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Game #132 Preview: Harvey vs Matz

Orioles (41-90) vs Blue Jays (69-62)

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

After a loss they could ill afford last night, the Blue Jays will look to win the series against the lowly Orioles this evening. The rubber match of this series goes at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Lefty Steven Matz goes for the Jays, coming off a very unheralded but great month of August. Among all Major League pitchers with at least 25 innings pitched last month, Matz had the best ERA at 1.30 through 27.2 innings. The great month has improved his season numbers to a 10-7 record with a 3.81 ERA. If he can continue to pitch well down the stretch, he could be looking at making a pretty penny in free agency this winter.

Matz will be facing the Orioles for just the second time this season, with the first one coming in Baltimore in early July. In what was one of his worst outings of the year, Matz went just 4.0 innings, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits and no walks. He struck out 4, and allowed 2 home runs - one to Pedro Severino and one to Cedric Mullins - as Matz suffered his 4th loss of the season.

Orioles’ Starter

Matz will be going head to head with former teammate Matt Harvey, who will be making his team leading 27th start of the season. Harvey has had a healthy and somewhat strong season with the Orioles so far, although the results don’t look so good for him right now. He enters play with a 6-14 record coupled with a 6.18 ERA. But FIP says he has been a much better pitcher, coming in with a very respectable 4.57 mark, giving him a solid 1.7 fWAR because of it.

This will be Harvey’s fourth start against the Jays, and the first three haven’t gone overly well for him. Across a combined 13.2 innings, Harvey has allowed 13 runs on 24 hits. Outside of the hits, none of the numbers jump off the board, as he has 9 strikeouts against 4 walks and 2 home runs - one by George Springer and one by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

The offence once again fell flat last night, missing opportunities, missing very hittable pitches, and scoring only 2 runs. That’s now 10 of their last 12 and 13 of their last 18 games in which they’ve scored 3 runs or fewer, hamstringing their chances of making the playoffs. Hopefully moving on from the month of August can help them put it behind them, but in a month when they needed to win a bunch of games across their weakest level of competition, they went 16-14.

One positive from last night’s game, perhaps the only one, was Vladdy hitting another home run, hopefully meaning that his cold stretch is fully behind him. The Jays need him, and a few other guys, to get hot and win a bunch of games.

For just the 10th time in his career, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. drew 2 walks in a game last night, playing in his 321st career game. The interesting thing with that though, is that 3 of those 10 games have come in his last 10 games. I hate that he’s not playing every single day. Today is likely another day that he’ll be on the bench.

Teoscar Hernández is probably going to find himself with another off day here soon. He had a big hit on Monday, but that was his only extra base hit since wrapping up the road trip in Washington. In the 49 plate appearances since that white hot road trip, he is 5-47 with just 2 walks, 4 singles and that double, which also gave him his only 2 RBI in that stretch, all while striking out 17 times.

Orioles’ Lineup

Another lefty on the mound for the Jays likely means another day on the bench for DJ Stewart. Austin Hays, who has been getting the starts in his place, has just a pair of singles in 8 plate appearances this series.

With a flyout to CF to end the top of the 9th yesterday, Ryan McKenna ended his streak of 6 straight strikeouts since earning the call up from the Minors. With rosters now expanded, he’s probably here to stay, but he certainly hasn’t had a good start.

On the topic of roster expansion, it would appear the Orioles are expected to just add to their bullpen, so don’t expect to see any new hitters.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Amed Rosario went 5-5, launching 2 home runs and driving in 5 runs to take home the Monster Bat award. He was the big piece throughout it all as the Future Guardians took down the Royals 7-2.

Blake Snell threw 7 no hit, no run innings, allowing just 2 walks and takes home the Pitcher of the Day award. The bullpen didn’t hold the no-hitter, but they did manage to hold on for the win for Snell, as the Padres beat the Diamondbacks 3-0.

Yusei Kikuchi threw 7 shutout innings of his own, but he did so in a scoreless game on both sides. As a result, he racked up a bunch of WPA, and goes home with the WPA King trophy thanks to a .436 mark. He didn’t factor into the decision for the game, as the Mariners didn’t take the lead until the bottom of the 8th, thanks to an Abraham Toro grand slam off Kendall Graveman, two players traded for each other a month prior. That ended up being the only scoring, as the Mariners beat the Astros 4-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Matt Harvey and the Prime Minister of Defense (baseball’s version).

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant