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Game #121 Preview: Gaviglio vs Sparkman

Blue Jays (55-65) vs Royals (36-84)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays wrap up their 4 game set in Kansas City today, looking to take 3 of 4 against the Royals. Today’s finale gets underway at 8:15 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Sam Gaviglio looks to make his 17th start of the season against the team that he made 4 appearances down the stretch for last season. In Gaviglio’s 16 starts (and 2 relief appearances) he is 2-5 with a 4.86 ERA. He has done a decent job all season getting strikeouts (8.75 per 9 innings) as well as limiting walks (2.92 per 9 innings), but his biggest culprit has been the home runs. He has allowed 14 home runs over his 83.1 innings, a rate a little worse than 1 every 6 innings.

Despite having a few good starts over the last couple months, Gaviglio has not earned a win since his second start with the Blue Jays, a streak he is looking to end tonight.

Royals’ Starter

The Royals were anticipating using left hander Danny Duffy in the series finale, but he has ended up on the DL with shoulder problems. Earning the start in his place is Glenn Sparkman. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because he was the Blue Jays’ Rule 5 draft pick for last year. Sparkman spent the first two months last year on the DL before beginning a long rehab stint in the Minors for the Jays. He made it to the Majos at the end of June, and allowed 7 runs on 9 hits over 1 total inning of work in a series against the Red Sox, and he was returned to the Royals.

This will be Sparkman’s first career start. Outside of those 2 appearances last year for the Jays, he has made another 8 for the Royals this year. In 16 innings, he has allowed 9 runs on 19 hits, while also walking 7. His 16 starts in AA/AAA have gone a bit better, where he is 7-3 with a 3.96 ERA. He is doing a good job limiting walks, at 1.12 per 9 innings, and he’s pitching about 5.5 innings per start.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Curtis Granderson will likely get the start again today with the righty Sparkman on the mound. This is the 6th straight righty that the Jays have faced, and all 3 starting outfielders, plus Granderson and Kendrys Morales have sat in order to cycle through everyone. This game might see the Jays sit Justin Smoak as they move Morales to 1B.

Today’s lineup will help shed some light on what John Gibbons looks to do with his catching group going forward. After Danny Jansen caught Sean Reid-Foley and Ryan Borucki, it made sense to give him the day off. But now that he’s rested back up, do the Jays let him catch Gaviglio today, give him the day off tomorrow, and then catch Reid-Foley and Borucki again this weekend? Or are those 2 the only ones he’s catching? Luke Maile heading on the paternity list PDQ probably means more playing time for Jansen too.

Royals’ Lineup

Considering how poorly they were ranked coming into the series (dead last in runs, second worst wRC+), the Jays’ pitchers have done a good job of making the Royals hitters look pretty good. Over the first 3 games, they have scored 13 runs and hit .271/.346/.479 (123 wRC+) while hitting 4 home runs and stealing 4 bases. Thankfully their pitching has also played a part in their Major League worst run differential, but the Blue Jays pitching certainly hasn’t taken advantage of a weak hitting Royals’ club.

The Royals have rolled out pretty much the exact same lineup in the first 3 games of this series, with the lone exception being Ryan O’Hearn getting the start in the opener in place of Jorge Bonifacio. They might look to get their bench players into the finale today, but that’s just speculation.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Salvador Perez and Evan Gattis are the co-winners of the Monster Bat award. Both hitters went 3-4 with a pair of homers and a single. While Gattis was able to help his Astros to the big 12-1 win over the Rockies, Perez failed in the Royals 6-5 loss to the Blue Jays.

Brett Anderson and Mike Leake were locked in a really great pitcher’s duel last night. Anderson went 7.2 shutout innings on 5 hits, while Leake made it a full 8 with just 2 hits. It was that little extra goodness that gets Leake the Pitcher of the Day, as well as the superior WPA and the WPA King title with a .552 mark. Dee Gordon hit a 2 run home run in the top of the 12th to give the Mariners the 2-0 win, while Edwin Diaz picked up his 47th save. I mention him because he’s on pace for history this year, and you should all pay attention to the mighty save stat (but challenging records is in fact cool, regardless of how bad a stat is).

Find the Link

Find the link between Sparkman and Ender Inciarte.