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Game #106 Preview: Berríos vs Mahle

Blue Jays (59-46) vs Twins (55-50)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays continue their four game set in Minneapolis this evening, playing the second game against the Twins after taking the first last night. Tonight’s game is scheduled for a little bit later, with the start time set for 8:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

José Berríos will face his old time, already the second time he has made his return to Target Field after the trade a little over a year ago. He’ll return home looking to keep up the success he has seen since the beginning of July, a stretch of six games that has seen him average 6 innings and 2 runs per game. That brings his season numbers to 8-4 with a 4.96 ERA. Remarkably, through his 21 starts, the team is 16-5 this season despite that 4.96 ERA.

This will be Berríos’ second start against his former club this year, and the first one went really well. He threw 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits, walking 2 and striking out a career high 13 batters. The two runs he allowed came in the first inning off a home run by Jorge Polanco, and then Berríos went on cruise control and dominated the rest of the way.

Twins’ Starter

Tyler Mahle will make his Twins debut after being acquired for a trio of Minor Leaguers on Tuesday. The 27 year old righty made 19 starts for the Reds before the trade, and pitched to a 5-7 record with a 4.40 ERA. However, FIP is a bit more receptive of his pitching, giving him a 3.60 mark. He strikes out more than a batter an inning, walks batters at about a league average rate, and is better than average at keeping the ball in the ballpark.

Mahle throws his fastball about half the time, seeing an average of about 93.5. He complements that with a splitter that he’ll throw for about a quarter of his pitches, plus a slider he’ll throw to righties and a cutter he’ll throw to lefties. It’s his fastball that’s his best pitch though, and he’ll use to set up hitters, and he’ll use it to knock them down too, registering 79 of his 114 (69%) strikeouts with his fastball.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Now with 12 players the Jays are interested in getting regular playing time, it’ll be interesting to see how the playing time gets distributed. Tapia, Espinal and Jansen got the night off yesterday, but I would guess at least two of them are back in the lineup tonight, especially Jansen catching Berríos.

Whit Merrifield made his Blue Jays’ debut yesterday, and after the encouraging news that he expects to be able to enter Canada, he chipped into the win with a pair of singles.

Bo Bichette was bumped down another spot in the lineup yesterday, and responded with a great night at the plate. He had a pair of doubles and a single, and was right in the middle of both big innings. Chris Black had a nice thread on him last night.

Twins’ Lineup

Byron Buxton was at the DH position again yesterday, his second straight game there after missing a couple games before that. The injury is still listed as “undisclosed”, as he is feeling the effects of crashing pretty hard into the outfield wall last weekend.

In Buxton’s stead, Mark Contreras and Nick Gordon have gotten time in CF. Both are lefty bats, and will likely be in the lineup once again tonight. Interestingly it was Contreras in CF yesterday and Gordon in LF after Gordon had CF duties the previous 3 games with Contreras in RF. Jake Cave covered the other outfield corner spot too, so it wasn’t about whoever was the other outfielder.

Gio Urshela got the night off yesterday, but expect to see him back in the lineup tonight.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Shohei Ohtani went 3-5 with a pair of home runs, taking home the Monster Bat award. Unfortunately for Ohtani though, he plays for the Angels, and despite his team hitting 7 solo home runs, they still fell to the Athletics 8-7.

For the second day in a row, Bryan Reynolds is our WPA King. He led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a game tying double, then scored the winning run on a wild pitch, as his Pirates once again walked off the Brewers, this time by a score of 5-4. Reynolds’ WPA this time was .455, a bit lower than his .539 mark from the day before.

Johnny Cueto threw 8 innings yesterday, and despite allowing 3 runs and taking the loss, I’m still giving him the pitcher of the day award for going the distance in a road loss. Cueto allowed the 3 runs on 11 hits, but didn’t walk anyone or allowing a home run, but he did register 4 strikeouts. His White Sox fell to the Rangers 3-2.

Find the Link

Find the link between Nick Gordon and Orlando Hudson.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant