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Game #18 Preview: Pivetta vs Gausman

Red Sox (7-10) vs Blue Jays (11-6)

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

After a quick and fun win last night, the Blue Jays continue their four game set against the Red Sox this evening at Rogers Centre. Gametime is once again set for 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Kevin Gausman will make his fourth start of the season, and second consecutive against the Red Sox. As you’ll probably remember, his last start against these same Red Sox was one of the best of anybody this season. He went 8 shutout innings with 6 hits allowed and no walks, then came back out for the the 9th, threw one pitch that allowed a Story single, and that was the end of the day for Gausman. Facing a team in back to back outings can certainly be difficult, so hopefully Gausman is able to find success again.

That outing ran Gausman’s season numbers to 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA over 18.2 innings. His 0.71 FIP, thanks to not allowing a home run or a walk yet this year, is the best in baseball, leading to his league best 1.0 fWAR as well.

One other thing to point out from his last two outings - Gausman throws strikes.

Red Sox’ Starter

Canadian Nick Pivetta makes his return to his homeland to make the start for the Red Sox, the third time the Victoria, BC native will be pitching at Rogers Centre in his career. Pivetta brings an 0-3 record with a 10.33 ERA into action today, certainly not the results he and the Red Sox were hoping for out of him after he put up a respectable 4.53 ERA over 155 innings in his first full season with them last year.

In his 11.2 innings this year, Pivetta is having a lot of problems. He has allowed a lot of hard contact, resulting in 16 hits. He has also given up 9 walks and 4 home runs, both of which are about twice the rate he was giving them up last year.

Pivetta’s latest start also came against the Blue Jays, and it didn’t go well for him. He made it through 4 innings, where he allowed 5 runs on 7 hits. He also walked 4 batters while striking out 4, and surrendered a home run to Raimel Tapia. All of the damage against him came in the second inning, although he did still allow 4 more baserunners in the other 3 innings, so it wasn’t exactly clean. But he did have flashes of good in that outing.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Zack Collins caught Gausman’s gem last week, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen again today. If that happens, we may see Alejandro Kirk get the start at DH, which he hasn’t done since game 5 of the season.

Cavan Biggio went on the COVID-IL yesterday, and I would imagine they’re keeping him out for a day or two longer, at a minimum. A pitcher (Bowden Francis) replaced him on the active roster, meaning the bench is now down to three position players, and I would imagine Francis will be on the way back out when Biggio is healthy again.

Red Sox’ Lineup

Trevor Story got the day off yesterday, but it seems to be just a case of some rest time. Expect him to be back in the lineup today.

Christian Vázquez also found himself on the bench for a rest day yesterday after catching 4 straight days, so expect to see him back in the lineup.

J.D. Martinez returned to the lineup for the first time yesterday after straining his groin nearly a week ago against the Jays. He knocked a double against Berríos yesterday and seemed to be running perfectly fine.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Taylor Ward went 2-4 with a pair of home runs, driving in 3 to pick up the Monster Bat award. Both of his home runs came in 2 strike counts against Shane Bieber, so he definitely earned himself that award. His Angels rode his bat all the way to the 3-0 win over the Guardians.

Dominic Smith had a pinch hit 2 run single which gave his Mets the lead in the top of the 9th. For his efforts, Smith gets the WPA King trophy with a .651 WPA in the Mets’ 5-2 win over the Cardinals. And when you read “2 run single”, I hope your mind went to this:

One other note with the WPA King: The top spot for a pitcher on the day was a three way tie between Scherzer, Mikolas and Buehler at .409, with Corbin Burnes also right there at .407.

And on the topic of good pitching performances, the Pitcher of the Day award goes to Walker Buehler, the author of MLB’s first complete game and first shutout of 2022. He held the lowly Diamondbacks to just 3 hits and nothing more over his 9 innings, striking out 10 and earning the win in the Dodgers’ 4-0 victory.

Find the Link

Find the link between Christian Vázquez, Pedro Severino and Mike Zunino.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant