Kansas City Royals (73-77) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (71-80)
MLB Baseball: Thursday, September 21st, 7:07 pm EST
Jason Vargas (16-10, 4.19 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (9-10, 3.76 ERA)
Line: Toronto -164
The Royals close out a three-game series in Toronto versus the Blue Jays on Thursday. The Royals lost their third straight game in the opening game of the series on Tuesday, getting beaten by a score of 5-2. It might have been the last coffin in the nail for the Royals, who overcame a horrible start and actually led the wild card race at different points, but now they are 4.5 games out with 12 to play. It’s still feasible, but becoming more difficult.
The Blue Jays could never overcome their terrible start and were never really in the mix, although if they sweep this series, they will actually only be a half game behind the Royals. Despite this, the Royals were actually in contention for most of the year, while the Blue Jays never made a big push. Changes will be made in Toronto almost assuredly.
Vargas has had great year
He’s won his last two starts to get to 16 wins on the year, and that’s really an amazing accomplishment for a guy who is 34 years old and looked to be on the downturn of his career. And despite all that, I don’t quite trust him on the mound right now. His last two wins he’s only gone five innings, and he looks to be somewhat running out of gas. He hasn’t gone over six innings in 10 starts.
Before the two-game winning streak, he lost four straight starts where he gave up 20 earned runs. His ERA is over four now, despite getting off to an amazing start. I feel the last two wins are more luck, and I think he is running on fumes now. I don’t expect him to pitch well on Thursday.
Happ has won three straight
It’s a little late now since so much was expected from the Blue Jays this year, but J.A. Happ is finally starting to pitch well. To little, too late obviously. He’s increased his win/loss record to 9-10 and lowered his ERA to 3.76. He’s allowed only six earned runs over his last four starts and is finally looking like the guy who almost won the Cy Young last year.
On the year, his numbers aren’t all that bad despite having a losing record. A 3.76 ERA is respectable and his WHIP of 1.35 and batting average against of .255 are respectable. He does have a few too many walks and that helped derail a better season. He’s probably somewhere between this year and last year overall as a pitcher.
The Kansas City Royals are:
- 1-5 in their last 6 overall
- 0-4 in their last 4 Thursday games
The Toronto Blue Jays are:
- 5-1 in their last 6 games on astroturf
- 5-1 in their last 6 vs. a team with a losing record
The Royals need this game more since they are still in the race, but I don’t trust Vargas right now. I like Toronto to put up a lot of runs and win easily.