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Game #158 Preview: James vs Gaviglio

Astros (99-57) vs Blue Jays (71-86)

MLB: Houston Astros at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

After a hard fought loss last night, the Jays get right back at it this evening for game 2 of 3 against the Astros. The game is set to get underway at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Sam Gaviglio makes his 23rd and perhaps last start of the season. He is 3-8 with a 5.18 ERA, but pitching to a much nicer 4.68 FIP. That 4.68 is an acceptable pitcher, someone I wouldn’t hate to watch every 5th game. His xFIP is an even better 4.08, which would be a pretty impressive 5th starter. But Gaviglio is doing that at an average of about 5 innings per start, which is a little less than you’d like to see out of any prototypical starter, unless you’re looking to burn through your bullpen pretty quickly.

His last time out against the Rays, Gaviglio went those 5 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, striking out 2 to just 1 walk. He was pulled after just 67 pitches, as he had a rough 4th inning where he allowed the 2 runs, and then the 5th inning saw a single and 2 loud outs. It was pretty obvious that he didn’t have it anymore. But neither did the bullpen. They surrendered 6 runs over the next 2 innings, and it took a wonderful 7 run 9th inning for the Blue Jays to win it.

Astros’ Starter

Rookie Joshua James makes his 3rd start of the season, and 5th appearance overall. He entered the rotation on September 1 as the Astros expanded to a 6 man rotation occasionally, and has done a good job. He is 1-0 with a 2.81 ERA, and has pitched quite well in his 2 starts. In 10.1 innings total, he has allowed 3 runs on 7 hits, walking 5 and striking out 16. The strikeouts have featured prominently for James throughout his Minor League run, as he possesses a great fastball and slider, but not much in the way of command. He probably becomes a high strikeout reliever, especially due to the abundance of high quality starters the Astros have, but there’s a chance he sticks in the rotation for a bit.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

It was sad to see Lourdes Gurriel Jr. come out of the game in the first inning last night. All this excitement to be playing against his brother comes down to one forgettable inning for him. I am expecting he’ll be out of the lineup today, but I’m hoping the injury isn’t anything serious and he could play tomorrow. On the other hand, I’m also on Team Shut Him Down, since the games mean nothing now anyway.

Rowdy Tellez had the day off yesterday, so I’m hoping he’s back in there. Same for Billy McKinney, and I’d expect them to be getting the start against the right handed James.

Devon Travis has played just once in the last 5 games, as Richard Ureña has been garnering a lot of starts at second base. This may be what we see through the end of the season, although maybe Ureña moves to SS with Gurriel out of the lineup.

Astros’ Lineup

As the Astros go for their 100th win tonight (I really hope we win the next 2 - it sucks being the team that gives up the 100th win to the only teams that make it there, even if it means nothing), they also look to clinch the AL West as a win and an Oakland A’s loss gets them the Division Title.

Since it could be clinch day today, look for the lineup to be packed with starters, with the exception of Carlos Correa. He missed his 5th straight game with back problems yesterday, and while he took batting practice yesterday and is expected back soon, today isn’t likely to be that day. I’m sure they’re hoping for this weekend against the Orioles to get some reps in before they host Cleveland in the ALDS.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Ketel Marte went 3-4, falling a double short of the cycle in his bid to earn the Monster Bat award. His Diamondbacks still lost 7-4 to the first place Dodgers, who kept their 1.5 game lead over the Rockies.

Corey Kluber went 7 strong innings against the White Sox, allowing just 5 baserunners and earning his 20th win of the season. It was a scoreless game until the top of the 7th, when Cleveland plated their first run of the game, so 7 scoreless innings in tie and close game gave Kluber the WPA King title with a .468 mark. Cleveland went on to win 4-0, solidly defeating an AL Central team once again.

Bryan Mitchell fell one out short of a shutout, being pulled after he walked the bases loaded. It was a 5-0 game at that point, and Kirby Yates came on to preserve the shutout and earn the save. Those 8.2 masterful innings earns Mitchell the Pitcher of the Day honour in the 5-0 win over the Giants.

Find the Link

Find the link between James and Seth Lugo.