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Game #82 Preview: Kikuchi vs Martinez

Blue Jays (44-37) vs Athletics (27-55)

Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Michael Urakami/Getty Images

After their fourth consecutive bad loss last night, the Blue Jays will look to turn things around against the home town Athletics tonight. Tonight’s game is set for a 9:40 ET start.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Yusei Kikuchi will go for the Jays, making his 16th start of the season. His last start was great, pushing his season ERA back down below 5. He comes into tonight’s affair with a 3-4 record and a 4.74 ERA. But maybe most importantly, his 6 innings was the first time in six starts that he made it at least 5 innings. The fact that he made it 6 innings is also rare, as it was just the third time this year he did so.

Athletics’ Starter

Rookie Adrián Martinez will start for the Athletics, making just the third start of his young career. His first two starts this year have been great and horrible. Martinez made his Major League debut on May 10 coming up as the 27th man for a double header, and he proceeded to open his career with the great. He threw 5.1 shutout innings, scattering 4 hits and striking out 3 tigers. He was sent back out after that game, and made it back to the Majors on June 30. That start against the Mariners went very poorly, as he allowed 7 runs on 7 hits over 4.2 innings.

His season in AAA, pitching for the pitcher death trap in Las Vegas, wasn’t a whole lot better either. Through 13 starts and 64 innings, he had a 4-3 record with a 5.63 ERA. He did have 73 strikeouts in those 64 innings, if you’re looking for positives from his rough AAA season.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Bo Bichette made a bad slide in the top of the 9th yesterday, rolling his left arm under his body. He stayed in the game, but he was in some pain. Thankfully it was his non-throwing arm. But be aware that he might be feeling some effects from that one.

Santiago Espinal has found some consistency after sliding back down into the bottom of the order a little over a week ago. Over the last week, he is hitting .385/.429/.577 (187 wRC+) over 28 PA.

Raimel Tapia probably makes a start in the OF again today. Ross Atkins really needs to make a move so that Tapia isn’t under consideration for playing time. As fun as it is when he does make good contact and pick up a hit, his continued inconsistency with the bat and his team-worst defense isn’t helping.

Athletics’ Lineup

On the year, they’re averaging just 3.17 runs per game, which is the second lowest in all of baseball. Their .212/.274/.330 (77 wRC+) line is the worst in baseball. And their 58 home runs, two of which came off Manoah yesterday, are the second lowest in all of baseball. They’re a bad team, and the Jays shouldn’t be outscored by them.

Just three players who have had an at bat for the A’s this year are hitting above average: Ramon Laureano (115 wRC+), Sean Murphy (103) and Seth Brown (100).

Stephen Piscotty, the one time promising future of the A’s who had a great first season in Oakland in 2018, is having yet another rough season. Fighting through various injuries, he continues to put up a wRC+ in the 70s, right where he was last year and the year before as well. At 31, he’s not likely to have a job for much longer. But he has a big contract that runs through this year, and the A’s don’t really have a whole lot else to replace him with, so

Yesterday’s Heroes

MJ Melendez went 2-4, knocking out a pair of home runs to take home the Monster Bat award. His output wasn’t quite enough though, as his Royals fell to the Astros 7-6.

Yordan Alvarez gets the WPA King trophy for making the difference in that Royals-Astros game. Alvarez walked things off with a home run in the bottom of the 9th, giving him a WPA on the day of .545.

Cole Irvin’s start against the Jays was yesterday’s Pitcher of the Day performance. His walkless effort over 8 innings of 1 run ball outdid everyone else, as he baffled the Jays once again.

Find the Link

Find the link between Stephen Piscotty and Marc Rzepczynski.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant