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Game #157 Preview: Pivetta vs Manoah

Red Sox (75-81) vs Blue Jays (87-69)

New York Yankees v. Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Thomas Skrlj/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Blue Jays open up their final home series of the 2022 regular season, hosting the Red Sox for three games. While the Jays’ officially clinched a playoff spot yesterday, Wild Card order and therefore homefield advantage and opponent are still on the table. The most ideal situation is for the Jays to host, which they need to outright beat both Seattle and Tampa Bay in order to do thanks to tie breakers, which makes the Mariners essentially 0.5 games back and the Rays 1.0 game back.

The Jays’ series against the Red Sox kicks off tonight, with first pitch set for 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

The Jays will send their Ace Alek Manoah to the mound. This should be Manoah’s last regular season outing before opening up the Wild Card round a week from today. He has absolutely earned it, leading the Jays with his 15-7 record and 2.31 ERA. Currently sitting at 190.2 innings, he’s not going to get to the vaunted 200 inning total for the season, but there’s always next year for that one.

Manoah has faced the Red Sox three times already this season, and things have gone well for him. Through 20 innings, he has allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 16 hits and 2 walks. He has struck out 20 as well, while giving up a pair of home runs - one each to Bobby Dalbec and Alex Verdugo.

Red Sox’ Starter

The Red Sox will counter with Canadian Nick Pivetta. The 29 year old is having a decent season in Boston, putting up a career high in wins with a 10-11 record with a (currently) career low in ERA at 4.48, all over a career high 170.2 innings.

Like Manoah against the Red Sox, Pivetta has faced the Jays three times this season, but his results have certainly been quite a bit worse. Over 14.2 innings, he has allowed 9 runs on 15 hits and 11 walks, although he did strike out 15. He also allowed a pair of home runs, one each to George Springer and Raimel Tapia.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Whit Merrifield has taken over the full time reins at second base since Santiago Espinal went down with his oblique injury. Since September 21, Merrifield is hitting .346/.393/.769 (227 wRC+), finally showing the Jays that trading for him wasn’t a horrible idea.

After lighting the world on fire for the first 15 days of the month, Bo Bichette has cooled down quite a bit over the second half of the month, at least in terms on extra base hits and RBI. After collecting 17 xbh and 22 RBI in his first 68 PA this month, he has 2 xbh and 4 RBI in the 55 PA since then. He still has a hit in nearly every game and a .294 batting average in that span, but certainly not carrying the team like he did to start the month.

With Alek Manoah on the mound, Alejandro Kirk will be behind the plate, and the Jays will find a different DH for today’s game. Cavan Biggio has 5 hits in 14 at bats, including a pair of home runs in his career against Pivetta. He’s probably the best option for this matchup.

Red Sox’ Lineup

The Red Sox are currently without Trevor Story, Eric Hosmer and Franchy Cordero, with all three currently on the IL. Story has played just 94 games in his first season in Boston, and is unlikely to make it back to the active roster either. Hosmer came over at the trade deadline, but played in just 12 games, and is also probably done for the year. Cordero had another rough year with the Red Sox, and is probably non-tendered this winter.

On the positive side of things for the Sox, their top prospect Triston Casas has made the Majors, and after a very slow start, he has really turned it on over the last 8 games. In his last 34 PA, he is hitting .435/.618/.870 launching 3 home runs and a double in that span. He also has 11 walks to just 5 strikeouts in those 8 games. The 22 year old is quickly establishing himself as one of the best left handed bats in the division, and someone who is likely to be a pain to the Jays’ staff for a while.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Mitch Haniger and Jarred Kelenic are the co-winners of the Monster Bat award. They both went 2-5 with a pair of home runs, combining to drive in 7 runs as their Mariners beat the Rangers 10-9 in extra innings.

Avisaíl García hit a grand slam in the top of the 8th inning, giving his Marlins the 4-2 lead, which ended up being the final score in their win over the Brewers. For driving in all of his team’s runs, García gets the WPA King trophy with a .556 mark.

Shohei Ohtani carried a no-hitter into the 8th inning, ultimately giving up a pair of hits with 2 outs, but not allowing them to score. His final line on the night was 8 shutout innings with 2 hits and a walk allowed, striking out 10 batters and picking up the win and Pitcher of the Day award. He also collected 2 hits with his bat, and the Angels beat the Athletics 4-2.

Find the Link

Find the link between Triston Casas and Rays’ manager Kevin Cash.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant