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Games #108&109 Preview: Pivetta/Houck vs Ray/Berríos

Red Sox (64-47) vs Blue Jays (58-49)

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox and Blue Jays will play a rare double header in Toronto today, making up for a game lost to rain down in Buffalo a couple weeks ago. The first game of the double header is set to get underway at 3:07 ET, while the night cap is scheduled to follow at 7:07.

Blue Jays’ Starters

Getting the ball in game 1 will be Robbie Ray, making his 22nd start of the season. Through 124.1 innings, Ray is 9-5 with a 3.04 ERA. He has done an amazing job this year, and throughout his career, racking up strikeouts, and is currently sitting second in the AL with 154. But unlike years past, he has also done an excellent job limiting walks, with just 2.46 per 9 innings, a rate that is pretty much half of what it was from 2018-2020. We’ll just ignore his home runs allowed at this point.

This will be Ray’s fourth start against the Red Sox, and also third in his last four appearances. Through 17.0 innings, he has allowed 8 runs on 14 hits with 7 walks and 22 strikeouts. He has surrendered 4 home runs to them as well, one each to Bogaerts, Devers, Chavis and Hernández.

Game 2 starter will be new addition José Berríos, making his second start since coming over from the Twins at the deadline. On the season, Berríos is 8-5 with a 3.31 ERA. He is currently sitting 9th in the AL with 133 strikeouts, with 3 White Sox and 3 Athletics between him and Ray. Berríos is also walking few people this year, just above his career best mark and currently sitting at 2.33 per 9 innings. But unlike Ray, Berríos isn’t having home problems, allowing just under 1 per 9 innings.

Berríos has just one game this year against the Red Sox, back on April 14 in Minnesota. On a +8 Celsius day, Berríos faced 1 over the minimum through 4 shutout innings, but fell apart in the 5th inning as he struggled with command. In total, he allowed 4 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out 5 over 4.1 innings.

Red Sox’ Starters

Canadian Nick Pivetta will get the ball for the first game today. Pivetta is 8-5 with a 4.57 ERA on the season, with a little bit better 4.31 FIP. He has done great getting strikeouts, with 126 over 112.1 innings. But the problems that haunted him in Philadelphia have continued to cause problems for him in Boston, as he now has a career high walk rate of 3.93 per 9 innings, and has given up 1.36 home runs per 9 innings, a bit higher than league average.

This will be Pivetta’s 5th start against the Jays this year, and he is probably happy that he can’t face them any more after this one. Through 21.1 innings, he has allowed 19 runs (18 earned) on 30 hits and 8 walks, striking out 21. Blue Jays’ batters have hit 6 home runs off him - Bo and Biggio with 2 each, while Vladdy and Semien each have one.

Young right hander Tanner Houck will get the ball in game 2, making his 7th appearance and 5th start of the season after bouncing back and forth between Boston and Worcester. Through 22.0 innings in the Majors this year, Houck is 0-2 with a 2.45 ERA. He has completed 5 innings just once this year, which helps to explain why he doesn’t have a win yet. But the innings he has given the Red Sox this year have been great, with 30 strikeouts against 5 walks and just 1 home run.

Houck made his only appearance against the Jays the last time these two teams had a double header, back on July 28. He dominated the Jays’ batters, striking out 6 with just a walk allowed through the first 3 innings. The Jays got on the board in the 4th inning with a Vladdy double which scored on a Bo single, but another strikeout and a couple flyouts ended that inning, and Houck’s night was done after 75 pitches. He left with a 4-1 lead, which was the final score, but he was denied his first victory of the season having not made it through 5 innings.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Red Sox’ Lineup

Bad news on the Red Sox front

And the lineup

Yesterday’s Heroes

CJ Cron went 2-3 with a pair of home runs, a walk and a bean ball while scoring 4 times and driving in 4 runs to pick up the Monster Bat award. He helped his Rockies walk all over the visiting Marlins 14-2.

Cal Quantrill threw 7 dominant shutout innings, good enough to earn him the Pitcher of the Day award. He allowed just 4 hits and no walks while striking out 10 batters, and walked home with the win in Cleveland’s 6-1 victory over the Tigers.

Juan Minaya entered the tie game in the bottom of the 10th with 2 on and 2 out, but got a strikeout to end the threat. Then in the 11th, up by 1 with a runner in scoring position, Minaya worked around an error and closed out the game. He got the win in the game, and also takes home the WPA King award with his amazing effort resulting in a .545 WPA.

Find the Link

Find the link between Nick Pivetta and Yermín Mercedes.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant