Coming off two days rest and riding a two game losing streak into tonight, it feels like the Blue Jays haven’t won a game in forever. That said, they still hold the top spot in the American League wild card race with a record of 60-50.
Meanwhile the Guardians have won five in a row to take the lead in the AL Central. The tightest division race in the Majors, the Central still has three teams battling for the division crown. The Minnesota Twins trail the Guardians by just 1.5 games and the Chicago White Sox are 3.5 back.
The Jays will be looking for revenge after losing two of three in Cleveland back in May.
Things Worth Mentioning…
A pair of Blue Jays will be making their home debut tonight.
George Springer is still on IL so Bradley Jr. will start in center and Merrifield will make his first start at second for the Jays. One of the best defensive CF’s of the last decade Bradley Jr. provides plus defence and speed with a below average bat. He did however hit two home runs in his last series against the Blue Jays while he was with the Red Sox. In 92 games this year he is slashing .210/.257/.321 with three home runs.
One of the favourites for the AL Rookie of the Year, Steven Kwan is on a tear recently.
In his debut season, Kwan it batting .300 and is third on the Guardians with 108 hits.
Canadian Pitcher Cal Quantrill will pass his dad in career starts tonight.
A reliever for most of his career, Paul Quantrill pitched for the Jays from 1996 to 2001 and earned his only all star nod in his final season in Toronto. There will be lots of Canadian action in tonight’s game if Zach Pop and Jordan Romano come out of the pen. The Guardians also have Canadian slugger Josh Naylor batting fourth.
Jose Berrios vs. Cal Quantrill
With the two-day break, Berrios comes into this game on seven days rest. After a strong month of July he started August poorly allowing five runs on six hits and two walks against the Minnesota Twins. Two of those hits were home runs bringing his total to an AL leading 24 this season. In his last start against the Guardians on May 5th he gave up six runs in 4.2 innings.
The Blue Jays need Berrios to pitch like he did in July to help them secure the top wild card spot and guarantee them a home playoff series. Without him at his best, this team will not have the pitching depth to make a deep run.
A product of Port Hope, Ontario Quantrill is making his first start against the Blue Jays this season. His 3.88 ERA and 4.58 FIP are fourth among Guardians pitchers with at least ten starts. His last start versus the Houston Astros on August 6th was one of two this season where he didn’t allow a run. He pitched six innings allowing just three hits and one walk to pick up his eighth win.
Quantrill relies heavily on fastballs throwing his 93 MPH cutter 48% of the time and his 88 MPH sinker 37%. He uses a change up to keep hitters off balance and occasionally mixes in a four-seam fastball and a curveball.
Mitch White vs. Triston McKenzie
Mitch White’s Blue Jays debut on August 6th didn’t go as planned as he took his third loss of the season. In 4.2 innings he was hit six times and walked one for three earned runs. He now has an ERA of 3.86 and a 1.27 WHIP in 60.2 innings this season.
White is currently filling in for Ross Stripling who will be making a rehab start with triple-A Buffalo today. If all goes well for Stripling, White will likely move to the bullpen in a long reliever role. Even though White has been more reliable as a starter than Yusei Kikuchi, he could be more valuable to the Jays out of the pen than in the fifth spot in the rotation, especially if Kikuchi continues to struggle. Whether White is starting or not he will be a key piece for this team down the stretch.
The 24-year-old McKenzie is having a breakout season for the Guardians. In 20 starts he has pitched a career high 128 innings and his 3.16 ERA trails only Shane Bieber in the Cleveland rotation. His last start was his best this season. He threw eight scoreless innings on two hits and one walk against the Astros for his eighth win.
In his lone start versus the Blue Jays this year he pitched six innings, struck out six and gave up two earned runs in an 8-2 Guadians win.
Kevin Gausman vs. Shane Bieber
The reigning AL player of the week winner Gausman has been lights out of late. Over his last two starts he has pitched 14 shutout innings with 15 strikeouts. He has lowered his ERA to 2.91 but his FIP is even more impressive. At 1.99 he leads the majors by .29. Gausman has pitched incredibly well this season but has been plagued by bad luck. The Blue Jays have won just 11 of his 21 starts. One of those wins came against Cleveland back on May 7th. Gausman handled the Guardians lineup throwing 6.1 innings of one-run ball.
A former Cy Young award winner Bieber is having another fantastic season in 2022. He leads Guardians starters in almost every major pitching category. Like Quantrill and McKenzie, he is coming off one of his best starts of the season. On August 9th in Detroit, he struck out eight in seven innings of shutout ball.
Despite his stellar season, he struggled against the Blue Jays opposite of Gausman on May 7th. He was pulled after just 3.1 innings after allowing seven runs on eight hits and three walks.