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Game #4 Preview: Manoah vs Taillon

Blue Jays (2-1) vs Yankees (2-1)

Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

After a solid opening weekend series, the Blue Jays hit the road to New York where they will start a 4 game series against the Yankees. First pitch is set for 7:05 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Alek Manoah makes the first start of his highly anticipated sophomore season, doing so in the same place that he started his rookie campaign. And that rookie campaign was a strong one, as over 20 starts and 111.2 innings, he was 9-2 with a 3.22 ERA, getting him an 8th place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting, despite a late start to his season.

Manoah was perhaps a little bit on the lucky side of things with that low of an ERA, at least when looking at FIP. His 3.80 mark in that category, while still strong, suggests that he may not be a great as he was. He struck out a lot of batters, and did a decent job at limiting home runs, but it’s the free baserunners he gave away that he will need to improve upon to find further success. He allowed walks at a league average pace, but on top of that he hit more batters than any other American League pitcher, despite throwing fewer innings than the next 15 guys on that list.

But the talent is there, and this should be a very exciting season to watch him.

Yankees’ Starter

The Yankees will counter with Jameson Taillon, kicking off his second season in the Bronx. Despite a nasty injury history, Taillon had a relatively healthy 2021, sticking around long enough to start in 29 games, although he did require ankle surgery over the winter. But nonetheless, he’ll use that strong foundation year to try and eclipse the 30 start plateau for the second time, and enter free agency this winter with a potential for a big payday.

Taillon had a solid season in 2021, despite not pitching since May 1, 2019. Over 144.1 innings, he went 8-6 with a 4.30 ERA, including a similar 4.43 FIP. It was the home runs that hurt him the most last year, with a rate of 1.50 per 9 innings, a rate quite a ways above the league average of 1.26.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Alejandro Kirk will be behind the plate catching Manoah in this one, so the DH spot will be open once more for someone to step in to. If I had to guess, it’ll be Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s turn to take a half day off.

We have yet to see both Santiago Espinal and Cavan Biggio in the lineup together this year, but Biggio would likely be the one to spell Vladdy at 1B. He will also eventually spend some time in the OF to push an outfielder to the DH spot.

Yankees’ Lineup

They had perhaps a bit of a disappointing weekend series against the Red Sox pitchers, scoring 13 runs over their 3 games. While the number of runs perhaps wasn’t the issue, it was the fact that half the lineup was fairly anemic.

Giancarlo Stanton came out of the gate hot, going 5-13 with a pair of homers, and even started a game in the OF.

Anthony Rizzo also had a pair of home runs, plus a single and 3 walks.

Josh Donaldson and Aaron Judge each collected 4 hits, but were kept in the ballpark.

However, beyond those 4, the Yankees unsurprisingly didn’t do well. In the 75 plate appearances by the rest of their roster, they got 8 hits and 7 walks. The key to beating the Yankees is getting past the top 4, and hoping Joey Gallo doesn’t wake up and join them.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Byron Buxton went 2-5, launching a pair of home runs to pick up the Monster Bat award. His power output helped his Twins finally reach the win column, with a 10-3 victory over the Mariners.

Nelson Cruz hit a 2-run single in the bottom of the 8th, giving his Nationals the 4-2 lead, which the bullpen held on to as they also claimed their first win of the season over the Mets. Cruz takes home the WPA King trophy with a .343 mark.

It was a rough day on the mound, as only Carlos Carrasco amounted more than 5 innings, so we’ll give him the Pitcher of the Day. He went 5.2 innings, allowing 1 run on 2 hits and no walks striking out 5. But the as noted before, his Mets lost 4-2 to the Nationals.

Find the Link

Find the link between Giancarlo Stanton, Alex Rodriguez and Eddie Collins.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant