Pre-Series Notes: Gausman looks for revenge after being injured in last start versus the Rays, Springer out of the lineup with elbow soreness

Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Ony
1 year ago
After going 4-2 on their homestand, the Blue Jays will now embark on a nine game road trip, starting with two in Tampa Bay. With the Jays three games up on the Rays in the wild card standings, every game these two play will be huge.
The Rays lead the season series 5-3, including a dominate three game win streak that saw them take the last series 3-2 and send the Jays into a downward spiral. However, that was now a month ago and the teams have been going in separate directions lately. The Blue Jays are 8-2 in their last 10 while Rays are 3-7.

Things Worth Mentioning…

While some Blue Jays fans are disappointed after seeing the Padres and Yankees go all-in at the trade deadline, acquiring both Anthony Bass and Zach Pop for a declining prospect in Jordan Groshans was a fantastic move.
Bass has quietly been one of the best relievers in baseball this season and will certainly help shore up the back end of the Jays bullpen. His ERA of 1.41 and FIP of 2.06 are better than Jordan Romano, Adam Cimber, Yimi Garcia, David Phelps and Tim Mayza. At 44.2 innings pitched, he has also thrown more than any Jays reliever this season. Previously a member of the Blue Jays in 2020, he knows the organization well and is excited to return.
At just 25-years-old and under contractual control for four more seasons, Zach Pop can be a significant piece for this team as the young core reaches their prime years. While he is not yet a strikeout pitcher, he can hit 98 with his fastball and has a higher ground ball percentage than any Blue Jays pitcher at 63.6%.
A product of Brampton, Ontario and former 23rd round pick by the Blue Jays, Pop is looking forward to the opportunity to play in front of his friends and family for his childhood team.
Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano has been named American League Reliever of the Month for July.
With his seven saves last month, he now has set a career high with 24.
Dealing with elbow soreness, George Springer will not be in the lineup tonight.
In a late move that was announced after the 6PM deadline, the Blue Jays acquired veteran Whit Merrifield from the Kansas City Royals for RHP Max Castillo and infielder Samad Taylor. Should Springer have to spend time on the IL, Merrifield’s ability to play both the infield and outfield will help the Jays lineup flexibility. Merrifield is slashing .240/.290/.352 with 30 extra base hits and 15 stolen bases this season. Here’s what the Jays lineup will look like tonight.
The Blue Jays also made two other late moves. They picked up RHP Mitch White and infield prospect Alex De Jesus from the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitchers Nick Frasso and Moises Brito. They also traded RHP Jeremy Beasley to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations.

The head-to-head…

Drew Rasmussen vs. Kevin Gausman
In his first season as a full-time starter, Rasmussen has excelled. His 3.17 ERA and 1.2 WAR according to FanGraphs are third amongst Rays pitchers with double-digit starts.
In his two against the Blue Jays this season, he has pitched 10.1 innings and allowed only two earned runs. He received a no-decision in both games but the Rays did end up winning each.
Gausman didn’t have his best stuff in his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing five earned runs on eight hits over just 4.2 innings but has pitched well against the Rays this season. In two starts versus Tampa Bay he has allowed just three runs in nine innings and tallied 11 strikeouts.
The homerun ball has been a problem for Gausman lately. He has given up four in his last three starts after not allowing one from June 5th to July 14th. Still working his way back from his ankle injury suffered against the Rays on July 2nd, Gausman will be looking to pitch more than six innings for the first time since June 27th.
TBA vs. Yusei Kikuchi
After spending time on the IL and not pitching well for a long string of starts, Kikuchi showed promise in his last outing against the Detroit Tigers. In five innings, he allowed just two hits and one run, striking out five to pick up his fourth win of the season.
With the acquisition of Mitch White from the Dodgers, its unknown how the Blue Jays rotation will look going forward. Kikuchi will have to continue to pitch well for manager John Schneider to justify starting him. Both White and utility man Ross Stripling have split time between their respective bullpens and rotations but have also been more reliable starters than Kikuchi.
The Rays game two starter has not been announced.



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