The Blue Jays kick off the second half of the season this evening, opening it up with a three game set at Fenway Park in Boston taking on the Red Sox. Tonight’s game is scheduled for a 7:10 ET start.
Blue Jays’ Starter
Kevin Gausman will get the second half started for the Jays, making his 18th start of the season, and second since missing time after taking the ball off his ankle. His return from a week and a bit off last Thursday was pretty good, although he still ended up taking the loss against the Royals. He went 6 innings, allowing just 2 runs on 7 hits, walking 2 and allowing a home run while striking out 6.
This will be Gausman’s fourth start against the Red Sox already this year, and first three were arguably his best three starts of the year. By game score, his starts against the Sox have been 79, 78 and 73, his three best of the year. In total, he has thrown 21 innings while allowing just 2 runs (1 earned) on 15 hits and 2 walks and no home runs, striking out 27.
Red Sox’ Starter
Getting the ball for the Red Sox will be Nathan Eovaldi, who will be making his 14th start of the year. He’ll be making just his second start since missing over a month lower back inflammation, which is why he has thrown just 72.2 innings this year. Overall Eovaldi is 4-2 with a 3.34 ERA, although the FIP tells a different tale this year, coming in at 4.60. Last year Eovaldi lead the AL with a 2.79 FIP, thanks primarily allowing just 15 home runs in 182.2 innings. He has already eclipsed that total this year, with 17 allowed in less than 40% of the innings.
This will be Eovaldi’s third start against the Jays after a pair of April starts that went fairly well for him. Through 11.2 innings, he allowed 3 runs on 12 hits and a walk, striking out 11. All 3 of the runs scored on solo home runs, one each for Zack Collins, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Matt Chapman.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
George Springer elected to not play in the All Star Game, instead opting to take the four days off to help his body recover, add in not playing the day before the break, and he has had nearly a week off. It’s not likely that was enough time to fully heal an injury, but hopefully it’s enough to help anyway. A healthy Springer would be a huge catalyst for the second half run.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. enters play riding a six game hitting streak, but stretching back a bit further, he’s had a very hit-filled month of July. Over 61 PA, he is hitting .404/.443/.526 (174 wRC+) this month, although there are only 4 doubles and one home run in that mix. His 23 doubles on the season still leads the team.
Also riding a six game hitting streak is Alejandro Kirk, although his July overall isn’t going quite as well. After a great May (175 wRC+) and even better June (206 wRC+), the best catcher in baseball is hitting just .298/.333/.386 (103 wRC+) so far this month.
Red Sox Lineup
They’re still pretty much just a three headed monster on the offensive side, although a three headed monster still makes for a potent offense. Rafael Devers (170 wRC+), Xander Bogaerts (137 wRC+) and J.D. Martinez (137 wRC+) account for the Red Sox bats having an above average season with the bats.
Christian Vázquez (103 wRC+) is the only other player with more than 100 PA registering a three digit wRC+. Although if you cut that back to just below 100 PA, we’ll find Rob Refsnyder, and if we all remember from the last time the Jays played the Red Sox, they’ve managed to turn Refsnyder into a behemoth this year. However, most of his at bats (and damage) will come against lefties, and the Jays will be rolling out three right handed starters, so Refsnyder shouldn’t be a concern this series.
Well regarded prospect Jeter Downs has been with the team for a couple weeks now, getting into 9 games thus far and not hitting well. Through 27 PA he has just 5 hits, striking out 12 times. He has looked overmatched, but has been forced into action as the fourth man down the depth chart, with Trevor Story, Enrique Hernández and Christian Arroyo are all currently on the IL.
Coming out of the break yesterday, there were just 6 games, including a pair of double headers. With that, it’ll be tough to find some winners, but we’ll give the Monster Bat award to Seth Brown. He went 4-8 with a home run and a double in his Athletics’ double header split with the Tigers. The Tigers won the first game 7-2 while the A’s took the night cap 5-0.
Trayce Thompson hit a game tying triple in the bottom of the 8th inning yesterday, knocking in the tying run and setting himself up to score the go ahead run. That hit alone was worth .326 WPA, and Thompson’s WPA King total was .432. Thompson’s other big hit was an RBI double in the bottom of the second that put the Dodgers up 2-0. They would eventually win 9-6 over the Giants.
Jon Gray gets the Pitcher of the Day honours thanks to his 6 shutout innings of work. He allowed 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5, taking home the win as his Rangers beat the Marlins 8-0.
Find the Link
Find the link between Rafael Devers and Nick Castellanos.