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Game #131 Preview: Akin vs Ryu

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Orioles (40-90) vs Blue Jays (69-61)

Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

After a fun win last night, the Blue Jays will look to continue their recent string of success, and try to take the second game of their three game series against the Orioles. Today’s game once again gets underway at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Hyun Jin Ryu will head to the mound for the Jays, looking to put last week’s debacle against the White Sox behind him. The 7 runs allowed over 3.2 innings matched a season worst for him, going back just a few starts to the one against the Red Sox where he put up matching numbers. Things just weren’t working for him last week, as he surrendered a season high 3 home runs, and ran his season ERA up to a current-rotation high of 3.88 (just behind Matz’ 3.81).

Ryu will be facing a familiar foe in this one, making his 4th start of the year against the Orioles. He has made 2 starts in Baltimore, combining for 2 runs on 8 hits over 12 innings, with an 11:3 K:BB ratio. His lone “home” start came in June, which means that it was in Buffalo, and his outing wasn’t quite as nice in the final box score. After 6 shutout innings and a 12-0 lead, he came back out for the 7th inning. The wheels fell off for him a bit there, and thanks to the long leash afforded him by the huge lead, he gave up 4 runs on a pair of doubles, 3 singles and a walk. But take out that inning, and he was dominant.

Orioles’ Starter

Left hander Keegan Akin will get the ball for the Orioles, making his 13th start and 20th appearance overall. Through 70.2 innings, Akin is 1-8 with a 7.26 ERA, although things aren’t quite so dire when looking at his FIP, which comes in at 5.04. His home run rate is comfortably above league average (but nowhere near the worst), while his strikeout and walk rates fall in to a mildly-worse-than-league-average range. But he’s getting hit hard, by both lefties and righties (although righties worse), and if it was any other team but the Orioles, he would be getting his reps in AAA at this point.

This will be Akin’s second start against the Jays, previously matching up against Ryu in the June game in Buffalo mentioned above. In that one, he allowed 6 runs on 7 hits over 4.1 innings. He was fairly good in the 1st, 2nd and 4th innings, allowing just a pair of singles while striking out 3. But the 3rd and 5th innings are what killed him, as the Jays’ bats knocked him around fairly consistently. Vladdy and Teo each touched him up for a home run, while Bichette had a pair of doubles off him, and Semien had a double as well. But aside from the top of the order getting their 2nd and 3rd cracks at him, he was good.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

It was great to see some offensive output last night, thanks likely at least in part to George Springer’s presence, as he went 1-2 with a walk and a bean ball, scoring twice. Teoscar Hernández’s 2-run double was fantastic to see as well, ending an 0-15 run he was in with runners in scoring position, But Vladdy’s awakening was the biggest story, of course, as he hit a pair of long home runs, had the top 3 exit velocities for the game, and ran his hitting streak to 8 games.

Tonight against the lefty we will get Lourdes Gurriel Jr. back in the lineup, where he never should have been removed. He’ll be in LF, while Randal Grichuk will get the start in CF, and Teo will be in RF while Springer is still at DH.

Behind the plate, with Ryu on the mound, expect to see Reese McGuire again. It’s too bad that Ryu facing off against a lefty couldn’t have waited until tomorrow, when rosters expand and Danny Jansen would be available to catch Ryu and bat against a lefty. But alas, the rotation didn’t quite pan out like that.

Orioles’ Lineup

Cedric Mullins got the night off last night against Ray, although he did get a pinch hit at bat against Romano in the 9th. Expect Mullins to be back in the starting lineup against Ryu, likely as the only lefty bat in the starting lineup.

Ryan McKenna was added to the active roster yesterday, getting recalled from AAA before the game, and promptly being inserted into the lineup. Ray struck him out all 3 times he came to the plate though.

Pedro Severino seems to get the bulk of the catching duties, so expect to see him behind the plate again today, and then Austin Wynns will likely be the one catching tomorrow. They may flip that around though and have Wynns catch today, but expect the two of them to each get a start over the next 2 days.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Vladdy’s 2-4 day with a pair of home runs and 4 RBI gets him the Monster Bat award in the Jays 7-3 win.

Giancarlo Stanton had a game tying single in the 5th inning to tie it at 5, then he had a game tying home run in the 7th inning to tie it at 7. Thanks to those hits, Stanton is the WPA King with a .345 mark, but the Yankees still lost 8-7 to the Angels, with Stanton left standing on deck.

Jon Lester threw 6.1 innings, allowing just 1 run on 1 hit and 2 walks, taking home the Pitcher of the Day award. He also got the win, as his Cardinals took down the Reds 3-1, and inched closer to the Reds’ 2nd Wild Card spot.

Find the Link

Find the link between Cedric Mullins, Robbie Ray, and Otto Lopez.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant