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Game #105 Preview: Mejia vs Matz

Future Guardians (52-52) vs Blue Jays (55-49)

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays will look to push themselves to new heights on the season today, attempting to reach 7 games above .500 for the 4th time this year. They’ll also try to earn at least the split in game 3 of the 4 game series against the visiting Clevelanders. Tonight’s game will get underway once again at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Left hander Steven Matz will get the ball for the Jays, perhaps fighting for a rotation spot with tomorrow’s starter Ross Stripling. They’ll both get the starts here against Cleveland, and then they’ll probably also both start in Tuesday’s double header. After that, barring injury, the Jays will likely have to make a decision on who will stay in the rotation with Ryu-Berríos - Ray - Manoah. Or maybe they’ll just move to piggyback them, giving them both 2 times through the order or something like that.

This will be Matz’ 19th start on the year, and through his first 18, he’s average pretty much 5 innings per start, sitting at 90.1 innings. He has 91 strikeouts against 25 walks, both strong numbers, and while his 13 home runs allowed are a bit high, his 1.30 per 9 inning rate is just above the league average of 1.24. So he’s pitching decently for a backend starter, with an 8-6 record and a 4.58 ERA and 4.01 FIP.

Matz faced Cleveland when the two teams met up earlier this year, and his numbers would have looked better if he didn’t come back out for the 6th inning. His final line was 5.0 innings, allowing 2 earned runs and 2 unearned runs on 4 hits. He struck out 4 while not allowing any walks or home runs. This was the second game of the double header on May 30, where he was amazing through 5 innings, came out for the 6th and let things fall apart. Then the Jays retook the lead before Chatwood fell apart in the 7th inning and the Jays lost. Fun memories.

Cleveland Starter

Rookie right hander J.C. Mejia will go for Cleveland, making his 11th start and 14th appearance overall this season. Through 45.0 innings, he is 1-6 with a 7.60 ERA, having a lot of struggles in his first year in the Majors. He has struck out 43 batters against 19 walks and 10 home runs, giving him an FIP of 5.61, which is much better than his actual results, but still nowhere near where you want to see your starter.

Mejia started the year working out of the bullpen, and with great results forced his way into the rotation, and even had a decent turn his first time there. Through his first 4 Major League appearances, he had 8 shutout innings with just 3 hits and 2 walks with 9 strikeouts. One of those appearances came against the Blue Jays, where he got 3 groundouts and a strikeout while working around a walk.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

With the righty on the mound again for Cleveland, expect to see a very similar lineup to last night. Corey Dickerson will likely be in the lineup again, this time perhaps he’ll get some time in LF. That would likely mean a decision between a start for Lourdes Gurriel Jr. or Randal Grichuk, and I’d guess it’ll be Grichuk today after going with Gurriel yesterday.

The back and forth starting between Alejandro Kirk and Reese McGuire seems to be back on, so today would be Kirk’s turn to get in there.

With the move to the IL for Cavan Biggio, we’re going to see more playing time for Breyvic Valera, who got the start at third base yesterday. But most of those starts are likely going to Stantiago Espinal, who will most likely be back at 3B today.

Cleveland’s Lineup

The Jays will send their third straight lefty to the mound in this series, meaning that Ernie Clement and Oscar Mercado will probably be in the lineup again today. Bobby Bradley, who sat on Monday against Ray was in the lineup against Ryu yesterday, but he probably will be on the bench again today. The other listed platoon member is Bradley Zimmer, who hasn’t gotten into a game at all this series.

Former Blue Jay Harold Ramirez is carving out a decent season for himself with Cleveland. Always a strong contact hitter in the Minors, he is managing strikeouts well this year, sitting at just a 14.7% rate, which is 91st percentile in the Majors. He is coupling that with good, hard contact, but with a lack of walks and home run power, he is running into his limitations as a full time player as well.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Teoscar Hernández gets the Monster Bat award for his work yesterday, going 3-3 with a home run, a pair of singles and a HBP while driving in 3. As we all know, the Jays beat Cleveland 7-2 thanks in part to his efforts.

Jorge Polanco hit a big 3-run home run in the top of the 9th inning, turning a 5-4 deficit into a 7-5 lead. That margin held up, as the Twins beat the Reds. Polanco, for his efforts, gets the WPA King trophy with a .503 WPA.

Lance McCullers Jr. gets the Pitcher of the Day nod, as he went 6.2 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 9. He held the Dodgers off the board and picked up the win, as the Astros won their first game in Dodger Stadium since the cheating scandal by a score of 3-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Harold Ramirez and Teoscar Hernández.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant