Projections and Paces – Blue Jays

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The article below is meant to provide a quick look at how my
preseason projections match up with the paces of select major league
hitters.

Alex Rios
2008: .291/.337/.461, 15 HR, 91 R, 79 RBI, 32 SB in 635 AB
Proj..: .299/.355/.502, 25 HR, 96 R, 89 RBI, 21 SB in 613 AB
Pace: .278/.336/.454, 22 HR, 82 R, 80 RBI, 27 SB in 660 AB

Vernon Wells
2008: .300/.343/.496, 20 HR, 63 R, 78 RBI, 4 SB in 427 AB
Proj..: .285/.340/.489, 25 HR, 86 R, 92 RBI, 9 SB in 571 AB
Pace: .241/.299/.367, 12 HR, 99 R, 68 RBI, 27 SB in 653 AB

We know which one of the Jays’ two “superstars” has Cito Gaston on his
side. Rios was recently moved down third to sixth in the lineup despite
an OPS right around 850 since the beginning of May. Wells was moved up
to third despite one of the worst showings of any regular in the
majors. He’s hit .214/.271/.310 in 171 at-bats since May 1.

Aaron Hill
2008: .263/.324/.361, 2 HR, 19 R, 20 RBI, 4 SB in 205 AB
Proj..: .281/.345/.428, 14 HR, 80 R, 71 RBI, 7 SB in 594 AB
Pace: .315/.352/.503, 36 HR, 94 R, 114 RBI, 5 SB in 692 AB

Hill entered this year with 114 doubles and 28 homers in his career. He currently has nine doubles and 15 homers.

Marco Scutaro
2008: .267/.341/.356, 7 HR, 76 R, 60 RBI, 7 SB in 517 AB
Proj..: .262/.338/.374, 8 HR, 63 R, 46 RBI, 5 SB in 439 AB
Pace: .298/.396/.434, 12 HR, 121 R, 70 RBI, 15 SB in 641 AB

All five of Scutaro’s homers came in April, so it seems unlikely
that he’ll really finish with 12 this year. However, he shows no signs
of losing his hold on the leadoff spot in Toronto’s lineup. The century
mark in runs is well with reach.

Adam Lind
2008: .282/.316/.439, 9 HR, 48 R, 40 RBI, 2 SB in 326 AB
Proj..: .277/.324/.460, 19 HR, 64 R, 74 RBI, 2 SB in 494 AB
Pace: .301/.367/.539, 31 HR, 94 R, 111 RBI, 2 SB in 619 AB

Lind was a tough projection after the Jays kept going back and forth
with him during his first three partial seasons, especially in light of
the fact that he finished poorly this year. He’s likely a legitimate
25-homer guy. I don’t think it’s all that likely that he keeps hitting
.300.

Scott Rolen
2008: .262/.349/.431, 11 HR, 58 R, 50 RBI, 5 SB in 408 AB
Proj..: .259/.341/.429, 13 HR, 60 R, 64 RBI, 4 SB in 413 AB
Pace: .325/.394/.471, 10 HR, 82 R, 53 RBI, 7 SB in 498 AB

Rolen knows his limitations now and has adapted his game. The power
probably isn’t coming back, but it no longer looks like he’ll be out of
the league by age 36 or 37.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).