The Rays won in lopsided fashion and cooled off Toronto’s offense with that visit to Tropicana Field, where baseballs go to die in the gloves of fielders. We’ll see Ryan Yarbrough and Ross Stripling in Saturday’s matchup down at the Trop.
Stripling has been really good since mid-May with a 2.35 ERA and a 3.93 FIP In his last seven starts. That includes two really good starts against the Rays. Basically, the Jays did what they did with Robbie Ray. They’ve had Stripling throw more fastballs, just in different quadrants of the plate to throw more strikes and pitch ahead in the count more. In that span, Stripling’s Barrel% is down to 5% and his Hard Hit% is just 37.2%.
He has only had one start with an exit velocity over 89.1 mph. That was against Boston. In the two appearances against the Rays, he allowed zero barrels and 10 hard-hit balls on 28 batted ball events. In those seven starts and one prolonged relief appearance, Stripling has allowed one or zero runs in five of seven outings. He allowed two ER in two others.
The Blue Jays have found a magic formula with both Stripling and Ray to make them both highly effective MLB pitchers. It has been nice to see, especially with Stripling, who was always solid with the Dodgers before hitting some very rough patches last season.
It will be Ryan Yarbrough for the Rays and he has a profile that I absolutely love. It won’t blow you away and it is only sexy for nerds like me, but I still contend that he has absolutely gotten unlucky to have a 4.34 ERA and a 4.25 FIP. Yarbrough’s Barrel% is 6%, well below the league average for starters of 8.3%. The most impressive stat is that his Hard Hit% is 27%. That is more than 10% better than league average.
Yarbrough has some of the best command in baseball. He just hasn’t been rewarded for it this season for whatever reason. Given how good the Rays defense is, a .288 BABIP against seems rather high. Yarbrough only has a 19.6% K%, but also only has a 3.9% BB%, so he has not created any of his own problems. They’ve just really been happenstance and there isn’t much you can do about that.
Here’s how messed up things have been for Yarbrough. Of his 14 home runs, 11 have been hit on the road. He has a 3.81 ERA on the road. He has a 5.03 ERA at home, even though his wOBA against is 16 points lower and his SLG against is 73 points lower. He has a .345 BABIP against at home and a 62.8% LOB%. Those two numbers should both positively regress to the mean.
This total has gone up from 8.5 to 8, but I disagree with the line move. I use a lot of these contact quality metrics in my handicapping and I think that the Tropicana Field park factor is extremely forgiving. It should be even more forgiving to Yarbrough than it has been. He has a 2.84 FIP at home this season in 39.1 innings. The bad luck has to run out at some point.
Stripling’s upgrades over his last eight appearances aren’t being properly factored into the handicap of him with a 4.06 ERA and a 4.47 FIP for the season. He also has over a strikeout per inning and a solid walk rate against a Rays lineup that tries to work a lot of counts and draw walks at home. As long as Stripling stays stingy with those, I think we’re in good shape here.
Pick: Under 8.5
Other game: Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants