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Game #151 Preview: Manoah vs Rasmussen

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Blue Jays (84-66) vs Rays (93-58)

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

After a frustrating loss last night, the Blue Jays will look to bounce back in the second of three games against the Rays. Tonight’s contest once again gets underway at 7:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Rookie right hander Alek Manoah will make his 18th start of the year, doing so on a little bit of extra rest after throwing a career high 8 innings last Monday. He was about as dominant as a Blue Jays’ starter has been, allowing just 1 hit over those 8 innings, walking none while striking out 10. That fantastic start ran his season numbers to a 6-2 record with a 3.39 ERA.

This will be Manoah’s fourth start against the Rays, with a pair of great starts and one bad one. The aforementioned 8 shutout innings last week was against the Rays, and he also had a 7 shutout inning game against them at the beginning of July at home in Buffalo. Unfortunately, that one was followed a week later with a start in Tampa Bay, in which he went just 3.2 innings, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 9. The Rays worked him for a lot of pitches in that one, much like Ray last night, but the Jays are going to need a bit more length out of him with tomorrow’s bullpen day on the horizon.

Rays’ Starter

Drew Rasmussen gets the ball for the Rays, making his 7th start in a row since being inserted into the rotation at the beginning of August. Through 33 total appearances and 66.0 innings this year, Rasmussen has been very strong, pitching to a 3-1 record and a 3.00 ERA. His FIP is right there as well at 2.98, as he has struck out 68 while allowing just 4 home runs. His walk rate is a bit high, coming in at 3.27 per 9 innings, although that’s essentially league average.

Rasmussen faced the Blue Jays a week ago, and had the best start of his young career. Pulled after just 52 pitches and twice through the order, Rasmussen allowed just 2 hits and a walk while striking out 3. He induced a lot of weak contact, and generally was in command all night.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

There is talk about George Springer making it back to the outfield at some point soon, but he’s still clearly not 100%. If he’s going to be moving out there, I think he needs a few more days completely off his feet to rest up if he really wants to move out there. Alejandro Kirk can be a very suitable replacement at DH (and leadoff) if they want to go that route.

I was expecting to see one, if not both, of Santiago Espinal and Cavan Biggio at some point in this series. The Bisons had an off day yesterday and today, and their season is pretty much done. But they’re still playing games, so I guess let them both get to 100%. But the combination of Jake Lamb and Breyvic Valera certainly isn’t inspiring confidence.

With Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s home run yesterday, the Blue Jays now have 6 players with 20 home runs and 80 RBI. I think this is the first time in franchise history they’ve reached that mark. The 2000 team had 7 guys with 20 (a number Springer can still get to), but only 3 of them crossed that 80 RBI threshold. For comparison, only Grichuk got to 20/80 in 2019, and nobody on the team got there in 2018.

Rays’ Lineup

A righty on the mound for the Jays means a fairly different look all over the Rays’ lineup. Brandon Lowe, Austin Meadows and Ji-Man Choi will all be back in the lineup, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brett Phillips also get a start today. Heading back to the bench will be Yandy Díaz, Jordan Luplow and Manuel Margot. It’s the Rays, so expect to see a bit more lineup shuffling as well.

Francisco Mejía got the start behind the plate last night, but expect to see them go with Mike Zunino tonight.

It was announced yesterday that Wander Franco will be playing a couple rehab games in AAA this week, so he’s officially off the table for facing the Jays, but will be back soon.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Joey Votto went 3-3 with a pair of home runs and a pair of walks, taking home the Monster Bat award in the process. His output was a big part of the Reds’ 9-5 win over the Pirates.

John Means threw 6.2 shutout innings, allowing just 4 hits and a walk while striking out 6 to bring home the Pitcher of the Day award. He also earned the win, as his Orioles beat the home town Phillies 2-0.

Runner up to the Pitcher of the Day award is Framber Valdez, who threw 7.0 shutout innings, but allowed 6 hits and 3 walks. However, Valdez gets the WPA King trophy for his work, as it was 2-0 for his entire outing. That gave him a .456 WPA, and he earned the win as his Astros piled on late and beat the Angels 10-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Mike Zunino and Drew Smyly.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant