Series Preview - Blue Jays @ Red Sox
Tuesday April 19th 7:10 PM – Nathan Eovaldi (1-0 4.50 ERA) vs Yusei Kikuchi (0-1 5.40 ERA)
Wednesday, April 20th 7:10 PM – Nick Pivetta (0-2 9.39 ERA) vs Jose Berrios (0-0 11.81 ERA)
Wednesday, April 21st 1:35 PM – Tanner Houck (1-0 3.00 ERA) vs Kevin Gausman (0-1 4.22 ERA)
I'm juiced up for this matchup. The Blue Jays are the favorite to win the AL East, Vladdy looks like Barry Bonds right now, and our top 3 of the rotation is going. The Jays took 3 of 4 in the Bronx, then travelled home and won 2/3 against the most incompetent franchise in MLB, the A's. Outside of Guerrero, their offense is being bolstered by the bats of newcomers George Springer (.268 avg) and Matt Chapman (2 HRs).
Tuesday, Red Sox ace Nathan Eovaldi takes on Yusei Kikuchi. I don't know too much about Kikuchi, but our lineup seems to do very well against him. Bogaerts, JD, Verdugo, and Dalbec seem to mash against him, going a combined 8/16 with 4 HRs off of him. Looking at it from the other side, Eovaldi has done well against Toronto's top 2 hitters, Vladdy Jr. and George Springer, only allowing a combined 5 hits on 27 at-bats between the two of them. Meanwhile the young guns Flow Bichette and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. have had his number, both batting at or above .400 in their at-bats against Eovaldi. I don't have a great feel for this one, but Nate has been one of the best pitchers in the game this season, so as long as he doesn't leave any dick-high splitters like he has been doing, I like the Sox in this one. Also I am going to be in attendance and will absolutely be betting on the Sox, so I might as well put my mouth where my money is.
Wednesday's big question is whether or not we see Nick Pivetta re-enter into the Cy Young conversation that literally only I was having with a brick wall. My guess? He gets shelled again. The 5 guys in the Blue Jays' lineup that have seen him the most are Vladdy, Bichette, Gurriel, Cavan Biggio, and George Springer. They are batting a combined .381 in 55 at-bats against Pivetta. The only thing that gives me a little bit of hope is they don't hit him all that hard. Bichette is mostly ground-balls, Gurriel is a lot of softly hit fly balls, so maybe Pivetta gets lucky and they are hitting balls to the right spots. But even if that happens, don't expect a lot of run support. JD, Xander, and Raffy have a combined 49 at-bats against Pivetta's opponent Jose Berrios, and they have more Ks (12) than hits (10). My pick is Toronto, so I have the series being split heading into the last game.
I'm not gonna lie, I am not entirely sure how it is possible that Xander has seen Kevin Gausman literally twice as much as anyone in our lineup, but I am going to go ahead and call 40 ABs a good sample size. We are looking at 12 hits, 2 of those being doubles and 1 being a home run, 5 Ks and 2 walks. Advantage Xander. JD has also liked facing Gausman, with a home run and 4 singles on 13 at-bats. The rest of the team? They suck against him. From the rest of our opening day roster, we are batting OH-SEVENTY-NINE in 63 at-bats. That is a zero, a seven, and a nine. .079. I will be doing my own research on the subject, but my hypothesis is you want to have more than 5 hits in 63 at-bats. On the other side, Tanner Houck basically has 1 appearance against this lineup, letting up 4 hits on 20 plate appearances. Give me that again, and we win this game. My prediction, again I am not seeing it super well, but I think the Sox take this one and head into the weekend tied for first place in the East.