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Game #145 Preview: Rasmussen vs Berríos

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Rays (89-55) vs Blue Jays (81-63)

Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

After a great game last night, the Blue Jays will look to secure the series win against the Rays as they play game two of their three game series tonight. Gametime is once again set for 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

José Berríos will make his 9th start as a Blue Jay since the trade deadline deal that brought him to Toronto. It’ll be his 29th start overall, and his numbers as a Blue Jay are now about as good as they were when he was with the Twins. Overall, he is 11-7 with a 3.52 ERA, with his ERA going up a little bit since coming over with a 3.48 mark. But his strikeout rate is up a little bit (9.32 per 9 innings with the Twins, 10.28 per 9 innings with the Jays), while both his walk rate (2.37 down to 2.01) and his home run rates (1.04 down to 1.01) are lower in Toronto.

Coming over from Minnesota, Berríos has not had an opportunity to face the Rays yet this year, so this will be his first outing against the Rays.

Rays’ Starter

Drew Rasmussen will get the ball for the Rays, making his 8th start and 18th appearance overall since coming over in the Willy Adames trade back in May. After spending some time in the Minors, Rasmussen has flourished now that he’s getting regular playing time. Through 44.0 innings with Tampa Bay, Rasmussen is 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA. When he was with the Brewers, he was a strikeout machine with a worrying number of walks and the propensity to give up home runs. Since the trade, he has a 40-11 strikeout to walk ratio, while allowing just 2 home runs.

Rasmussen has just one appearance against the Jays this year, coming in relief on July 11. He pitched 2.0 shutout innings, allowing a single to Santiago Espinal but otherwise got the through his innings unscathed, striking out 2.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

They have been immensely fun and dangerously deep over the last couple weeks. It’s amazing what flipping the schedule away from August will do for them. After a team wide batting average of .251/.320/.420 for August, they’ve supersized all of those numbers in September, now hitting .331/.410/.636 as a team for the month. Their 8 runs yesterday actually brought down their monthly average.

It was great to see the bottom of the order carry the team yesterday too. Gurriel, Grichuk and Valera all had 3 hits each, driving in 6 of the 8 runs.

Teoscar Hernández went 5-5 yesterday, running his season batting line to .308/.359/.532, moving him up into 4th place in AL in batting average, 10 points behind Vladdy in the lead. So not only is Teo going to push Vladdy in RBI (currently 1 back), he’s also going to challenge him for the batting average title.

George Springer looked a little rough as he beat out a double play yesterday. His knee clearly isn’t 100%, and it’s not only taking away from his ability to play in the field, but also his hitting ability. Since coming back from the IL on August 30, he is hitting just .209/.306/.326 with just 1 home run (albeit a huge one). He and the Jays might be better off letting him rest some more, have Alejandro Kirk take over primary DH duties, and try to get Springer as healthy as possible for the last week of the season.

Rays’ Lineup

Brandon Lowe was on the bench yesterday against the right Manoah, a surprising decision as he carries a 156 wRC+ against righties. The reasoning from Kevin Cash were that his legs are “beat up”, and I guess playing on the artificial surface in Toronto wouldn’t help. I would imagine he’ll be in the lineup against Berríos today, but maybe Cash is hoping to get him the whole series to rest.

Ji-Man Choi and Joey Wendle, the other two platoon bats the Rays deploy against righties, were in the lineup last night, and likely will be again tonight. Wendle and Choi join Lowe, Brandon Phillips and Austin Meadows as the biggest mashers of righties in the lineup, all 5 with a wRC+ of 127 or higher.

Francisco Mejía started behind the plate yesterday, his second start in a row, but expect to see Mike Zunino get the start tonight. Despite the expanded rosters, the Rays are carrying just two catchers, although both are strong, and have been splitting playing time fairly consistently all season.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Jose Siri went 4-5 with a pair of home runs, scoring 3 and driving in 5 pick up the Monster Bat award. Siri’s big night helped his Astros run all over the Rangers 15-1.

Sandy Alcantara threw 8 shutout innings, spending his entire time on the mound holding on to a 1-0 lead. This allowed him to rack up huge WPA totals, and goes home with the WPA King trophy with a .654 mark. He also got the win, as the bullpen completed the shutout, and the Marlins beat the Nationals 3-0.

Alcantara doesn’t get the Pitcher of the Day though. Alek Manoah had just as great of an outing, allowing just 1 hit and a bean ball over 8 shutout innings, striking out 10. However, unlike Alcantara, Manoah did it against the highest scoring offense in baseball, and earned that Pitcher of the Day trophy. As we all know, the Jays won the game 8-1 over the Rays.

Find the Link

Find the link between Drew Rasmussen and Jack Conlon.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant