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Game #127 Preview: Matz vs Manning

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Blue Jays (66-60) vs Tigers (61-67)

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing homestand, the Blue Jays are back out on the road for their physically shortest possible road trip, stopping in Detroit for 3 games before returning home on Monday. The first game in Detroit is scheduled to get under way tonight at 7:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Steven Matz will be making his second straight start against the Tigers, after he closed out the weekend series against them last Sunday. Matz pitched well in that one, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits and no walks over 6 innings. He struck out just 1 batter in that game as well, opening the 5th inning with a strikeout. The lone run came on Miguel Cabrera’s 500th home run, but he was otherwise just generating easy outs off the bat, letting his defense get the outs for him. He didn’t get the win though, but we won’t be revisiting the reason why.

That good start from Matz ran his season numbers to 10-7 with a 3.94 ERA and a matching 3.94 FIP. For the 5th starter on the team, that’s really good. Through 112.0 innings, he has 109 strikeouts against 32 walks with 14 home runs allowed. All very solid numbers.

Tigers’ Starter

The Tigers will go with young right hander Matt Manning, who will be making his 12th start. Manning opened the season as one of the best prospects in baseball, ranked as #21 overall at MLB.com and #19 overall at Fangraphs. His first handful of starts haven’t gone the way many expected them to though, as he comes into play with a 3-5 record and a 5.91 ERA. Through 53.1 innings, he has just 29 strikeouts, a rate which is nowhere in line with his Minor League numbers, where he struck out quite a bit more than a batter per inning. So to be less than half of his Minor League strikeout rate is confusing, but also not going to last.

Manning has a 5 pitch mix, with his 93.3 mph 4-seam fastball leading the way, which he’ll throw a little over 40% of the time. His other 4 pitches he’ll throw fairly evening, depending on the situation. His best one of the bunch so far has been his sinker, which batters are mostly just pounding into the ground. On the other end, his slider and his changeup have wOBA’s against of .411 and .414 (for reference, Vladdy’s wOBA on the season is .418).

Blue Jays’ Lineup

George Springer is inching closer and closer to activation, and it may even come at some time this weekend, but don’t expect it today. There is likely a roster move coming today (Brad Hand appears to be going on the Bereavement List according to Fangraphs), but that corresponding move is probably for a pitcher.

Santiago Espinal took a pitch off his throwing elbow yesterday. He didn’t come out of the game, and he also didn’t have problems making throws later. I would imagine there would be some swelling today, and it could be difficult for him to throw the ball today. Don’t be surprised to see Breyvic Valera or Kevin Smith get the start at 3B.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was on the bench again on Sunday, and I’m getting really tired of not seeing him in the lineup. Since the beginning of June, he has been one of the top 5 hitters on the team, right in line with his excellent 2019-2020, and should be playing every day.

Tigers’ Lineup

The Tigers activated their exciting rookie Akil Baddoo after the series last weekend. He probably won’t be in the starting lineup against the left handed Matz, but he’ll be in there at the top of the lineup against the righties the next two games.

The Tigers are expected to activate Eric Haase before today’s game as well. Haase has missed just under 2 weeks with a strained abdomen. I’m sure the Tigers will be happy to have him back, as he is tied for the team lead with 19 home runs, and his 114 wRC+ is third on the team.

Zack Short and Derek Hill, who both seem to only be in the lineup against lefties, will be in there tonight as well.

Miguel Cabrera got the day off yesterday, as the Tigers were in St. Louis. So Cabrera ended up with a fairly restful week, with off days on Monday and Thursday as well. He’ll likely be in there at the DH spot all weekend.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Bobby Dalbec went 3-4 with a pair of home runs, driving in 7 runs to take home the Monster Bat award. He helped his Red Sox run all over the Twins 12-2.

Aaron Judge hit a go ahead 9th inning single, helping the Yankees win their 12th straight game by beating the Athletics 7-6. Judge, for his part, gets the WPA King trophy with a .439 mark.

Max Scherzer was dominant once again for his new team, going 7.2 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits, a walk and a bean ball while striking out 10 to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. He also took home the win as the Dodgers shut out the Padres 4-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Akil Baddoo and a former Major Leaguer who turns 38 today.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant