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Game #149 Preview: Gausman vs Wheeler

Blue Jays (84-64) vs Phillies (80-67)

Toronto Blue Jays v. Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

After a crazy win last night, the Blue Jays will look to sweep the short two game series over the Phillies, and also sweep the four game season series. Gametime tonight is once again a little bit earlier than normal, with first pitch scheduled for 6:45 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Kevin Gausman heads to the mound for the Jays, looking to shake off his last couple outings. He has allowed 5 earned runs in back to back games, although he is at least managing to still give the team some innings, combining for 12.1 over the two starts. Maybe the most concerning part of the last two starts was that he allowed 2 home runs in each one, and 7 of the 14 he has allowed this season have come in his last four starts.

Gausman’s overall season numbers are still great at least. Through 28 starts and 159.1 innings, he is 12-10 with a 3.45 ERA. His FIP comes in a full run lower at 2.41, although that has certainly climbed over the last month. He no longer leads the Majors in FIP, nor does he lead it in fWAR. But he does still lead the American League in both of those stats, although Shohei Ohtani is closing in quickly.

Phillies’ Starter

The Phillies are expected to activate Ace Zack Wheeler off the IL for tonight’s game, coming back after missing a month with a forearm strain. He didn’t go through any rehab games, so there isn’t likely much expectation of going too long in this game. A short outing for Wheeler is probably good news for the Jays, as he is 11-7 with a 3.07 ERA on the season, and an even better 2.97 FIP.

It could also be good news for the Jays that Wheeler is coming back. Wheeler was one of the starters in the series in Toronto, and the Jays’ bats touched him up for one of his worst outings of the year. He gave up 6 runs on 7 hits and a walk over 4.1 innings, striking out 4. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Teoscar Hernández touched him up for home runs.

Following Wheeler is expected to be Noah Syndergaard, who will likely be relied on for as many innings as possible tonight. Syndergaard came over to the Phillies at the trade deadline, and has had his difficulties. After striking out a career low 7.20 per 9 innings in Los Angeles to open the year, that rate has plummeted even further now in Philly, down to 4.98 per 9 innings. For a guy who was averaging about 10 per 9 innings before his surgery, this is definitely concerning.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Teoscar Hernández admitted yesterday that he has been playing through injuries all year, but he is still going to be grinding through them for the rest of the season. He is hitting .261/.312/.467 (121 wRC+) after last night’s 4 hit performance, so he is doing well, but is a bit short of where he has been the last couple years. Hopefully the injuries for him don’t get worse, and it’s something that he can get fixed in the offseason.

Alejandro Kirk returned to the lineup yesterday after missing a week, and he came back strong. Kirk collected 3 hits from the DH spot, and is likely in play to get the start behind the plate tonight, although they may just let him DH again and roll with the hot bat of Danny Jansen behind the plate again. Jansen collected 3 more hits last night, including a pair of doubles, and the team OPS leader is now 8 for his last 18 with 5 doubles and a homer.

Phillies’ Lineup

JT Realmuto had the best offensive night out of anyone in yesterday’s game, going 5-5 with a home run and a double. He pushed his wRC+ on the season up to 131, and his fWAR is now 6.1.

Kyle Schwarber launched his 40th home run of the season last night. He is now 5 up on Paul Goldschmidt, likely the biggest obstacle for Goldy in getting his Triple Crown.

Nick Maton didn’t get the start yesterday like he usually does against righties, so look for him to be in the lineup tonight.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Realmuto, with his 5 hits, home run and double, gets the Monster Bat award, despite his team’s 18-11 loss.

A New York player hit a big grand slam yesterday, on his way to the WPA King title. With 2 out in the top of the 7th, Francisco Lindor launched a pitch into the night, turning a 4-3 deficit into a 7-4 lead. The bullpen would hold on for the 7-5 Mets’ win over the Brewers. Lindor’s .588 WPA edges out the other New York player to hit a grand slam, as Giancarlo Stanton’s walk off slam only got him to .567 WPA.

Pablo López was dynamite through 6 innings, keeping the Cubs off the board while allowing just a pair of hits and striking out 6. He came back out for the 7th inning and gave up a run on a home run, then a couple singles and was pulled. But he still gets the Pitcher of the Day award, and his final line of 6.2 innings with 1 run on 5 hits is quite solid. Unfortunately for him, he left in a 1-1 tie, and his Marlins ultimately fell to the Cubs 2-1.

Find the Link

Find the link between Nick Maton and Robbie Ray.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant