Pre-Series Notes: Mayza returns, Pop optioned, Eovaldi to IL

Photo credit:(Mary Altaffer/AP)
Scott Ony
1 year ago
After a difficult stretch earlier in August the Blue Jays come into this series with Red Sox having won four of their last five games to bring their record to 65-55. They are third in the American League East and in the second wild card spot, half a game back of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Red Sox are last in the AL East at 60-62. They have lost three of their last four but are still mathematically alive in the wild card race. They are a longshot to make the playoffs at six games out although crazier things have happened.
The Jays lead the season series over the Sox 9-4 and swept the last series 3-0 by a total score of 40-10.

Things Worth Mentioning…

Tim Mayza is back.
When Mayza injured his shoulder on August 6th it looked as though his season was over. Now just 17 days later the lefty is active. To the dismay of fans, newly acquired RHP Zach Pop has been optioned to Buffalo. Pop is expected to rejoin the team when rosters expand in September. This decision is solely based on the fact that Pop has options and allows the team to keep all of their current bullpen pitchers in the organization.
The Jays will be facing a depleted Red Sox squad.
With Eovaldi headed to the IL, the Blue Jays will see two rookies and a 42 year old starter this series. Former Blue Jays draft pick Josh Winckowski joins Kutter Crawford among the expected starters.
There is potential for tonight’s game to be delayed.
Scattered thundershowers are expected in the Boston area around the scheduled game time. They are not supposed to continue throughout the night, so the game should end up being played. The next two games do not look to be in jeopardy either.

The head-to-head…

Josh Winckowski vs. Ross Stripling
A 15th round pick by the Blue Jays in 2016, Winckowski was traded to the New York Mets prior to the 2021 season in a deal that brought Steven Matz to Toronto. Less than two weeks later he landed in Boston as part of a three-team trade that sent now Yankees’ outfielder Andrew Benintendi to the Kansas City Royals.
The 24-year-old rookie made his MLB debut back on May 28th and has split time between triple-A Worcester and Boston this season. In total he has started nine games in triple-A and 12 in the MLB in 2022. This will be his first start against the Jays in his career.
In his 12 MLB starts he has an ERA of 5.19 and a record of 5-6.
Quietly one of the Jays best players this season, Stripling returned for the IL on August 17th and threw one of his best games of the season. Perfect through six innings, he allowed just one hit in 6.1 and struck out seven to lower his ERA to 2.93.
In three starts against the Red Sox this year he has an ERA of 3.21 and three no-decisions. The Jays are 2-1 in those games.
Rich Hill vs. Jose Berrios
Now in his age 42 season the product of Boston, Massachusetts is on his third stint with his hometown team. In 18 starts he is 5-5 with a 4.68 ERA. It has been an up and down season for the veteran Hill, but he has struggled in his three August starts with an ERA of 7.50. This will be his first start against the Jays this season.
There is no pitcher in the MLB in 2022 that is as big of a question mark as Berrios. In his last outing against the New York Yankees on August 18th he threw 6.2 innings of one-run ball and struck out nine to earn his 12th quality start of the year and lower his ERA to 5.39. It is unheard of for a pitcher to have so many quality starts yet have an ERA above five. On some nights he looks like an ace and on others a minor leaguer.
Both of his starts against the Red Sox came back in April and they were some of his best work this season. In total he threw 13 innings with an ERA of 2.08 and record of 1-0. The Jays won both games.
Kutter Crawford vs. Kevin Gausman
Another rookie pitcher, Crawford has also split time between triple-A and the MLB this year. He has pitched in the rotation and out of the bullpen at both levels. He hasn’t been particularly impressive at either. His MLB ERA is 5.14 in 68.1 innings.
In four August starts he is 1-2 with an ERA of 7.57 and he is coming off the worst start of his young career against the Baltimore Orioles on August 19th. He lasted just 3.2 innings and allowed nine runs on 11 hits including three home runs.
His only start against the Blue Jays came in a 4-1 loss on July 23rd. He allowed three runs in six innings.
Gausman has been the Blue Jays best starter this year. His 4.8 WAR and 2.05 FIP according to FanGraphs are significantly better than all other pitchers in the rotation. In three of his four starts in August he has thrown at least six innings and not given up a single run.
He has pitched against the Red Sox four times in 2022 and allowed just four runs in 26 innings for an ERA of 1.38. The Jays won all four of those games.

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