, expect to see Corey Dickerson in the lineup again tonight. Reese McGuire has caught both of Berríos’ starts, so he’ll likely play tonight as well.
Angels’ Lineup: Although he hasn’t been placed on the IL yet, it’s hard to imagine that catcher Max Stassi will play tonight after taking a Manoah fastball off his forearm. X-rays were apparenly negative, but given how big of a welt had already appeared by the time he left the field after the play it must be pretty sore this afternoon. Expect Kurt Suzuki to get the start. Otherwise, the Angels’ lineup should be similar to what it was last night.
LA will forego the DH tonight to keep Ohtani in the lineup, so keep an eye on who comes in to pinch hit once he’s removed from the game. In his last start, Brandon Marsh was held out and then double switched into Centre Field, with Justin Upton coming out for reliver Raisel Iglesias.
The game starts at 9:38ET, 6:38PT on SportsNet One.