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Game #148 Preview: Stripling vs Gibson

Blue Jays (83-64) vs Phillies (80-66)

Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

The Blue Jays hit the road, rolling into Philadelphia to take on the Phillies for a quick two game series. Game times in Philly are a bit earlier, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:45 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Ross Stripling goes for the Jays, making his 22nd start and 30th appearance of the season. At 119.1 innings on the season, he is poised to eclipse his career high of 122, which he set back in 2018 with the Dodgers. And it has been a very good 119.1 innings for him, as he comes into play with an 8-4 record and a 2.94 ERA. His FIP is nearly as good, coming in at 3.15, which is 24th out of the 119 pitchers with at least 100 innings.

Remarkably, this will be Stripling’s second start of the season against the Phillies, as he was one of the starters in the two game set at Rogers Centre in mid-July. In that one, he had one of his best starts of the season, going a season-high 7 innings. He allowed two unearned runs on a Bryson Stott 2-out 2-run home run that followed a Bo Bichette error in the 7th inning. Outside of that, he gave up just 1 hit and nothing else while striking out 6.

Phillies’ Starter

Veteran righty Kyle Gibson will go for the Phillies, making his 29th start of the season. Through 151.2 innings this year, Gibson is 10-6 with a 4.45 ERA. His FIP is a bit better, coming in 4.20, both numbers coming in exceptionally close to his career average (his ERA is right on the button on that one). He doesn’t strike out many (7.42 K/9), but he is doing a decent job limiting walks this year (2.55 BB/9) and is keeping his home run rate at roughly league average (1.19 HR/9).

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Today marks one week since Alejandro Kirk last played, as he deals with a sore hip. The Jays are undoubtedly anxious to get their all star catcher back, but getting back as healthy as possible in time for the playoffs is the bigger goal. In his stead, Danny Jansen has caught 4 of the 5 games, including all 3 against the Orioles, and has gone 5-12 with 3 doubles, a home run and 3 walks since Kirk went down.

George Springer keeps finding ways to get little nagging injuries, but through all of them, he is still raking. Over the weekend series against the Orioles, he had an extra base hit in each one, and drove in 6 total runs. He still gets the frequent start at DH to keep him fresh, but it’s great to have him in the lineup and producing.

After a hot stretch earlier this month, the last week has not been kind to Cavan Biggio. He had just 1 hit in 19 PA over the week, and hasn’t driven in a run since September 5. Regardless, he is far and away the best option to start at 2B against righties, and should still get most starts there. He won’t, but he should.

Phillies’ Lineup

The Phillies are nearly living up to their offensive hype from the pre-season, coming into today just behind the Blue Jays in runs per game at 4.65, good enough for 7th in all of baseball. As a team they’re hitting .254/.317/.425 (106 wRC+), and are 6th in home runs at 187. I’m sure when they loaded up on the big free agent bats of Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos, they were hoping to really lean into the big offensive numbers, but they didn’t quite get there.

For Schwarber, the power is definitely there, as he leads everyone not named Judge in home runs at 39. But he is hitting just .213/.312/.482 (119 wRC+). Nick Castellanos is an even bigger disappointment for the Phillies, coming over a slightly bigger contract (5/$100m to Schwarber’s 4/$79m) and having a much worse season. Castellanos has been on the IL for a couple weeks now, but is hitting just .265/.305/.397 (96 wRC+) over 531 PA with just 13 home runs. And they’ve both played a lot more defense than they should have, coming in as two of the worst outfielders in the game this year (2nd and 3rd in DRS, 1st and 3rd in UZR and OAA).

On the good side of things, Bryce Harper is still the center of their offense, and is having a good year despite missing a couple months to a broken thumb on a hbp, and also despite going the whole season with ligament issues in his elbow that has forced him to DH all year. He hasn’t played in the outfield since mid-April, but he is hitting .296.375.548 (152 wRC+) through 84 games.

JT Realmuto still holds on to the title of Best Catcher in Baseball. He is a defensive whiz who is hitting .269/.342/.470 (125 wRC+), and his 5.7 fWAR is pretty much 1 more than second place, and totals what Kirk + Jansen comes to.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Carlos Santana hit a pair of home runs and drove in 5 runs to take home the Monster Bat award. The Mariners rode his bat to the 9-1 win over the Angels, bringing them to a game and a half back of the Jays in the Wild Card standings.

Thairo Estrada went 3-6 with a home run and 3 RBI, with that 3-run home run coming in the top of the 10th to give his Giants the 10-7 lead. They’d hold on to that lead and beat the Rockies, and Estrada gets the WPA King trophy thanks to his .571 WPA.

Max Scherzer returned from an oblique injury yesterday and completely dominated. He faced 18 batters over 6 innings, retiring every one that he faced, striking out half of them. He gets the Pitcher of the Day honours on the night he also registered his 200th career win. And while the Mets’ bullpen gave up the perfect game on the second pitch of the 7th, they held on to win 7-2 over the Brewers. That win punched their Postseason ticket too, as they are guaranteed at least a Wild Card spot now, but are sitting just 1 game up in the division over the Braves.

Find the Link

Find the link between JT Realmuto, Mike Lieberthal and Bob Boone.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant