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Game #34 Preview: Ryu vs Yarbrough

Blue Jays (17-16) vs Rays (20-13)

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Blue Jays and Rays continue their series tonight at the Little Trop of Horrors, playing their second of their three game set. After losing last night, the Jays need a win to stay above the dreaded .500 mark. Gametime is set for 6:10 ET, so enjoy your Saturday before tuning in to this team.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Hyun Jin Ryu makes his triumphant return from the IL to make his start today. He ended up on the IL due to forearm tightness, but after a rehab outing, he was deemed fit to pitch. Hopefully the results today also deem that, as his two pre-IL starts weren’t good. He threw just a combined 7.1 innings, but allowed 11 runs on 11 hits, with 2 walks and 2 home runs, striking out 5.

In Ryu’s first start against the Rangers, it was clear that he crashed hard into a wall after the third inning. He gave up a second inning home run and a leadoff walk in the third, but was otherwise strong and in control, easily clearing 91 mph with his fastball. But after opening the fourth inning with an 8 pitch walk, he never touched 90 again. He allowed 5 runs that inning, including the 2 he bequeathed upon Merryweather.

His second start was much the same, without the promising start. He made it through a clean first inning, but got torched for 5 runs over the next 2 innings. His fastball was even more dead in that one, with just 2 over 90 mph, while he had 3 curveballs in the 60s. He’s not someone who is going to need to require a hard fastball to be successful, but when it’s only the upper 80s, it’ll get hit hard. But it’s not just about it getting hit hard, it’s also about setting up his cutter and changeup with it. Normally the difference between the fastball and changeup for him is in the 10-11 mph range, but it was down to just under 9 mph so far this year on average, and in his worst innings it was closer to just 8. So watch for that velocity, and that separation, as a bit of a sign as to how he’s feeling today. And hopefully if he’s not showing well, Ross Stripling will be ready to be brought in quickly.

Rays’ Starter

There are only 10 starters in all of baseball who have a slower average fastball than Ryu, and the Rays are sending out the slowest one today in Ryan Yarbrough. Through his 7.1 innings this year, Yarbrough, who started the season on the IL, is averaging a career low 86.5 mph. But unlike Ryu, he isn’t getting hit super hard, just consistently. He has allowed 5 runs on 10 hits including a home run while striking out 6. But the surprising number is the 4 walks in 7.1 innings, as he’s usually carrying a walk rate well under half of that. It has obviously been just 2 starts after time on the IL, so don’t expect that to be a trend for him just yet.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Danny Jansen appears to be a gametime decision today, depending on how he’s feeling after a few rehab games. But with Ryu on the mound, I’m sure he’s going to push as hard as he can to be activated for tonight’s game.

After getting his first career hit and run last night, don’t be surprised to see Vinny Capra back in the lineup today against the soft tossing lefty. If I had to guess, he’ll be in the outfield while either Teoscar Hernández or Lourdes Gurriel Jr. get a day at DH.

George Springer is an almost certainty to not be in the lineup today. After crashing just short of the wall and rolling over his ankle, he has been diagnosed with a sprain and absolutely should not be pushing it. Maybe they’ll try Teo in CF, but it’ll more likely be Raimel Tapia or Bradley Zimmer getting the start there today. If they do go with Teo, the Jays could potentially roll out a wholly right handed lineup against Yarbrough, who has some pretty strong splits, especially since the start of last year.

Rays’ Lineup

Yandy Díaz was a late scratch yesterday due to an “illness”. Taylor Walls got the start at 3B in his place. Even if Díaz is back in the lineup tonight, expect to see Walls still in the lineup, as he generally starts against lefties. The substitution there is that Díaz would slide over to 1B and Ji-Man Choi would get the night off. If Díaz isn’t healthy, we could see Choi in there against Ryu.

The other platoon that the Rays have on their sheet is typically between Harold Ramírez and Brett Phillips, with Ramírez getting the starts against lefties. So expect that today, although last night was the opposite with Ramírez getting the start against Gausman while Phillips was on the bench.

Manuel Margot was back in the lineup after dealing with hamstring issues the last few days. He was relegated to DH duties yesterday, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen again.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Bryce Harper had a home run, 2 doubles and 2 walks, taking home the Monster Bat award. He helped his Phillies to the 12-10 extra inning win over the Dodgers.

The Dodgers forced extra innings thanks to a 9th inning 2-run home run by Justin Turner that tied things up at 9. Turner also chipped in a 2 run double in the 3rd inning, and walks away with the WPA King trophy with a .567 WPA on the day.

Framber Valdez threw 7.2 innings of 1 run ball, allowing 7 hits and a pair of walks while striking out 6. He gets the Pitcher of the Day award, and helped the Astros to their 11th straight win as they beat the Nationals 6-1. They’ve now allowed just 12 runs in their 11 games since losing 3-2 to the Jays last Sunday.

Find the Link

Find the link between Ji-Man Choi and Félix Hernández.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant