Series preview: Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays

 

Jays From the Couch gets you set for Interleague action as the Toronto Blue Jays host Atlanta & Josh Donaldson

 

 

 

 

The Blue Jays limp home after a 1-5 road trip vs the Dodgers and Mariners to start a five game homestand with two against Atlanta.

 

Toronto is in fourth place in the AL East division, 32 games behind the first place Yankees, and also officially eliminated from winning the division. They are 23.5 games out of the second wild card spot. After five straight series without a series loss, the Jays have scuffled lately, going 2-8 in their last 10 games.

 

Atlanta is in first place in the NL East division, 6 games ahead of the second place Washington Nationals.  They are red hot lately, winners of 8 straight, 8-2 in their last 10.

 

Note: Atlanta finished a series against the Mets in New York on Sunday. From there, they flew to Denver for a makeup game against the Rockies on Monday afternoon before moving on to Toronto. Will they be tired from all of that travel and can the Jays take advantage? Jays fans can only hope.

 

Former Blue Jay Josh Donaldson will face his former team for the first time since being traded by the Jays in late August 2018. The 2015 AL MVP is having a bounce back season after missing much of 2018 with injuries. He has played in 128 games to date with a .917 OPS. Donaldson would have to be a strong candidate for comeback player of the year.

 

Tuesday August 27, 7:07 pm

RHP Soroka (ATL) vs TBD (TOR)

 

TBD has been getting a lot of work for the Jays lately. The Jays currently have five pitchers in their rotation – Thornton, Waguespack and Buchholz which means one or two scheduled bullpen days each time through.

 

Mike Soroka – Record:  10-2. 2.41 era. 3.21 FIP. 1.080 WHIP. 2.1 BB/9. 7.1 K/9.

 

21 year old Canadian Mike Soroka has been a big part of Atlanta’s success so far in 2019. In addition to the above impressive stats, Soroka’s 0.5 home runs per 9 innings is the best in MLB among qualified pitchers. He was very deserving of his first all star selection.

 

Soroka’s last start came on August 22 vs the Miami Marlins. He pitched 7 innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits with no walks and 5 strikeouts.

 

Soroka has faced the Jays once in his young career back on June 19, 2018. He didn’t do well, lasting only 4.2 innings, giving up 4 runs on 8 hits with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts. That ended up being Soroka’s last game in 2018 as he ended up on the DL shortly after that. The Jays would be very lucky to have anywhere close to that kind of success against him now.

 

Wednesday August 28, 7:07 pm

RHP Foltynewicz (ATL) vs RHP Waguespack (TOR)

 

Jacob Waguespack – Record 4-1. 3.63 era. 4.27  FIP. 1.557 WHIP. 4.3 BB/9. 8.9 K/9.

 

Waguespack caught the attention of the baseball world in his last start on August 22 when he held the Los Angeles Dodgers and their NL leading offence to no runs on one hit over seven strong innings, walking 1 and striking out 5. It was a darned shame that the bullpen couldn’t protect a win that Wagues most definitely deserved. His ERA sits at a very respectable 3.63. Time will tell how far his very effective cutter will take him in his MLB career. Will he develop even one other good pitch to go with it? Is he a viable rotation option in the future or will his best role be in the bullpen at some point in the future?

 

Waguespack has never faced Atlanta, who will no doubt present another good test for the rookie.

 

Mike Foltynewicz – Record 4-5. 5.68 era. 5.65 FIP. 1.397 WHIP. 3.2 BB/9. 8.3 K/9.

 

27 year old Foltynewicz, who was an all star as recently as 2018, has had a disappointing season to date. His up and down season, literally, included a demotion to MiLB following a 4 inning outing on June 22 during which he surrendered 8 run.

 

He has had four starts in August since his recall, and he has pitched much better, with a 3.91 era this month. Atlanta is hoping that he can find some of the form he had last season, if so he could help them with their postseason run.

 

His last start was on August 23 vs the New York Mets. He pitched 7 innings, giving up only one run on two hits with 2 walks and 7 strikeouts. His last start against the Blue Jays came on July 11, 2018 (the only hold overs from that line up are Smoak, Grichuk and Hernandez). For what it’s worth, those Jays got to him for 5 runs on 6 hits in 6.2 innings, with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. They will hope for similar success on Wednesday.

 

Prediction: Soroka vs a bullpen day doesn’t seem to give the Jays much of a chance, at least “on paper”. I’m going to say Waguespack stays hot and Toronto wins a close, low scoring game on Wednesday to split the series.

 

 

 

 

 


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