I really hope you all are enjoying the ride that this team is currently taking us on, because I sure am.
Now that the scoreboard watching is out of the way, let’s talk about today’s game. The Braves are going to be taking on the Blue Jays and this game won’t have too much sentimental value since Jose Bautista is now plying his trade with the New York Mets. Instead, it’s just a run-of-the-mill Interleague game against the only Canadian team in the big leagues.
It will have a tiny bit of sentimental value since former Braves pitcher Jaime Garcia will be taking the bump. He was only here for a few months but it’ll be hard to forget his final start in a Braves uniform, which is when he shut down a great Dodgers team and hit a grand slam, to boot. Fortunately, this game will be played in an AL ballpark so we won’t have to worry about Garcia going Babe Ruth on the Braves.
It’s actually been a bit of a rough year for Garcia so far — he’s sitting on an ERA near six and his FIP is at 5.01. It doesn’t help matters that his ground ball rate is down from nearly 55 percent last year to around 42 percent so far this year and his fly ball rate is at 40 percent, compared to it being at 26.6 when he finished last season. In this era, if your ground ball rate is low and your fly ball rate is high, that’s bad news and the proof is in the pudding that has been his inconsistency so far this season.
While the Braves offense will get a chance to beat up on their former teammate, Mike Soroka will get to pitch in his home country. My wildest dreams involve Soroka pulling a James Paxton and returning to Canada to no-hit his opposition in front of his fellow Canadians but I will just settle for Soroka continuing his strong run of form. He showed no signs of slowing down following his return from injury as he went seven strong shutout innings against the Mets during his last time out and is now sitting on a 2.57 ERA and a 2.62 FIP after 21 innings.
If he can keep this up, then he could be in for another good day against an offense that isn’t exactly dominant. The Blue Jays as a team are currently ranked 22nd in all of baseball when it comes to Baseball Prospectus’s True Average stat, but interestingly enough they’re actually one of the top 5 teams in baseball when it comes to Isolated Power. So while the Jays may be having some issues consistently hitting the ball, when they do hit it it goes far so that may be something to keep an eye on for this game.
Hopefully the Braves will just continue their recent trend of hitting well and also keeping their opponent off of the scoreboard. It’s a simple recipe that’s taken them to the top of the National League at this point in the season and it would be lovely to see Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis and the rest of the crew in the lineup continue that trend against competition from the American League.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, June 19, 7:07 p.m. ET
Skydome Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Streaming: MLB.tv (Free Game of the Day)
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM, WYAY 106.7, Braves Radio Network