Jeff Banister Juggles Lineup for Game 2

With Game 2 looming, Jeff Banister has made some changes to his lineup.

  • Shin-Soo Choo will be on the bench today against the left-handed J.A. Happ, with Nomar Mazara getting the start in right field. Additionally, Mitch Moreland sits in favor of Ryan Rua.
  • The Moreland-Rua switch, on the surface, seems to make the most sense, until you realize that Mitch Moreland actually have reverse splits in 2016. He put up a 110 wRC+ against lefties and a 81 wRC+ against righties. Of course, that was in significantly fewer plate appearances -- 100 against 403 -- so it's probably not the type of trend you'd expect to become the norm given Mitch's career trend. Being the playoffs, you roll with a platoon advantage anywhere you think you might have it. As it stands, he put up a wRC+ of 53 over the final two months of the season with an OPS of .589.
  • That Mazara is getting the start against the left-hander would seem, to me, to indicate that perhaps Shin-Soo Choo isn't completely ready for face lefties himself, as Mazara's splits on the season leave something to be desired in these situations. His wRC+ is 44 against lefties versus 107 against righties, and only one of his 20 home runs came against a left-handed pitcher.
  • Of course, with Yu Darvish going, the hope would be that Texas doesn't need more than a few runs from the offense. To have success against this Toronto lineup, Darvish will need to be able to get ahead with his fastball, thereby allowing him to rely on his entire repertoire to put hitters away. It's mostly fruitless to look at how he has fared against Toronto, as he hasn't faced them since 2014. He's typically pitched well against them in his career, but this is a significantly different lineup than those he's previously faced.
  • Other than that, it's mostly the same as yesterday. Just go out and be the better team for today. Simple as that.