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Game #150 Preview: Berríos vs Chargois/Yarbrough

Blue Jays (84-65) vs Rays (82-67)

Toronto Blue Jays v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Another day, another big series for the Jays, as they open up a four game series at the Trop, taking on the pursuing Rays. With the Rays holding the season series edge with 8 wins to the Jays’ 7, the Jays taking three of four in this series would be a massive victory towards securing a top Wild Card seed and home games in Toronto. Anything less than a split this weekend would make it a lot more likely the Jays are playing the Wild Card series on the road, with no guaranteed home playoff games.

The big series gets underway this evening with an earlier-than-normal start time, with first pitch scheduled for 6:40 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

José Berríos will go for the Jays, looking to continue his recent hot run of starts. His last six outings have been quite strong, putting up a 2.95 ERA and a 3.19 FIP over that stretch. That has gotten his season ERA down below 5.00, coming into today at 4.99. His 4.63 FIP on the season is a bit better, but he has really been hurt on the season by home runs and an uncharacteristically low strikeout rate. He is still getting hitters to chase his pitches, but he’s just not getting them to miss when they do swing, and that’s really leading to a lot of his problems.

This will be Berríos’ third start against the Rays this year, but first in the Little Trop of Horrors. Through the 11.1 combined innings, Berríos has allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 14 hits and 3 walks, striking out just 7 batters. He has managed to keep Rays’ hitters in the ballpark, which is a rarity for him against most teams this year. Of his 29 starts, he has allowed at lease 1 home run in 20 of them. Of the 9 starts without a home run, 2 have come against the Rays.

Rays’ Starter

The Rays will be going with opener JT Chargois before switching to bulk guy Ryan Yarbrough. Chargois is a big righty who throws in the mid-upper 90s, but isn’t getting the strikeouts this year like he used to. Much like Berríos, he also gives up a lot of home runs, but has done a good job limiting walks. His 2.76 ERA on the season is much better than his 4.95 FIP.

After Chargois, the Jays will see the familiar arm of Ryan Yarbrough. The soft tossing lefty is averaging just 86.9 mph on his fastball this year, the lowest in baseball for anyone who has started a game. It hasn’t really hurt him as much as expected though, as he comes into play today with the same 4.45 FIP he posted last year, and his ERA has been steadily going down all summer, coming into today’s game at 4.33.

This will be Yarbrough’s fourth outing against the Jays this year, and he has a couple good outings, and one rough one. The rough one came in Toronto, while the two good ones were in the Trop. In those two, he threw a combined 7.2 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and 4 walks, striking out 3. Teoscar Hernández touched him up for a home run on August 3. The outing in Toronto was a fair bit worse, as he allowed 4 runs on 8 hits over 5.1 innings, giving up a walk and not striking anyone out. Teoscar once again touched him up for a home run in that one, as did Santiago Espinal.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Espinal was removed from yesterday’s game with “left side discomfort”. Hopefully it’s not serious, but he’s likely not playing today. If he’s out, I’d guess Whit Merrifield gets the start at 2B with the lefty Yarbrough likely to face the bottom of the order 2-3 times.

Teoscar Hernández will likely be happy to see Yarbrough. Yarbrough has allowed 6 home runs to Teo, while nobody else has more than 3 off him. Going the other way, Teo’s 6 off Yarbrough are his most, and Anibal Sanchez is second with 4.

Alejandro Kirk returned behind the plate yesterday, but with Manoah going tomorrow, Danny Jansen is likely the one catching today. Kirk will probably DH, unless they want to give Springer a half day off.

Rays’ Lineup

Brandon Lowe, who was back off the IL earlier this month, has found himself back on the IL. After posting a 5.0 fWAR season last year, Lowe has struggled with injuries and inconsistencies this year, playing in just 65 games and producing just 0.9 fWAR.

Yandy Díaz has missed the last couple games due to shoulder soreness in his left arm after an altercation with Randy Arozarena the other day. He’s day to day, and probably gets into this series to cause damage to Jays’ pitching. He is hitting .390/.479/.561 in 48 plate appearances against the Jays this year.

Wander Franco comes into today with an 8 game hitting streak. Much like Vladdy’s current 14 gamer, it consists mostly of 1 hit games.

Catcher Christian Bethancourt also finds himself in the midst of an 8 game hitting streak, and has earned himself some DH days recently as well.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Gleyber Torres went 3-4 with a pair of home runs, both coming in the 8th inning, driving in 5 runs to take home the Monster Bat award. He was a big part of the Yankees’ embarrassing 14-2 win over the Pirates.

Blake Snell through 7 shutout innings in what was mostly a 1-0 game, earning himself the WPA King trophy. His WPA on the day was .447, and he walked home with the win as the Padres beat the Cardinals 1-0.

Jordan Lyles went the distance in his start, holding the Tigers to 1 run on 3 hits to earn himself the Pitcher of the Day award. He didn’t walk anyone, but did surrender a solo home run, but his Orioles won 8-1 regardless.

Find the Link

Find the link between Christian Bethancourt, Iván Herrera and Julio Mosquera. (it involves the obvious one, but it’s a little deeper than that).

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant