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Game #128 Preview: Stroman vs Gausman

Cubs (55-74) vs Blue Jays (69-58)

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

After an exciting win last night, the Blue Jays will look to build some momentum back up as they play the second of their three game set against the visiting Cubs. Gametime is once again set for the standard 7:07 ET start.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Kevin Gausman gets the ball for the Jays, making his 25th start of the year. It has been a great first season in Toronto for the righty, as he is now 9-9 with a 3.15 ERA, and an exceptional 2.01 FIP. That FIP is easily the best in baseball, and as a result, he is still the fWAR leader for pitchers, coming in at 5.1.

Cubs’ Starter

Marcus Stroman makes his return to the Rogers Centre mound, facing off against his former team for the first time in his life. After being traded to the Mets by the Blue Jays, Stroman hit Free Agency this past winter and signed a 3 year, $71m deal with the Cubs to be a good starting pitcher on a bad team.

Shoulder inflammation took a month away from him at the start of June, but Stroman has otherwise had an up and down season with the Cubs. He comes into play today with a 3-6 record and a 4.10 ERA, but a better looking 3.84 FIP, much closer to his career average of 3.64. Stroman’s strikeout rate (7.82 per 9 innings) and walk rate (2.51 per 9 innings) both fall pretty much right in line with his career marks, but it is his career worst 1.12 HR/9 rate that is having the biggest effect on his season. Of the 12 home runs he has allowed this season, 4 have been 3-run shots.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

It’s a frustrating group to say the least, as they do so much together - when they’re mashing, they fly through the lineup in an inning without the opponent being able to breathe. But they also hit skids hard as a group, which is what the Angels’ series got us, and the results last night through 6 innings last night got us as well.

Danny Jansen was the hero last night, with the huge 3-run home run in the 8th and the walkoff single in the 11th. Jano is now 6 for his 12 with 2 home runs and a double, picking up 2 walks and not striking out. But with Gausman on the mound, he is going to be on the bench today.

Alejandro Kirk will get the start behind the plate, and he has not looked the greatest since the All Star break. If he had played in the Home Run Derby, there would be cries all over the sport about the post-Derby slump, as he has just 5 extra base hits (4 doubles and 1 home run) in 127 second half plate appearances.

Cubs’ Lineup

Japanese import Seiya Suzuki is having an underwhelming first year in the Majors, undoubtedly owing to an injured finger that cost him over a month. In the 89 games he has played otherwise, he is hitting .255/.331/.418 (109 wRC+) showing off a bit of the power/speed combo (10 HR, 8 SB) that had so many fans excited to see him come to the US. The talent is obviously there, and he was hitting a bit better before the finger injury, so I’m sure the Cubs are expecting a renewed start next year will still allow them to see the Suzuki that they were hoping to get.

Potentially unlikely to be back for the Cubs next year is longtime catcher Willson Contreras, who many expected to be on the move at the deadline. An impending Free Agent, the 30 year old is having one of his best seasons with the bat, hitting .244/.350/.463 (129 wRC+).

Shortstop Nico Hoerner has taken his opportunity as a full time shortstop this year and run with it. With expectations from the organization that he was more of a utility player, Hoerner has turned in a great season with the glove at SS, with 13 defensive runs saved and 12 outs above average, both numbers among the best in all of baseball at the position. And he’s hitting well too, coming into play today with a .291/.339/.410 (110 wRC+) line.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Tyler O’Neill went 2-4 with a pair of home runs, driving in 3 to pick up the Monster Bat award. His big night was just part of the fun for the Cardinals, as they beat the Reds 13-4.

It was a tough night for starting pitchers, so I’m giving half a Pitcher of the Day award to both José Suarez and Pablo López. Both starters went 6 innings, allowing 2 runs while walking 3 and striking out 6. Suarez got the win, as his Angels beat the Yankees 4-3, while López got the no-decision as his Marlins fell to the Dodgers 3-2 in 10 innings.

Yimi Garcia is the WPA King from last night, thanks to his 2 scoreless innings in extras last night. He got credited with the win as well, keeping the Cubs off the board in the 10th and 11th innings before the Jays finally walked things off in the bottom of the 11th. Garcia’s WPA for the day was .611.

Find the Link

Find the link between Nico Hoerner and Willson Contreras.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant