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Game #104 Preview: Kikuchi vs Beeks/Yarbrough

Blue Jays (58-45) vs Rays (54-49)

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Blue Jays wrap up their short stop in Tampa, playing their second game in 17 hours, getting in and out of the Little Trop of Horrors as quickly as possible. They wrap up their series with the Rays this afternoon/morning, with a ridiculously early 12:10 ET start.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Yusei Kikuchi will make his second start since coming back from the IL, and will look to build off the success of his last one. Last Thursday against the Tigers, Kikuchi threw 5 innings, allowing just 1 run on 2 hits and a walk, striking out 5. It was a great return from the IL, and brought his season numbers to a 4-5 record and a 4.89 ERA. That’s obviously not a great ERA, and his FIP of 5.70 is even worse (thanks to horrible walk and home run rates), but he did show that when he’s on, he still has the ability to dominate a game for a bit.

This will be Kikuchi’s second look at the Rays after facing them a little over a month ago, in what turned out to be one of the best starts of the year. In that one, he went 6 innings, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits and a walk, striking out 8 batters. He gave up a home run in that one for the only run, an Isaac Parades blast in the 4th inning.

Rays’ Starter

The Rays will be going with an opener in this one, as Jalen Beeks will be tasked with facing roughly the first 6 or 7 batters before making way Ryan Yarbrough. This will be Beeks’ 6th opening assignment, and first one in nearly a month. He has generally been pitching in games of more than 1 inning though, with all but 5 of his 25 games this year going at least 4 outs (but never more than 7). As a result, through his 42 innings, he comes into play with a 1-1 record and a 2.36 ERA. Against the Jays this year, he has pitched 1 innings, getting Chapman, Vladdy and Teo to ground out.

Following Beeks will be Yarbrough, making just his 12th appearance of the year at the big league level after spending some time on the IL with a groin injury, but he was also optioned out due to poor performance too. His up and down season has brought him to a 0-6 record with a 5.11 ERA, as the soft tossing lefties’ inability to miss bats has finally caught up to him. Against the Jays this year in two appearances it hasn’t been much different, as he has thrown a combined 9 innings, allowing 5 runs on 10 hits and 4 walks while striking out just 2. Teoscar Hernández and Santiago Espinal touched him up for home runs.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Rays’ Lineup

Yesterday’s Heroes

Jorge Mateo went 2-4 with a pair of home runs, driving in 4 to take home the Monster Bat award. His big day at the plate helped carry his Orioles to the 8-2 win over the Rangers, pushing them to a season best two games over .500.

Trent Grisham and the Padres played two games yesterday against the Rockies, winning the first one 13-5 and taking the night cap 3-2. In the first game, Grisham contributed a home run, 3 RBI and 3 runs, all adding up to .251 WPA. In the second game, after playing to a 2-2 tie from the first inning, Grisham finished it off with a walk off solo home run in the bottom of the 9th, giving him .382 WPA for the night cap. In total that comes out to .633 WPA on the day, and the WPA King trophy in his case.

Kevin Gausman was fully dominant last night, throwing 8 shutout innings, allowing just a single, a walk and a bean ball while striking out 10 to take the Pitcher of the Day award. The walk and bean ball came in a 27 pitch first inning, after which he retired 14 in a row before giving up his first hit in the 6th. He then set down the final 8 batters he faced, and took home the win in the Jays’ 3-1 win over the Rays.

Find the Link

Find the link for Ryan Yarbrough with Joey Wendle and Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andújar, Harrison Bader and Ryan Flaherty.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant