Saturday, June 22, 2024
5-Hour Energy

MLB Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (73-61) at Colorado Rockies (49-84)


THE LATEST: The Blue Jays shut out the Nationals in the finale of their three-game set on Wednesday by a score of 7-0…Was their 13th shutout of the year, matching the Rays, Mariners, and Guardians for the most in the American League…Moved to 24-17-2 in series play this year (12-8-1 at home) and 11-6 in rubber games. Toronto has won eight of its last 15 games, 19 of its last 35, and is 28-21 across its last 49…Enters today 2.5 games back of Texas (75-58) for the 3rd AL Wild Card spot…The Blue Jays enter the month of September at least 12 games over .500 for the 10th time in franchise history (last: 19G over .500 in 2016).

AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT A HOUND DOG: Chris Bassitt picked up his AL-high-tying 13th win of the season on Wednesday, tossing 8.0 shutout innings while scattering a trio of hits and a walk with three strikeouts…Was his 3rd start of 8.0+ innings this year, one behind the AL leaders (Framber Valdez, Jordan Lyles, Nathan Eovaldi)…Has tossed at least 6.0 scoreless frames on eight occasions this season, the most in the Majors and one behind Roger Clemens (nine in 1997) for the most in a single season in Blue Jays history. The 34-year old has racked up 17 quality starts this year, trailing only Gerrit Cole (20) for the most in the AL (T-5th in MLB)…His 165.1 innings pitched are 3rd most among AL hurlers.

CAPTAIN ON THE BRIDGE: Alejandro Kirk went a perfect 3-for-3 on Wednesday with a pair of doubles and a trio of RBI…Was his 1st career game with multiple two-baggers, and has doubled in three straight games for the 1st time in his career…Marked his 8th game with at least three hits this season. The Tijuana, MX, native has reached base safely in 18 of his last 22 starts while going 27-for-81 (.333) with xix doubles, three homers, 11 RBI, and an 8BB/6K ratio (.914 OPS)…His 0.85 BB/K (29BB/34K) clip for the season is 5th best in the AL (min. 300 PA)…Has gone 30 straight plate appearances without striking out, the 2nd-longest active streak in the Majors (1st: Josh Naylor – 36PA).

SOME GOOD OPS-TICS: Davis Schneider went 1-for-2 on Wednesday, picking up a single, two walks, a stolen base, and a pair of runs scored…Has hit safely in each of his last six games and in 10 of his 14 career MLB contests. Among Blue Jays through their first 14 career Major League games, the 24-year old ranks 1st in times on
base (30), 2nd in home runs (6), T-2nd in hits (20), and T-3rd in RBI (14)…Is now batting .426 (20-for-47) with 10 extra-base hits and nine walks (.526 OBP)…
His 1.420 OPS is the highest through 14 games in American League history (min. 35 PA).

IT’S CLEMENT TO BE: Ernie Clement singled twice and drove in a run on Wednesday, finishing the day 2-for-3, his 2nd multi-hit game of the year, both of which have come in his last three games…His .444 AVG (8-for-18) is tied for the highest in a player’s first 15 career games with the Blue Jays, matching Steve Braun (1980) and Otto Velez (1977).

ROAD WORK: The Blue Jays are on a six-game, six-day road trip out west, with a trio of stops each in Colorado and Oakland…Own a 38-31 road record this season for a .551 win%, 5th best in the AL (7th in MLB)…Have gone 18-9 over their last 27 road games for a .667 win%, tied for the 3rd-best road record in MLB since June 20
(SEA – .697, LAD – .690). Blue Jays hitters are 2nd in the AL with a .262 road batting average, 4th in road SLG (.426), 5th in road OBP (.328), and 5th in road OPS (.754)…The pitching staff ranks 3rd in the AL in road ERA (3.92), 8th in road opponents’ AVG (.250), and 10th in road WHIP (1.28).

PITCHING IN: Toronto pitchers have combined for a 3.69 ERA this season, 2nd best in the Majors (1st: SEA – 3.64)…The 3.69 ERA is currently 5th best in team history and the club’s best since 2008 (3.49)…Are 2nd in MLB with 1,252 strikeouts (1st: MIN – 1,264)…Rank 5th in the AL in opponents’ batting average (.238) and 4th in WHIP (1.23)…The rotation has recorded 59 quality starts, 4th most in the AL (T-7th in MLB).

HITTING IT: Toronto batters have notched 1,189 hits this season, 4th most in the AL (6th in MLB)…Are 4th in the junior circuit in team AVG (.258), 5th in OBP (.329), 7th in OPS (.745), and 9th in SLG (.417).

INTERTAINMENT: Toronto is playing its 16th interleague series of the year…Has gone 28-15 vs. NL clubs so far…The .651 win% in interleague games is the best among MLB teams (2nd: CIN – .629) and 2nd best in team history (14-6, .700 in 2021)…Has set a club record with the 28 wins vs. NL clubs (14 in 2021).

S. THE ROCKIES: All-Time: 11-10
2023: 0-0 Road: 2-10
Road: 0-0 Coors Field: 2-10

The Blue Jays last met the Rockies in 2019, dropping all three games in Denver…Have gone a perfect 9-0 at home against the Rox, but just 2-10 in Colorado… The 21 total games against the Rockies are tied for their 2nd fewest against any single opponent (18G
vs. SD).

Daulton Varsho has gone 33-for-114 (.289) in 39 career games against the Rockies, notching six doubles, two triples, seven homers, and 20 RBI (.938 OPS)…His lone career grand slam came at Coors Field on Sept. 9, 2022, a 5th-inning blast off of Sunday’s projected starter, Austin Gomber.

Brandon Belt leads all current Blue Jays with 158 career games against his former division rivals…Is a career .294 hitter (160-for-545) vs. COL, recording 44 doubles, five triples, 23 home runs, and 84 RBI for an .890 OPS.

Whit Merrifled has hit safely in each of his six career games against the Rockies, including driving in at least one run in each of the last five…Has gone 11-
for-27 (.407) over that stretch with eight runs scored, two homers, and seven RBI (.630 SLG, 1.022 OPS).

TODAY’S GAME: Making his 6th start of the season and his 3rd on the road…Earned his 3rd win of the year his last time out, on 8/26 vs. CLE, pitching 5.0+ innings while surrendering 3R/2ER on 4 hits with no walks and 5 strikeouts… Induced a season-high 11 swing-and-misses…Recorded double-digit whiffs for the 1st time since racking up 13 on 10/3/21 vs. BAL. His 3.10 ERA since the start of 2018 is the 11th-best mark in the Majors (min. 500 IP)…Among active pitchers with 1000+ IP, his career 3.24 ERA is 7th best.

2023 HIGHLIGHTS: Allowed no earned runs in 3 straight starts from 8/7-20, the 2nd time he’s done so in his career (also: 3G from 5/7-19/19)…Became just the 8th player in Blue Jays history to accomplish the feat (excluding openers). Won his 2nd game of the year on 8/20 at CIN, giving up a pair of unearned runs over 5.0 innings (4H, BB, 7K). Picked up his 1st win of the season on 8/13 vs. CHC, tossing 5.0 innings of ER-free ball (2 unearned runs) with 2 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts… Was his 1st victory since 5/26/22 at LAA, a span of 444 days. Threw 4.0 no-hit frames on 8/7 at CLE, issuing one walk with a pair of strikeouts…Was removed from the game with a right knee contusion. Made his season debut on 8/1 vs. BAL, giving up 4 runs over 5.0+ frames with 9 hits, a walk, and 3 strikeouts…Was his 50th career start in a Blue Jays uniform. Began the season on the injured list after undergoing Tommy John surgery in June 2022. Was sent on a rehab assignment to the FCL Blue Jays and made one start on 7/4, pitching 3.0 innings of one-run ball on 4 hits, no walks, and 5 strikeouts. Made one start with Single-A Dunedin on 7/9, tossing 4.0 shutout innings with 3 hits, no walks, and a strikeout. Started for Triple-A Buffalo on 7/15, going 5.0 innings, allowing 1 run on 3 hits while walking none and recording 5 strikeouts. On 7/21, made a 2nd start with Buffalo, tossing 6.0 innings of 2-run ball, scattering 3 hits and a walk with 5 punchouts.


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