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Game #117 Preview: Berríos vs Montas

Blue Jays (62-54) vs Yankees (73-45)

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays head to New York to open up one of their biggest series of the year, a four game set against the Yankees in the Bronx. Tonight’s opener is scheduled to get underway at 7:05 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

José Berríos will go for the Jays, making his 24th start of the season. The wildly mixed bag of results that has defined his season has turned to a lot more bad than good recently, with just one quality start in his four outings since the All Star break. His last two starts in particular have looked about as bad as he has all season, allowing a combined 13 runs over 7.2 innings, giving up 4 home runs, walking 4 and striking out just 2. Those two starts have now run his numbers on the season to an 8-5 record with an MLB-worst 5.61 ERA and second worst 5.07 FIP.

Berríos has faced the Yankees twice this year, both times in New York. Through a combined 10.1 innings, he allowed 8 runs on 11 hits, giving up 4 walks while striking out 9. He also surrendered a combined 3 home runs, one each to Anthony Rizzo, Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres.

Yankees’ Starter

Newly acquired Frankie Montas will make his Yankee Stadium debut after a pair of road starts to open his Yankee career. Those two starts didn’t go super well, especially his outing in St. Louis, as he combined to throw just 8 innings, allowing 8 runs on 10 hits and 5 walks, striking out 6.

On the season, Montas is now 4-9 with a 3.59 ERA. His 3.53 FIP matches that pretty close, as he has done a good job this year on all three factors of FIP. His K/9 rate is 9.19, his BB/9 rate is 2.64, and his HR/9 rate is 1.04. All three of those are better than league average, although in the case of home runs allowed, it is pretty close. And now that he’s pitching in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium, he could definitely flip to the other side of league average there pretty quickly.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

It was great to finally see them explode for an inning yesterday, led by the pinch hitting success of George Springer, who just so happened to register his 1000th career hit on that big single. Springer was out of the starting lineup likely as a regular rest day with the day game after the night game. I think it’s reasonable to expect him back at the top of the lineup as the DH.

Montas has some pretty pronounced lefty/righty splits in his career, so I would expect to see both Raimel Tapia and Cavan Biggio in the lineup today.

With Springer likely at DH and Danny Jansen probably behind the plate catching Berríos, Alejandro Kirk may be in line for his second off day in 4 games. Kirk hit his first extra base hit since July 28 yesterday. That was a stretch of 59 PA without an extra base hit. Remarkably, that was just his second longest such streak of the year, as he famously went 70 PA without an extra base hit to open the season.

Yankees’ Lineup

They exploded for 8 runs yesterday thanks to a Josh Donaldson walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning, marking the first time in over a week that they’ve scored more than 3 runs. It has been an abysmal month for the division leaders, as they are just 4-11 since the calendar flipped to August. Yet, they hold on to a 10 game division lead thanks to the huge gap they put up earlier in the year, and the recent struggles of the second place Blue Jays. Where the Yankees are 4-11, the Blue Jays are just 5-9, picking up merely 1.5 games in the standings.

The Yankees’ recent woes started at about the same time that Giancarlo Stanton headed for the IL. He has been out since July 23 with Achilles tendonitis, although Aaron Boone said he may head out on a Minor League rehab assignment this weekend. Not soon enough for the Jays’ series this weekend though.

Joining Stanton on the IL is Matt Carpenter, who was having a monster season before breaking his foot a week a half ago. Since coming over as a free agent at the end of May after being released by the Rangers, Carpenter was hitting .305/.412/.727 (217 wRC+) over 154 plate appearances. He’s out for several more weeks, and could very well be out for the season.

DJ LeMahieu has missed the last 4 games with a sprained toe. He’s expecting that it’s not too bad, and will probably be playing most of the weekend.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Sean Murphy went 3-5, hitting a pair of home runs and a double while driving in 3 runs to take home the Monster Bat award. His big bat helped his Athletics beat the Rangers 7-2.

The aforementioned Donaldson walk-off grand slam is the obvious winner in the WPA King field, giving Donaldson the trophy with a .633 mark as the Yankees beat the Rays 8-7.

Three different pitchers threw 7 shutout innings, all eclipsing Ross Stripling’s brilliance, and it was Tony Gonsolin who stood out amongst the group. Gonsolin allowed just 2 hits and a walk in his 7 innings, striking out 8 to take home the Pitcher of the Day award. He also got the win, the only one of five starters with 6+ shutout innings yesterday to do so, as Gonsolin’s Dodgers beat the Brewers 2-1.

Find the Link

Find the link between Josh Donaldson and Jason Frasor.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant