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Games #141 & 142 Preview: Blue Jays at Orioles

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Blue Jays (77-63) vs Orioles (46-94)

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Blue Jays play two against the Orioles today, making up a rained out game from July 8. The first of the two games is set to get underway at 4:35 ET, with the second one scheduled for hand an hour after the conclusion of the first. Also keep in mind that these are 7 inning games, so it gets late earlier today.

Blue Jays’ Starters

Hyun Jin Ryu is scheduled to start the first game, pitching on normal rest. He’ll be making his 28th start of the season, and it’ll also be the second time he’s starting in a double header. In the other double header he pitched in, he recorded the Jays’ first “complete game shutout” since Mark Buehlre did so on June 3, 2015. So hopefully he can take advantage of the shorter game again.

Ryu has already faced the Orioles 4 times this year, with 2 of those coming in Baltimore, and 2 coming at the Jays’ “home” in Buffalo. The games in Baltimore went well, combining for 12.0 innings, allowing just 2 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks, striking out 11. He allowed a home run to Trey Mancini. The games in Buffalo didn’t go as well, as over 12.1 innings, he allowed 7 runs on 10 hits and 5 walks, striking out 9. However, 4 of those runs came in the 7th inning up 12-0, when he otherwise would have been pulled from the game. So outside of that inning, he did look great.

Starting game 2 of the double header will likely be Ross Stripling, although there is an outside chance that Thomas Hatch gets a start instead. For Stripling, this will mark his return from the Injured List for a month with an oblique strain. It was unfortunate timing for him, as he was pitching great, and he lost out on the opportunity to earn himself a rotation spot. On the season, he is 5-6 with a 4.34 ERA, but leading up to the injury, he was 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA over 18.1 innings in three starts plus the injury shortened one.

Stripling has faced the Orioles just once this season, back at the end of June. He had a strong start in that one, allowing just 2 runs on 6 hits and a walk over 5 innings, striking out 3. He allowed a first inning home run to Ryan Mountcastle. But he only made it 5 innings thanks to an elevated pitch count, reaching the 95 mark in 5 innings. I doubt he’ll be able to throw that many pitches today after having just one rehab assignment.

(Of course, shortly after I write up the bit about Stripling, Keegan Matheson tweets that Hatch is starting for the Jays in game 2. I’m not deleting that, but I’ll add a bit for Hatch too)

Hatch will be making his second start of the season for the Jays, getting the call up today as the 27th 29th man. His first start in the Majors wasn’t great (I was there), as he allowed 3 runs on 7 hits over just 3.2 innings in Boston. He was hit frequently and hard, seemingly lacking a putaway pitch to get him out of trouble. But for Buffalo this year, Hatch is 2-5 with a 3.77 ERA, numbers that fall short of the expectations we had for him after a strong showing in 2020.

Orioles’ Starters

Dean Kremer will be recalled and make the start in the first game for the Orioles. Kremer made 12 starts for the Orioles to open the season, last pitching in the Majors on June 24, a start against the Jays. He earned that demotion, pitching to an 0-7 record and a 7.25 ERA over 49.2 innings. He had 45 strikeouts to 24 walks, allowing 14 home runs along the way. Only teammate Adam Plutko threw at least as many innings as Kremer and had a home run rate against him that was higher.

Kremer’s last two starts before his demotion were against the Jays. The first one went pretty well for him, as he made it through 6.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 6, and both runs came in on first inning solo home runs from Semien and Guerrero. Kremer then shut them down completely the rest of the way. However, when it came to facing the Jays again the next week, Kremer was terrible, walking 5 of the 8 batters he faced, while also allowing a Teo single and a Gurriel grand slam. He was pulled with 1 out in the first inning.

Going in game 2 for the Orioles is left hander Keegan Akin. Akin enters play with a 2-8 record and a 7.00 ERA over 79.2 innings. He isn’t quite as bad as his ERA suggests, coming into play with a 5.13 FIP, thanks to a decently strong strikeout rate (8.25 per 9 innings).

This will be Akin’s third start against the Jays this year, with mixed results. In his first start back in June, he allowed 6 runs on 7 hits over 4.1 innings, walking 1 and striking out 3. He gave up back to back home runs to Vladdy and Teo in the third inning of that one. In his second game against the Jays, he was much better, allowing just 1 run over 5 innings. He allowed 2 hits and 3 walks, striking out 5. The lone run came on a solo home run by Danny Jansen, and the anemic August Blue Jays lost that one 4-2.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Expect to see Grichuk, Valera and Kirk in Game 2, replacing Dickerson, Lamb and Jansen.

Orioles’ Lineup

Yesterday’s Heroes

Andrew Benintendi went 4-5 with a pair of home runs, driving in 5 runs to take home the Monster Bat award. Benintendi’s big night also got him the WPA King trophy, as his second home run came in the top of the 10th inning, and his Royals beat the Twins 6-4. Benintendi’s WPA on the day was .598.

Julio Urías threw 7 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits and a walk on the way to earning the Pitcher of the Day award. He struck out 7 but also beaned 2 batters, but still went home with the win as the Dodgers beat the Padres 3-0, helping them to keep pace with the Giants, still 2.5 games back.

Find the Link

Find the link between Dean Kremer and Dylan Axelrod.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant