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Game #140 Preview: Ray vs Ellis

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Blue Jays (77-62) vs Orioles (45-94)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

After a monumental series in New York, the Blue Jays head to Baltimore to open up another big four game series, this time against the last place Orioles. The first game is scheduled to get underway at 7:05 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

The Blue Jays will open the series with Cy Young contender Robbie Ray, making his 28th start of the season. Ray enters play with an 11-5 record and an American League best 2.60 ERA. He is second in strikeouts, trailing Gerrit Cole 217-212, a difference he should be able to make up today. He’s also second in innings pitched, just 1 out behind teammate José Berríos, who passed him yesterday. Ray has been fantastic this season, and hopefully he can finish strong and carry us to and through the playoffs.

This will be Ray’s third start against the Orioles, and he has pretty strong numbers against them so far. In 11.1 innings, he has allowed 4 runs on 10 hits, walking 3 and striking out 15. He allowed a home run in both of his starts - one to Cedric Mullins and one to Ryan Mountcastle, although like most of the home runs he has allowed this year, they were solo home runs.

Orioles’ Starter

Rookie right hander Chris Ellis will be making just his 4th start of the season with the Orioles, after coming over on waivers from the Rays, where he made one appearance. In total, Ellis has thrown 16.2 innings, allowing 4 runs on 10 hits and 5 walks, striking out 14. He has been a bit wild, beaning 2 batters and throwing 3 wild pitches so far, but it otherwise hasn’t hurt his effectiveness.

The Blue Jays are one of the few teams that Ellis has faced thus far, and he did pretty well in that game. He threw 4.2 innings, allowing just a run on 2 hits and a walk. He struck out 2 batters and allowed a home run to Vladdy. He was even better in his next start against the Yankees, where he threw 5 no-hit innings, walking 3 and striking out 2, so he’s been getting stronger as he gains more Major League experience.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

The Jays wrapped up an historic series in New York, scoring 25 runs over the four game series, hitting 12 home runs and getting contributions from all over the lineup. It’s the type of output that was expected of this team, and it is fantastic to see it coming together, and many of the bats getting hot all at once.

One position that has certainly not been a strength is third base. The trio of Jake Lamb, Breyvic Valera and Kevin Smith are hitting .175/.264/.278 for the Jays, good enough for a 50 wRC+. It’s understandable that production would be lagging after losing the starting third baseman to injury, and then also losing the first planned backup as well. But things would be a lot easier for the Jays if they didn’t have that hole in the lineup.

Corey Dickerson will probably be back in the lineup in CF against the righty today. He hasn’t had anything difficult in CF yet, but he has looked competent enough that this is still a plan that works. However, he has just 3 singles and a double in his last 21 plate appearances, so if he’s not hitting, this plan isn’t working quite as well. At some point, Jarrod Dyson might start earning some starts in CF against righties.

Orioles’ Lineup

Infielder Richie Martin was added to the roster prior to yesterday’s game, but otherwise the Orioles’ lineup appears to be the same as it was when the two teams squared off last week.

Trey Mancini missed the first three games of the Royals’ series due to general soreness (not overly shocking considering what he has come back with, and baseball is a long, long season). Ramón Urías both missed the entirety of the Royals’ series, and is dealing with an upper leg injury. He’s “day to day”, but probably as “day to day” as George Springer.

On the “healthy and raking” side of things, Austin Hays is having a great September so far, hitting .300/.344/.567 and is drawing starts against both lefties and righties now, after spending much of the year on the weak side of a platoon.

Rookie Ryan McKenna, who had a terrible series against the Jays last week where he struck out in 6 of his 7 plate appearances, hasn’t done a whole lot better since then. He has a pair of singles in 10 plate appearances, but has also struck out 5 more times. He’s really struggling to find a reason to be put in the lineup.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Stephen Vogt went 2-2 with a pair of solo home runs, helping him take home the Monster Bat on a fairly quiet night across MLB. Vogt’s home runs helped his Braves to the 7-6 10-inning win over the visiting Nationals.

Ryan McMahon hit a 2-run home run in the top of the 9th inning, giving the Phillies’ their 30th blown save of the season, and ultimately helping the Rockies win a rare road game, beating the Phillies 4-3. McMahon, for his part, gets the WPA King mark with a .727 mark.

Cal Quantrill threw 7.2 innings of 1-run ball, allowing just 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5 and taking home the Pitcher of the Day award. The lone run came on a home run, but Quantrill still took home the win as the Future Guardians beat the Twins 4-1.

Find the Link

Find the link between Richie Martin and Fernando Tatis Jr.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant