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Game #154 Preview: Berríos vs Ober

Blue Jays (85-68) vs Twins (68-85)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays continue their series in Minnesota, playing game two of their four game set against the Twins. We’re not quite to “must win” territory, but the Jays are getting to the point where they need to start winning these games. And it would be nice if they could do so handily so things aren’t so stressful. But such is September baseball.

The game is set to get underway a little bit later tonight, with an 8:10 ET start.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Long time Twins’ starter José Berríos gets the call for the Jays today, making his first start back in Minneapolis since the trade. Berríos, who spent parts of six seasons pitching for the Twins, comes into action tonight with a 12-8 record and a 3.45 ERA. He is getting stronger as the season finishes up it seems, as he has thrown at least 6.2 innings in 5 straight starts. In those 34 innings, he has a 2.38 ERA with a great 36:3 strikeout to walk ratio, allowing 4 home runs.

Berríos made his first career start against the Twins his last time out last Sunday, turning in a strong effort against his former teammates. He went 6.2 innings, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk, striking out 6. A home run by Ben Rortvedt, who is no longer on the active roster, knocked him out of the game.

Twins’ Starter

Rookie right hander Bailey Ober will get the ball for the Twins, making his 20th start of the season. Ober has had a decent rookie campaign, compiling a 2-3 record with a 4.34 ERA over 87.0 innings. He’s striking out just over a batter per inning at 90 total strikeouts, and interestingly has allowed 1 walk and 1 home per start, sitting at 19 of each. That low of a walk rate is good, but the home run rate is pretty bad.

Ober faced off against the Jays his last time out as well, getting the start on Saturday. He did pretty well his first time through the order, allowing just a 2-out walk to Reese McGuire in the 3rd inning, but otherwise retiring everyone. But the wheels fell off for him the second time through the lineup, as Semien led off with a home run, and after Vladdy took a walk and Bo hit a single, Teo hit a 3-run home run to punctuate the inning. Ober got out of the 4th, but that was the end of his day.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. got spiked from Randal Grichuk’s cleat on a throw in last night’s game, and while it doesn’t sound like there’s structural damage or anything like that, don’t expect him to be in the lineup tonight. Hopefully in a day or two he’ll be able to grip a bat.

Gurriel’s absence could force Springer out to the outfield, although that might be something to expect for tomorrow against a lefty. For today, the outfield can consist of Corey Dickerson, Randal Grichuk and Teoscar Hernández, and it wouldn’t be too abnormal.

Alejandro Kirk is definitely catching tomorrow’s game with Robbie Ray on the mound, but it’s possible he catches today too. He hasn’t played since Tuesday. Danny Jansen caught last night, and he also caught Berríos’ last start, so he’d be my guess as to who is catching tonight.

Twins’ Lineup

Luis Arraez wasn’t in the starting lineup yesterday, but he did find his way there in the middle innings, and came up with a pretty huge outfield assist. He entered in the 5th inning for Max Kepler, who was removed from the game with a “non-COVID illness”. I would imagine he’s day to day with that, but the Twins probably want his lefty bat in the lineup against Berríos.

Jake Cave is usually relegated to the bench, but he seems likely to be the one getting the start tonight if Kepler can’t go.

Nick Gordon had the big blow in last night’s game, a two-out, two-strike, three run home run off Julian Merryweather. Expect Gordon to find his way into the lineup again, although as to where on the diamond, we’ll have to wait for the lineup card to be released.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Juan Soto went 3-3 with a pair of home runs, a single and a walk to take home the Monster Bat award. That was pretty much all the National’s offence could muster, but it was also enough, as they beat the Reds 3-2.

The White Sox and Future Guardians played two yesterday, with the White Sox scoring 7 runs and running away with the first game quickly. But the second game was a lot more dramatic, with the White Sox scoring 2 in the top of the 6th to take a 2-1 lead. But that was followed by Cleveland, on the strength of a two-out, two-run single by Owen Miller, retaking the lead. After the White Sox tied it back up in the top of the 7th, Oscar Mercado walked it off with a 2-run home run. In all of that, it is Owen Miller that goes home with the WPA King trophy, with a .494 WPA on the day.

Patrick Corbin worked 6.2 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits and 4 walks while striking out 7. His great outing held up thanks to teammate Juan Soto’s big day with the bat, as Corbin got the win in the Nationals’ 3-2 win over the Reds.

Find the Link

Find the link between Jake Cave and the trio of Byron Buxton, Miguel Sanó and Jorge Polanco.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant