After a pair of bad losses, the Blue Jays will look to win one in the Trop tonight and get back ahead of the Rays in the standings. We’re not quite in must-win territory yet, but the Jays really need to win today. Tune in this evening, with first pitch set for 6:10 ET.
Blue Jays’ Starter
Alek Manoah heads to the mound for the Jays, looking to put an end to their three game skid. Manoah is absolutely the guy to do it too, as he comes in to play today with a 14-7 record and a 2.40 ERA. Today will be his 30th start of the season, and a start last 6.1 innings will get him to 190 on the season. No other AL pitcher has reached that mark yet this season.
This will be Manoah’s third start of the season against the Rays, with one game in Toronto and one game in Tampa. The start in Tampa in mid-May didn’t go well, as he allowed 3 runs (1 earned) over 6.0 innings, giving up 5 hits and taking the loss. His start in Toronto earlier this month resulted in a Jays’ win, as Manoah went 6.2 innings, surrendering 2 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks. Both runs came on solo shots from Ji-Man Choi and Jonathan Aranda.
Right hander Drew Rasmussen will get the ball for the Rays, making his 27th start of the season. It has been a breakout year for the 27 year old, coming into play today with a 10-6 record with a 2.92 ERA, spending the whole season in the rotation for the first time in his big league career. He is finding success with a low walk rate and home run rate, allowing his defense to keep him in the games.
The Jays are quite familiar with Rasmussen, as this will his fifth start of the season against the Jays. The first three were good, as he combined to throw 16.1 innings, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 14 hits and 5 walks. The familiarity helped the Jays his last time out though, as the Jays bats knocked him out after 4 innings, with Rasmussen surrendering 4 runs on 6 hits and walk. He also allowed his first home run to a Blue Jay in that one, a solo shot by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the bottom of the first.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
Vladdy and Bo were swapped for yesterday’s game, with Bo hitting second and Vladdy back down to third. Both were finding success the way they were, but they’ve gone back to how the season started before a mid-July swap. I imagine this is the way it’ll be throughout the rest of the season and post-season.
With Santiago Espinal now on the IL, there will be more work for Cavan Biggio and Whit Merrifield. Hopefully Biggio gets all of the starts at 2B against righties, although I’ve been saying that for months and it hasn’t really happened. Despite some success with the bat at the Trop, Merrifield is still hitting just .214/.275/.345 (78 wRC+) as a Blue Jay, which is right in line with what he did in the first half of the season with the Royals. Merrifield should not be starting games on this team, let alone four of the last five. And he’s not stealing bases either, with just 1 success in only 2 attempts in a month and a half on the team. Otto Lopez is the better choice for playing time and should be in a platoon at second base with Biggio.
The Rays are going retro today, bringing back the Devil Rays logo and jersey. It’s the perfect opportunity for them to melt away and suck again, as the turning point in their franchise history coincided with removing “Devil” from their name. Returning the curse right now seems apt.
Yandy Díaz has now missed four games with a sore shoulder. The Rays will definitely want him fully healthy for the playoffs, but given that he hasn’t been transferred to the IL yet, they’re likely hopeful he’s back soon.
David Peralta was out of the lineup yesterday, but the lefty will likely be back in the lineup against Manoah today. It’ll be interesting to see how many lefties they go with against Manoah, as last time they had 5 lefties/switchies in the lineup against him.
Albert Pujols went 2-5 with a pair of home runs and 5 RBI, including the 700th home run of his amazing career, allowing him to walk home with Monster Bat award. Pujols’ historic night helped drive the Cardinals to an 11-0 win over Dodgers.
Daniel Bard pitched a pair of scoreless innings in the 9th and 10th innings, setting up his Rockies’ teammates to walk things off in the bottom of the 10th inning and get Bard the win. Two big shutout innings when a game goes to extras is a great way to pile up the WPA, and Bard is the WPA King with a .494 mark.
Dean Kremer had one of the most impressive starts of the season yesterday, pitching a complete game shutout against the Astros. The young righty’s big night included just 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6, easily earning him the Pitcher of the Day award. The Orioles beat the Astros 6-0 to keep their playoff hopes alive, as a Mariners’ loss has brought the O’s to just 3 back of a Wild Card spot.
Find the Link
Find the link between David Peralta and Andrew Stevenson.