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Series Preview: A Limp 2015 ALCS Rematch

Remember two years ago when the Jays and Royals were the class of the American League? They had a heated series in early August that was very clearly an ALCS preview and both teams plowed through the league the rest of the way.

Well, things have changed in Kansas City and Toronto. Now, both teams are riding the 2017 out with some early spring training, meaningless September baseball rather than playoff aspirations. Can you really even call this an ALCS rematch?

Tuesday at 7:07

Kansas City hasn’t said who’s going to be starting against Marcus Stroman in the series-opener on Tuesday yet. Going off of who started five games ago for the Royals, I assume it’ll be Erik Skoglund, a 24-year-old, left-handed rookie with a 9.53 ERA through five starts and one relief appearance. But who the hell knows? It’s September, and with an expanded roster it could really be anybody getting the go.

Regardless, we do know Marcus Stroman will start. With 12 games to go in the season, Stroman will likely have three more opportunities to start. That’ll give him a chance, if all goes well, to get his ERA under 3.00 for the season. As of right now, Stroman has the fourth-best ERA among starters in the American League, and he could realistically catch Luis Severino and finish in the top three.

Wednesday at 7:07

Brett Anderson left his last start with blister issues, which is a damn fuckin’ terrifying thing for Blue Jays to hear after what happened to Aaron Sanchez this season. Anyways, it appears Anderson is fine for now. He’s scheduled to make his fifth start for the Jays since being added on a minor league deal back in August. Anderson has been excellent in his reclamation audition, posting a 3.27 ERA through 22 innings, and a strong finish in his last few starts could garner serious consideration for a contract next season.

The Royals will send out rookie Jakob Junis, who’s put together a solid season after settling into the major leagues. Junis owns a 4.15 ERA for the season, though he has improved as the season has gone on. He opened the year bouncing between Triple-A and the majors and originally came up as a reliever, but since getting a solidified spot in the rotation in early August, Junis has a 3.05 ERA and has been a bright spot for the Royals.

Thursday at 7:07

Jason Vargas got off to a weirdly good start to the season, earning himself an All-Star selection for the first time in his career. Since then, though, the wheels have completely fallen off. Vargas owns a 7.11 ERA in 11 starts since his All-Star appearance, and his ERA for the season has collapsed to 4.19. The peripherals, strikeouts and walks, aren’t that different pre- and post-All-Star, but Vargas has been getting drilled for home runs like mad since the mid-summer classic.

He’ll go up against J.A. Happ, who has a quality start in three of his last four outings after a couple of rough starts in late August. Happ has put together another solid season for the Blue Jays, owning a 3.76 ERA over 131 2/3 innings.