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Game #119 Preview: Berríos vs Gray

Blue Jays (63-55) vs Nationals (51-68)

Toronto Blue Jays v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Blue Jays wrap up their road trip today, trying to earn the split of the short two game series against the Nationals before heading home. Today’s game is set to get underway at 4:05 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

José Berríos will look to put his rough outing last time behind him, as he tries to get over the 6 run, 8 hit, 4 walk outing he put up in Los Angeles. Before that rough outing, his time in Toronto was going well. In his first 2 starts, he had allowed just 1 run on 10 hits over 12 innings, with 13 strikeouts against 1 walk.

On the season, Berríos is having a very strong year. He is 8-6 with a 3.52 ERA, the lowest ERA of his career. His FIP is right in line, currently sitting at 3.58, which would also be a career-best for the 27 year old.

Nationals’ Starter

Rookie right hander Josiah Gray will make the start for the Nationals, the 5th start and 6th appearance overall in his brief career for the 23 year old. The Nationals picked up Gray, one of the top prospects in the game, in the trade with the Dodgers that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner out west. Gray was the centerpiece, or at least one of two centerpieces along with catcher Keibert Ruiz, and is pretty much ready to be a long term contributing member to the rotation.

Ruiz features a standard mix of pitches you see from power throwing righties. His fastball is his best pitch, which he’ll sling through the zone in the mid-90s. He’ll use his good slider to get swings and misses, and he has a curveball to change up the look a little bit, plus a changeup to help combat the lefties. At this point, he leaves a few too many pitches in the heart of the zone, but he’s otherwise ready to be a successful big leaguer.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

After the callup and Major League debut of Otto Lopez yesterday, the Blue Jays are expected to call up another AAA infielder for today’s game, Kevin Smith. Smith has been raking in AAA this year, hitting .286/.371/.576 with 19 home runs and 16 stolen bases. Where he fits, and whose roster spot he’s taking, remains a mystery at this point. I would guess that if he, yet another infielder, is being added to the roster, that another infielder would have to be on the way out. To me, that’s either Breyvic Valera or an injury move, such as Bo Bichette to the IL. Since Smith needs a 40 man roster spot as well, a Valera DFA seems to make the most sense.

Today marks the last day of the regular season that we get the tired stylings of pitchers batting. Take special note of this one, because it’s quite possible it’s the last time a Blue Jays’ pitcher has to grab a bat (or is at least scheduled to grab a bat).

With no DH today, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lourdes Gurriel Jr. back on the bench today. Grichuk is the only one on the active roster really fit to play CF (although I’d imagine Teo can in a pinch). There is no way you can take Teo’s hot bat out of the lineup, so then it becomes a LF battle of playing time between Gurriel and Dickerson, and getting lefties into the lineup against the righty Gray seems likely.

Nationals’ Lineup

The Jays’ pitching yesterday made this lineup look a lot more competent and deep than they really are. Yesterday was the first time in nearly a month they scored double digit runs, with the last time coming when they still had players like Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber and Josh Harrison on the team.

Yesterday’s game was carried by former Blue Jay Riley Adams, who had the best game of his young career. However, as a part time catcher, I would expect that he’ll be back on the bench today, in lieu of Tres Barrera, who hasn’t had action behind the plate since Saturday.

Otherwise, expect to see the same lineup out there from last night, with a lot of pinch hitters thanks to a deep bench.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Nelson Cruz went 2-4 with a pair of home runs, driving in 5 runs to pick up the Monster Bat award. His bat was the big one in the Rays’ 10-0 win over the Orioles.

Luke Voit had a big day yesterday, driving in the winning run in each game of the Yankees-Red Sox double header. In game 1, it was a 2-run single in the bottom of the 5th, giving the Yankees a 4-3 lead in a game they won 5-3. In game 2, it was a solo home run in the bottom of the second, giving them a 1-0 lead in a game they won 2-0 as the Yankees swept the double header over the Red Sox. Voit, for his efforts, gets the WPA King trophy with a .388 mark.

Sandy Alcantara worked 8 very strong innings, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits and a walk, striking out 7 batters and taking home the Pitcher of the Day honours. Unfortunately for him, he walked home with the loss as his Marlins were shut out 2-0 by the Braves.

Find the Link

Find the link between Josiah Gray and Alex Verdugo.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant