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Game #68 Preview: Gausman vs Cease

Blue Jays (38-29) vs White Sox (32-33)

Toronto Blue Jays v Chicago White Sox Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Happy National Indigenous Peoples Day to all, and enjoy this wonderful solstice! If you’re interested in some activities in your area that may be happening today, check out this interactive map from the Government of Canada!

On the baseball side of things, the Blue Jays continue their series in Chicago this evening, playing the second game of their three game set against the home town White Sox. Gametime is once again set for 6:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Kevin Gausman gets the ball for the Blue Jays, making his 13th start of the year. Things have certainly gone downhill for him after his phenomenal start, but he’s still sitting atop the Major Leagues in FIP (1.74) and fWAR (3.1). That fWAR hasn’t moved much recently, as he has had multiple stinkers over his last few outings. The latest one came at the hands of the Orioles last Thursday, where he allowed 7 runs (5 earned) over just 2.1 innings, his shortest start since 2019.

This will be Gausman’s second outing against the White Sox, after facing them back on May 31. He wasn’t great that game either, but he did still pick up the win. He allowed 3 runs on 6 hits with a walk and a home run, striking out 5 over just 5 innings of work. Andrew Vaughn touched him up for a first inning homer.

White Sox’ Starter

Dylan Cease will make the start for the White Sox, getting his first look at the Blue Jays this year due to being on the restricted list when the White Sox were in Toronto a few weeks ago. Cease is having a strong year so far, with a 5-3 record and a 2.93 ERA, and a matching 2.77 FIP. He has an incredible 97 strikeouts over just 68 innings, giving him an MLB-best 12.84 K/9 rate. He’s also doing a good job preventing home runs, with just 5 given up all year. Those two rates are masking his control problems, as he walked 34 batters already, a 4.50 per 9 inning rate, a number that is also the highest in baseball among the 61 qualified pitchers.

Interestingly for Cease, he comes into this game with four straight starts allowing 0 earned runs. However, he has allowed at least one unearned run in each of those, including a 6 spot allowed against the Dodgers a couple weeks ago. In total, the last 10 runs allowed by Cease have all been unearned. His defense has essentially given up on him.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Alejandro Kirk had the night off yesterday, but will be back in the lineup catching Gausman. Yesterday was his first full day off without even a pinch hitting opportunity since June 8th in Kansas City.

Cavan Biggio finally hit his first home run of the season yesterday. That moment was undoubtedly a sweet relief for him last night. Hopefully we won’t be waiting another 132 PA between home runs.

Raimel Tapia is now riding an 8 game hitting streak after his home run last night, and also has an extra base hit in 5 of those games. He’s also hitting .316/.316/.605 (158 wRC+) over the last two weeks. Yet it still feels like a disappointment and the wrong decision every time he is in the lineup.

White Sox’ Lineup

They’ve been pouring it in the last few weeks, and yesterday was no exception. When they’re on, which they are right now, they’re a deep lineup with a lot of weapons.

José Abreu was the only one without a hit yesterday, but he has been having a really good season. His line of .259/.360/.435 (133 wRC+) is good, but falls quite short of what his expected stats are showing. His production comes out to a .352 wOBA, quite a bit lower than his .407 xwOBA. His expected stats line up with what Vladdy has done so far this year.

Andrew Vaughn was happy to see the Blue Jays again, getting his second 4 hit performance of the season against the Jays last night. The Jays’ pitchers really helped Vaughn turn his season up a notch. Since the start of the series in Toronto back on May 31, Vaughn is now hitting .416/.465/.571 (202 wRC+) over his last 86 PA.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Vaughn’s 4-4 night with the home run and 2 RBI nets him the Monster Bat award.

Gerrit Cole threw 7.1 innings of 1 run, 1 hit ball in a tight game, leaving with a 1-run lead. His bullpen didn’t hold on for the win for him, but the Yankees did end up beating the Rays 4-2. For his part in the tight affair, Cole gets the WPA King trophy with his .429 WPA.

Corbin Burnes, who gets to face the Blue Jays his next time out, is the Pitcher of the Day. He threw 7 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 10.

Find the Link

Find the link between Andrew Vaughn and Kris Bryant.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant