Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Fantasy Guru - Baseball

MLB Preview: Washington Nationals (61-71) at Toronto Blue Jays (72-60)


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THE LATEST: The Blue Jays doubled up the Nationals, 6-3, last night at Rogers Centre…Improved to 23-20 in series openers while earning their 30th comeback win of the campaign. Toronto has won seven of its last 13 games, 18 of its last 33, and is 27-20 across its last 47…Enters today still 2.5 games back of both Houston (75-58) and Texas (74-57) for the 3rd AL Wild Card spot.

DANNY DRIVES IT: Danny Jansen extended Toronto’s lead to 5-1 in the 3rd inning with a solo blast to left last night…Was his 16th homer of the season, setting a new career high (15 in 2022)…Marks the most home runs by a Blue Jays catcher since Russell Martin hit 20 in 2016. The catcher also walked and scored in the 2nd and 5th innings, part of a 1-for-2 night…Scored three runs in a game for the 3rd time this year (also: April 25 vs. CWS & May 23 at TB)…His 51 RBI are a career high while his 5.12 AB/RBI clip is 10th best in the AL (min. 200 AB)…Has gone 34-for-134 (.254) with eight doubles, 10 homers, and 25 RBI over his last 46 games for a .537 SLG and an .892 OPS.

FEELING GEORGE-OUS: George Springer got the Blue Jays on the board with an RBI single in the 2nd inning…Also drew a pair of walks, finishing the game 1-for-3…Swiped two bases in a game for the 2nd time this season (April 4 at KC) to extend his personal best in steals to 19 (16 in 2015)…Over his last 20 games, is batting .329 (25-for76) with 25 runs scored, six doubles, four homers, and 12 RBI (.957 OPS).

ON A GUERRE-ROLL: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doubled in a pair of runs during the 2nd inning last night…Extended his hitting streak to nine games, going 12-for-38 (.316) with two doubles, two home runs, and six RBI over that stretch (.876 OPS)…Has reached base safely in 34 of his last 36 games while hitting .259 (36-for-139) with six doubles, six home runs, 18 RBI, and an 18BB/19K ratio (.780 OPS)…Has now recorded an AL-leading 219 hardhit balls (95+ MPH) this season, 15 more than the next closest batter (Julio Rodríguez – 204), while his average exit velocity of 93.1 MPH ranks 9th…Has now gone 23 plate appearances without a strikeout, the 5th-longest active streak among AL batters.

WHAT A GENESIS FOR GÉNESIS: Génesis Cabrera retired all three batters he faced in the 8th inning last night…Has allowed no earned runs (3R) in his 18 games with Toronto, matching Joaquin Benoit (2016) for the longest streak to begin a Blue Jays career.

IF YOU’RE FIRST WHILE BATTING LAST: Kevin Kiermaier drove in a run with a 5th-inning single last night…Also walked and scored a run as part of a 1-for-3 evening…His 67 hits while batting 9th are the most in the AL (2nd: Leody Taveras – 66).

DOING YOUR HOMEWORK: The Blue Jays are on a six-day, six-game homestand (2-2 so far)…Have gone 34-29 this season at Rogers Centre…The .540 win% at home ranks 6th in the AL… After this series with the Nats, will have Thursday off as they head out for a six-game road trip to Colorado (49-82) and Oakland (38-94). Toronto batters rank 5th in the AL in home OBP (.328), 8th in home AVG (.252), 9th in home OPS (.731), and 11th in home SLG (.402)…The pitching staff ranks 3rd among AL teams with 3.49 home ERA while also sitting 3rd with a .227 home opponents’ average and 3rd with a 1.19 home WHIP.

PITCHING IN: Toronto pitchers have combined for a 3.71 ERA this season, 2nd best in the Majors (1st: SEA – 3.64)…The 3.71 ERA is currently 5th best in team history and the club’s best since 2008 (3.49)…Are 2nd in MLB with 1,243 strikeouts (1st: MIN – 1,251)…Rank 5th in the AL in opponents’ batting average (.239) and 5th in WHIP (1.24)…The rotation has recorded 58 quality starts, 4th most in the AL (T-6th in MLB).

HITTING IT: Toronto batters have notched 1,166 hits this season, 4th most in the AL (6th in MLB)…Are 5th in the junior circuit in team AVG (.257), 5th in OBP (.328), 8th in OPS (.743), and 9th in SLG (.415).

INTERTAINMENT: Toronto is playing its 15th interleague series of the year…Has gone 27-14 vs. NL clubs so far…The .659 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 27 wins vs. NL clubs (14 in 2021). The Blue Jays have now hit 683 home runs all-time in Interleague Play, the most among all 30 teams (2nd: NYY – 655).

VS. THE NATIONALS: All-Time: 42-34
2023: 1-0 Home: 26-15
Home: 1-0 Rogers Centre: 25-14

The Blue Jays last met the Nationals in 2021… Dropped both games in Washington while splitting the two contests played at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, FL…Last played the Nats here at Rogers Centre in 2018, sweeping the three-game series.

Daulton Varsho went 6-for-23 (.261) with three home runs and six RBI in seven games vs. Washington last season…Is hitting .242 (8-for-33) with seven runs, three homers, and seven RBI across 10 career meetings (.831 OPS).

Brandon Belt leads all current Blue Jays with 44 career games played against the Nationals…Has gone 43-for-156 (.276) with 10 doubles, two triples, six home runs, and 21 RBI along the way (.851 OPS).

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. set career highs with three home runs and seven RBI in his game on April 27, 2021 vs. WAS at TD Ballpark.

STARTING PITCHER – José Berríos, RHP #17
TODAY’S GAME: Making his 27th start of the season and his 12th at Rogers Centre…Gave up 5 runs on 9 hits over 6.0 innings his last time out, on 8/24 at BAL, striking out 4 batters with no walks. The Blue Jays own a 22-7 record in Berríos’ last 29 starts at Rogers Centre, dating back to 2021. Over his last 24 starts, has gone 9-7 with a 3.04 ERA (48 ER/142.1 IP), 132 strikeouts, and a 1.17 WHIP…His ERA over that span (since 4/14) is the best mark among AL pitchers (2nd: Kyle Bradish – 3.07).

2023 HIGHLIGHTS: Took a no-decision on 8/18 at CIN, tossing 5.2 frames of shutout ball, scattering a hit and 4 walks with 8 strikeouts…Was his 5th scoreless outing of the season. Picked up his 9th win of the year on 8/5 at BOS, giving up 3 runs over 5.2 innings (6H, 0BB, 6K). Tossed 6.0 frames of one-run ball on 7/30 vs. LAA, scattering 6 hits and a pair of walks with 6 strikeouts. Allowed 2 runs over 5.0 innings on 7/24 at LAD, giving up 5 hits and 4 walks with 3 strikeouts…Was his 200th career MLB start. Took a no-decision on 7/6 at CWS(1), throwing 7.0 scoreless innings with a hit, a walk, and 6 strikeouts…Gave up just 1 hit over 7.0 frames for the 2nd time in his career, also doing so exactly 2 years prior against the same team as a member of the Twins (7/6/21 vs. CWS). Picked up his 8th win of the year on 6/24 vs. OAK, giving up 3R/2ER over 6.0 innings (6H, 2BB, 8K). Improved to 7-4 on the year on 6/14 at BAL, taking a no-hitter into the 7th inning before allowing a leadoff single to Adley Rutschman…Marked the longest no-hit bid by a Blue Jay since Ross Stripling also tossed 6.0 hitless innings on 8/17/22 vs. BAL…Finished the game with a season-high 7.2 innings of shutout ball (3H, BB, HBP, 5K)…Improved to a perfect 10-0 lifetime against the O’s (13 starts), joining Jon Lester (14-0) and Red Faber (12-0) as the only pitchers in MLB history to win each of his first 10 career decisions against Orioles/Browns franchise. Won his 6th game of the year on 6/8 vs. HOU, tossing 6.0 innings of 2-run ball (4H, 2BB, 2K)…Marked his 7th quality start of the season. Pitched 5.2 frames of shutout ball on 5/28 at MIN (4H, 5BB, 5K)…Became the winningest pitcher in Target Field history, earning his 33rd career victory to break a tie with Kyle Gibson (32). Worked 7.0 shutout frames on 4/25 vs. CWS, scattering 4 singles and a walk with a season-high 9 strikeouts…Completed 7.0 innings in consecutive starts for the 13th time in his career (last: 3G from 6/4- 15/22)…Has allowed 3 runs over his last 3 starts, posting a 1.42 ERA (3 ER/19.0 IP) with a pair of walks and 18 punchouts.

VS. THE NATIONALS: Facing the Nationals for the 3rd time in his career…Met the Nats in his 4th ever start as a Blue Jay on 8/18/21 in Washington, giving up 3R/2ER over 5.0 innings (5H, 3BB, 3K)…His only other start vs. WAS came on 9/10/19 as a member of the Twins, tossing 7.0 shutout frames with 2 hits, a walk, and 4 punchouts.

Mikey Balhan Sports

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