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Game #83 Preview: Berríos vs Kaprielian

Blue Jays (44-38) vs Athletics (28-55)

Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The Blue Jays will look to avoid the horribly embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Athletics, while simultaneously trying to put an end to their season-worst 5 game losing streak. Today’s game is an early one, set to get underway at 3:37 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

José Berríos will get the ball, the last Blue Jays’ pitcher to earn a win. After a pair of horrible starts to close out June, his start on July 1 was a nice rebound for him. In that one, he went just 5 innings, but held the Rays to just 2 runs. He did surrender 8 hits and 2 walks in that one while striking out just 3, so not exactly a typical recipe for success, but he managed to work around the rough patches and pull out the win.

That start ran his season numbers to 6-4 with a 5.74 ERA. The ERA is horrible, and his 5.17 FIP doesn’t paint a much better picture. Among the 64 qualified pitchers across baseball, Berríos’ 1.84 HR/9 rate is the worst, so hopefully playing in the friendlier confines of the Coliseum, coupled with the light hitting A’s, will lead to good results tonight.

Athletics’ Starter

There aren’t many pitchers having a rougher season than Berríos, but today’s A’s starter, James Kaprielian is one of them. Kaprielian enters today with a 1-5 record and 5.43 ERA over 58 innings, but his FIP is even worse at 5.75. He’s not a qualified pitcher at just 58 innings, but among the 129 pitchers with at least 50 innings, only Bruce Zimmermann and Yusei Kikuchi have a worse FIP, and they both pitch in the AL East.

A once highly regarded prospect, Kaprielian has seen his ceiling plummet as he faced multiple injuries over the years, as well as reduced dominance. He’s no longer a strikeout threat, with just 6.21 per 9 innings this year. He has also been quite wild, walking 4.03 batters per 9 innings. And he has been getting lit up fairly frequently at 1.71 per 9 innings, which if you’ll remember from Berríos’ stat, Kaprielian is close to the worst.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Matt Chapman picked up a trio of hits, getting his OPS back up to .700. Those were his first hits since the Red Sox series, an 0-16 stretch that included one walk and two sac flies. The Rays’ series was super tough on him, but he has otherwise been a pretty hitter over the last 7 weeks or so.

Also in a bit of a slump is Vladimir Guerrero Jr., probably explaining why he was not in the starting lineup last night. His last walk was on June 28, and since then he is just 7-33, although he does at least have 3 doubles and a home run in that span. But that certainly would be considered a rough stretch for anyone.

Bo Bichette somehow has built himself a 10 game hitting streak, but is hitting only .286/.318/.405 (102 wRC+) over the 10 games. You typically see much better numbers over a big hitting streak (see Gurriel’s line of .392/.446/.627 with hits in 13 of his last 14 games), but Bichette has just 2 multi-hit games over his streak.

Athletics’ Lineup

The Jays’ pitchers have done a good job making this second worst offence look at least somewhat capable over the last couple days. The 10 free baserunners yesterday certainly helped their cause, but they’ve now scored 5 runs on back to back days, just the fifth time this year they’ve scored at least 5 runs in consecutive games. Only once they’ve made it to three games, and never more.

Ramón Laureano, who started the year serving out the final 27 games of his PED suspension, has really done well this series and has seen his wRC+ climb up to 117, right in line with his career norm. In the series, he is 2-4 with a home run, 3 walks and a bean ball, getting on base in 6 of his 8 plate appearances. With 2.5 years of control left, it’ll be interesting to see if the A’s try to move him at the deadline.

Seth Brown and Tony Kemp had the night off last night against the left handed Kikuchi, so look for their left handed bats to be back in the lineup tonight.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Alex Kiriloff went 3-4 with a pair of homers, driving in 3 runs to take home the Monster Bat award. Kiriloff’s big day helped his Twins take down the White Sox 8-2, opening up their AL Central lead to 4.5 games.

Corey Seager had a couple big hits yesterday, including a 5th inning RBI single, and the big blow, a go ahead 2-run home run in the top of the 9th, helping him to the WPA King title with a .792 WPA. Unfortunately for him, the Orioles tied it in the bottom half, and walked it off in the 10th inning, beating his Rangers 10-9. That game produced the top 5 offensive WPA leaders, but it was Seager who sat at the top, despite the losing effort.

Sandy Alcantara added another gem to his case for top pitcher in baseball right now. He threw 8 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits and nothing else while striking out 10, easily taking home the Pitcher of the Day award. He also got the win, as the bullpen held on and the Marlins beat the Angels 2-1.

Find the Link

Find the link between Ramón Laureano and Frankie Montas.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant