Series Preview - Red Sox @ Blue Jays
We head north of the border this week for a rematch with the AL East favorite Blue Jays. Please for the love of god at least get out of there with a split.
Monday, April 25th 7:07 PM – Nathan Eovaldi (1-0 3.68 ERA) vs Jose Berrios (1-0 6.35 ERA)
Tuesday, April 26th 7:07 PM – Nick Pivetta (0-3 10.03 ERA) vs Kevin Gausman (1-1 2.89 ERA)
Wednesday, April 27th 7:07 PM – Michael Wacha (1-0 1.88 ERA) vs Ross Stripling (0-0 4.50 ERA)
Thursday, April 28th 3:07 PM – Garrett Whitlock* (1-0 0.66 ERA) vs Alek Manoah (3-0 2.00 ERA)
*Not listed but expected
This is the last series against a non-Orioles AL East opponent until the last week in June, so I would really like to come out of this one with at least a series split and try to steal 3 out of 4. Last time we faced the Blue Jays, though, it was a lot like the Rays series, with inconsistent hitting in each game and a late fielding error (that fucking infield pop-up that fell) that ended up biting us in the ass. We saw Berrios and Gausman last week, both of them allowing 1 ER and giving them 6 and 8 innings of work respectively, and will see Stripling and Manoah for the first time this year. Let's dive into each game.
First up we get to see Eovaldi take on the Blue Jays lineup yet again. Just 6 days ago, in Eovaldi's last start, he was only able to go 4.2 and let up 1 earned. We are going to need him to go deeper in this one, seeing as Whitlock will likely not be available out of the pen all series. The only thing that still worries me about Eovaldi is the long ball. He has allowed 5 home runs in 3 starts, including one to Zack Collins last series. While opponents have hit the ball hard against him, they are not resulting in hits, with a BABIP of only .297. If Eovaldi can leave his breaking balls lower in the zone, we can expect a quality start from him today. If not, this lineup will punish him.
The Red Sox will be seeing Jose Berrios again. Last time, Berrios gave the Jays 6 IP and 1 ER, but that does not tell the story of his start. If you remember that game, the Sox were hitting the shit out of the ball. I mean, look at this first inning:
If you don't spend a lot of time on statcast (understandable, you're probably out talking to girls or some shit like that) those numbers in red are the exit velocities. Those poor baseballs. We were able to pick up 7 hits against him, but as has been the theme all season, the hits did not turn into runs. In the rematch? Fuck if I know, but the Rays series did not give me much confidence. It's looking like we will have JD back, so hopefully that can help to lift us. As I said last time, though, I will ride with Eovaldi until he gives me a real reason not to.
Nick Pivetta, on the other hand, has given me 3 reasons not to ride with him. Those being his first outing, his second outing, and his third outing. He kinda just sucks so far. He was opposite Berrios last week, but they did not have similar results. Pivetta was taken out after the fourth inning, letting up 5 runs, including a 400 foot bomb to fucking Raimel Tapia who has 20 total home runs in his 7th year of playing in the Majors. I think he gets his shit rocked again. Bichette, Biggio, and Springer have combined for 38 ABs and have a .474 average against him, including 4 home runs and 5 doubles. Vladdy also has a home run and a double against him in his 15 ABs.
We get the pleasure of seeing Kevin Gausman after he diced up our lineup last week, giving the Jays 8 innings of 1 run ball. In that appearance, he picked up 8 Ks and allowed 7 hits. Xander actually saw the ball really well, going 3 for 4 with all four of balls that he put in play coming off of hard hit contact. In fact, the only player in our lineup that did not have a hard hit ball was Devers. We kept bailing out Gausman, getting traffic on the bases and then grounding into a double play or striking out. I don't think he goes 8 innings again, but I do think he gives the Jays another solid outing, which is likely all they'll need to beat Pivetta.
The latter half of the series is guys we haven't seen this season against guys they haven't seen this season (aside from an inning of Whitlock). Wacha has a pretty decent sample against Toronto, with 33 PAs against him. In those, the Jays have 8 singles, 2 doubles, 1 home run, and 8 Ks. Bo Bichette has the lone home run, and is 4 for 5 against Wacha. Vladdy is 2 for 4 with both of his hits being doubles, and Springer is 2 for 6. Outside of those guys, no one has more than a hit against him. I doubted him last start, I won't make that mistake again. I think Wacha continues to be the Wacha he has been all season. Stripling has a considerable sample size against the Sox lineup, seeing them for 95 PAs. The Sox do a good job of sharing the load against him, with JD, Verdugo, Story, Bogaerts, Hernandez, and Bobby all having one home run against him. Aside from Refsnyder, Arroyo, and Bradley, everyone in our lineup has multiple hits and between 6 and 10 ABs. I have a good feeling about this one. I think this game our offense puts it together and starts turning hits into runs.
In the finale, we see Alek Manoah, who I have been calling Alex my entire life. We have faced him less than Stripling, only 30 ABs, and have not had nearly as much success. Verdugo has 3 hits on 5 ABs, then Devers and Kiké both have 1 hit. That is it. Martinez, Bogaerts, Vazquez, Dalbec, and Arroyo combine for 0 hits on 16 ABs. In 2022, this asshole is 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA over 18 innings of work. These are all things I would file under "Good at pitch". Thank God he is seeing Garret Whitlock, the greatest pitcher of all time. I sent this tweet this weekend - Garrett Whitlock is literally the most important person in my life right now. I crave consistency, and Whitlock is as steady of a person as they come. And as silly as the Sox have looked against Manoah, Whitlock has made the Jays look worse. Bichette has hit. The rest of the team has done literally nothing. Not even a walk. Take out the hit, that is 18 Plate Appearances. 10 strikeouts. A 48.8 whiff percentage. I say this again with an apology to my Mother and Father who are reading this - Garrett Whitlock is the most important person in my life right now. I look forward to receiving a call from you, and if I don't I will know that you stopped reading these, which I totally understand. For everyone else, I will buy you a drink at L St. Tavern after the game for each of Garrett Whitlock's strikeouts and we can talk about how strong and handsome our city's favorite Rule 5 pickup is.
Take the Sox in Game 1
Take the Over in Game 2
Take the Sox in Game 3
Take the Under in Game 4