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Game #107 Preview: Eovaldi vs Manoah

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Red Sox (64-46) vs Blue Jays (57-49)

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays welcome the Red Sox to town for one of the biggest series of the year. The first game of this four game set gets underway tonight at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Rookie right hander Alek Manoah will make his 10th start of the season today, bringing his 3-1 record and 2.47 ERA into action. Through 47.1 innings, Manoah has struck out 56 against 16 walks. He has also allowed 7 home runs, the one thing that is holding his FIP back, although interestingly those have come in just 2 of his 9 starts so far. Also interestingly with that, neither of those 2 game account for his lone loss this year, as the Jays’ bats really carried the team in those games. His lone loss came in a game where he struck out 9 batters in just 3.2 innings. Such is baseball.

This will be Manoah’s second start against the Red Sox. He had a great start but took a no decision in his June 14 start in Fenway (the one with Vladdy’s 9th inning game tying home run). In that one, Manoah went 6 innings, allowed just 1 run on 4 hits and a walk while striking out 5.

Red Sox’ Starter

Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for the Red Sox, and he enters play as the American League leader in fWAR for pitchers at 3.9, just ahead of Gerrit Cole. However, his bWAR comes in a bit lower, currently at 2.9 and outside the top 10. The difference between the two on a very basic level is that bWAR is based off runs allowed, while fWAR takes into consideration how the pitcher did with things his can control, basing it off FIP. So Eovaldi enters play with a 3.71 ERA, but a 2.65 FIP over 121.1 innings.

Eovaldi’s excellent FIP comes on the strength of his great rate numbers so far this year. In his 121.1 innings, he has 120 strikeouts against just 22 walks and 7 home runs. Among the 51 qualified pitchers in baseball this year, that walk rate and home run rate are both the second lowest. If you’re a pitcher who wants to limit runs, one of the best ways to do it is to limit free passes and to limit home runs.

This will be just Eovaldi’s second start against the Jays this year as well, just missing out on pitching in the other serieses. His lone start came in the aforementioned June 14 game, where he threw a gem. Through 6.2 shutout innings, he held the Jays to just 3 hits and a walk, striking out 4.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

The Red Sox are expected to send out four righties this weekend, which means there’s a chance we see a lot of Reese McGuire and Corey Dickerson in the lineup. For tonight though, I would expect to see Alejandro Kirk behind the plate, as Reese has caught 3 straight games. They’ll split the starts behind the plate tomorrow, and then Reese will catch Ryu on Sunday.

Dickerson has struggled so far since being activated from the IL. He has played LF once and DH twice, but has collected just 1 hit, a pretty big double in Wednesday’s game. He is 1-11 so far, but encouragingly hasn’t struck out yet at least.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who took a ball off the hand in last night’s game, will be the big one to watch out for as the lineup is announced this afternoon. Everything seemed to be fine, but it was still a scary scene.

Red Sox’ Lineup

The Red Sox recently got Marwin Gonzalez back from the injured list, but he’ll feature a bit more prominently in the games against Ryu and Ray, as the switch hitter gets his share of starts against lefties. He’s still an important piece to the Red Sox’ bench, and could very well be a factor later in the game.

Franchy Cordero will likely be the one starting at 1B, as the lefty has taken over the bulk of the opportunities at first base against righties. However, seemingly regardless of who they put at first base this year, they’ve hit terribly. As a group, all Red Sox first basemen have hit .217/.260/.385, good for just a 71 wRC+. It was one of the most glaringly obvious positions in baseball that needed an upgrade at the trade deadline, and the Red Sox will probably regret not making a move.

Jarren Duran will likely be getting the start in CF today, as he seems to be in a platoon and getting starts against righties. For whatever reason, when he is in the lineup, he has been hitting near the top of the order. Through the first 54 plate appearances of his career, he is hitting .176/.204/.353, and batting right in front of Xander Bogaerts. Absolute lunacy.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Trevor Story launched a pair of home runs and drove in 3 to pick up the Monster Bat award. He was instrumental in the Rockies’ 6-5 win over the Cubs.

Joey Gallo hit a towering 3-run home run just over the short porch in RF at Yankee Stadium, giving the Yankees a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Gallo gets the WPA King trophy with a .651 mark, and the Yankees beat the Mariners 5-3.

Merrill Kelly threw 8 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4 to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. However, since he plays for the Diamondbacks, it went to waste as the Giants rallied to tie it with 4 in the 9th, and then won it 5-4 in the 10th.

Find the Link

Find the link between Marwin Gonzalez and Hunter Pence.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant