Series Preview - Red Sox @ Blue Jays
7-game win streak. 19-4 in June. Second in the East. +1.5 in the Wild Card. It was exactly what we needed coming into this stretch of schedule. Everyone who opened that little wallet schedule that they got in the mail had this 30-game stretch circled, and it all starts tonight. Keep the train rolling.
Monday, June 27th 7:07 PM - Connor Seabold (0-0 -.-- ERA) vs Kevin Gausman (4-4 3.77 ERA)
Tuesday, June 28th 7:07 PM - Michael Wacha (6-1 2.34 ERA) vs Ross Stripling (4-2 3.08 ERA)
Wednesday, June 29th 7:07 PM - Nick Pivetta (8-5 3.25 ERA) vs Alek Manoah (9-2 2.05 ERA)
Holy hell did typing those pitching matchups got my jimmies RUSTLED. Tonight, we get our first look this season at Connor Seabold, and he is going up against All-Star pitcher Kevin Gausman. Gausman pitched in consecutive appearances back in April against the Red Sox, going 14 innings in total of 1 run ball. It wasn't perfect though. Every batter in our lineup except for Devers had hard hit contact in our first series, and he was bailed out of a lot of jams with GIDPs and Ks. Also, if you recall, our defense still hadn't quite gelled last time we faced the Jays, and it came back to bite us in the ass several times. That won't happen this series. This lineup does well against Gausman, not great, but not terrible. 38 hits in 168 PAs, 5 doubles, and 3 HRs. He does have 49 Ks though, with 10 being against Story. Xander, JBJ, and JD have a home run a piece, while Devers sits at 1-11. Xander and JD are .348 and .375 respectively, heavily carrying our lineup. I don't know if Refsnyder will be in the lineup today, but if he is (update, lineup announced while writing this one, he's leading off), keep an eye on him. Average EV of 101.5 with an xBA and xSLG of .389 and .457. The key to beating Gausman is contact. His chase rate is 99th percentile. His BB% is 96th percentile. That's simply preposterous. The control on each of his pitches is incredible:
That is the best control I have seen since starting this blog. Fastball is in the zone, splitter and slider darting on opposite ends of the zone. It's incredibly impressive. You have to take advantage of his fastball and fend off the junk.
Seabold gets the go-ahead for Boston. In 2021, we saw Seabold in one appearance. He allowed 2 runs in 3 innings, facing 12 batters allowing 3 hits, 1 home run. I'm sure he wishes it went better, but he has a chance to be better tonight. So far in AAA, he's been having quite a stellar year. 11 Starts, 5-1 in those starts, 51 strikeouts in 51.2 innings, .987 WHIP and a 2.09 ERA. He has certainly earned this opportunity. He has a fastball, slider, change and curve. He won't blow you away with his speed at all, his fastball sits at around 91. I really don't know what to expect out of him. Hopefully something similar to Winck where they figure it out after their first "meh" appearance.
We move onto Tuesday's matchup, where it's Wacha versus Stripling. Wacha went 6 innings, allowing 4 hits and a run his last time against the Blue Jays. He also faced Stripling again that same day, where he would go 5, allowing 5 hits and 1 earned. Then the Blue Jays bullpen fucked up and allowed an additional 6 runs in the last 4 innings. Stripling is a diet Gausman, where it's the same methodology, getting guys to chase and not allowing walks, but he doesn't do it as well as Gausman:
We need to string hits together to get to him, so I expect a heavy lean on the top of our order guys. It'd be real nice if we had a true speedster that's just starting to heat up at the top of our lineup, but he's busy doing his own research. Stripling tends to come up with a fastball that comes in at only 91, then he'll go to a changeup or a slider. He'll occasionally throw a curveball, but it's certainly his worst pitch, with a BA and SLG of .429 and .571 respectively. On the other hand, Wacha is Wacha
Game's going under.
Lastly, we have a Wednesday matchup of Nick Pivetta versus Alek Manoah. Is it crazy to call Nick Pivetta our best pitcher? I was just about to type "Our best versus their best", but that seems controversial for honestly both of these guys. Whatever, they're both really good at the thing they're paid to do. It makes me incredibly upset that we are going to be going up against Manoah for the foreseeable future, because he is 24 and already a fucking stud. 2.05 ERA, only 20 ERs in 87.2 innings over 14 starts, 79 Ks, and a .958 WHIP. Those are Cy Young numbers. Last we saw of him, they won a 1-0 pitchers dual in which Manoah went 7 allowing only 3 hits. I will also add that they won this game from yet another defensive error and I am only typing this because I'm clearly still not over it. Anyways, here's what we can look forward to:
If this is your first time seeing a percentile ranking from Baseball Savant, red is good. Means hot. Not stop. I wish it meant stop because I'd like him to stop being so good. Dude just chucks fastballs like 95 for strikes, then right when you think you have a beat on him, he throws a slider that makes the batter turn into a corkscrew until they're waist deep in the dirt. The best case scenario here is we get a couple guys on and he leaves a fastball over the heart of the plate that you can drive. I would have to assume it comes off the bat of Alex Verdugo considering he has more hits off of Manoah than the rest of the team combined, at 4 for 8 with 2 doubles. Here is the rest of the team:
That is simply terrifying. I don't really know what the answer is, but hopefully JD has been in the film room studying him so he can help the boys out. If only we had a Cy Young caliber pitcher to match him! Oh wait....
Nick Pivetta. Will I pull up the stats from Nick Pivetta's last start against the Jays? Nope! That was back in April and it doesn't matter. We have Nick Pivetta 2 point 0 going Wednesday. The Blue Jays have no idea what kind of a war they're in for. His 4-seam fastball has literally been the best pitch of any pitch in baseball, and when you can follow it up with his knucklecurve, it's a deadly duo.
So that'll do it. Let's go out there, string some hits together, hold onto any lead we get, and leave Toronto with our 8th series win in a row. Have a good one.