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Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Holiday weekend

Despite getting swept by the Yankees, the Blue Jays come into this four-game series continuing to play their best-baseball this season. Over the past week, the Blue Jays have recorded the 2nd-most runs and hits in the AL. If the Blue Jays’ pitching staff hadn’t surrendered an average of 6.2 runs/game over their last six games, then this team could have swept both the Red Sox and Yankees.

However, the Blue Jays have a very good chance at coming away with a sweep of the Royals in this series. The Royals offense has been nowhere to be found this month. Their offense currently ranks 2nd-last in home runs, OBP and OPS this month. So if the Blue Jays’ offense can continue to produce in this series, then both the Blue Jays and Raptors could be winners following this holiday weekend.

Friday at 7:07 ET

Sean Reid-Foley will be getting the start in the opener of this four-game series against the Royals. The man who owns one of the worst mustaches in the league, will be getting another chance to show that he can become a starter at the major-league level.

The 23-year-old hasn’t exactly earned this promotion to the major leagues this season. Reid-Foley has struggled in his 13 starts at triple-A this season. He owns a 5.87 ERA, 1.522 WHIP, and a 6.7 BB9. If Reid-Foley struggles in this start, then the Blue Jays could consider a permanent move to the bullpen.

Danny Duffy will need to find a way to keep the ball on the ground in this start against the Blue Jays. Duffy has allowed 31 fly balls and just eleven ground balls over his last two starts. With all those fly balls, the 30-year-old is very lucky that he didn’t give up more than four home runs over those two starts.

The Blue Jays have hit the 5th-most home runs in the AL over the past week. Which means this could be a very short outing for Duffy if he’s unable to keep the ball from leaving the park.

Saturday at 4:07 ET

Stro-Show was excellent in his latest-start against the Red Sox. The soon-to-be former-Blue Jay pitched six scoreless-innings against one of the best-offenses in the entire league. Not only did this start lower Stroman’s ERA to just over three, but this showed to contending teams once again that Stroman can be effective against this Red Sox lineup.

Which means this will very likely be Stroman’s final start as a Blue Jay during Canada Day weekend. The Royals have recorded the 4th-fewest amount of hits in the AL this month. So as long as Stroman receives more than two runs of support, then he should have no problem earning his sixth win of the season.

David Dewitt Bailey(or Homer Bailey as most people know him as), has been fantastic over his last three starts. Bailey has surrendered just one run over his last 19 innings of work. The 33-year-old has also recorded 17 strikeouts over that same timeframe as well.

Bailey has been most-successful this season when he’s inducing a lot of ground balls. The Royals have committed the fewest-amount of errors in the entire league so far this season. Which means the Blue Jays will have to find a way to keep the ball in the air in this game. Or they could find themselves hitting into a lot of double-plays.

Sunday at 1:07 ET

Aaron Sanchez wasn’t all that bad in his last start against the Yankees. The man who was born on Canada Day was pitching extremely well up until the fifth inning. Sanchez had allowed just a pair of hits leading into that fifth inning. But, location then became a problem once again for Sanchez.

As he surrendered seven hits and seven runs through his final inning and a third of work before exiting. Finding consistency with the location of his pitches continues to be a major problem for Sanchez this season. Sanchez is now tied for the most-walks among pitchers in the AL this season. Hopefully, a start against the Royals will give him an opportunity to correct his release point.

Brad Keller is tied along with Sanchez for the most-walks in the AL this season. That stat would make you think that Keller has had little success this season as well. But, that hasn’t been the case for Keller this season. The 23-year-old has been inconsistent this season. But, Keller has been extremely well in four of his five starts this month.

Keller has pitched seven innings or more in three of those four starts. He has also given up no more than three runs in any of those four starts this month. So the Blue Jays’ hitters will need to be patient at the plate, and force a lot of deep counts to be successful in this game.

Monday at 1:07 ET

Clayton Richard will be getting the start on Canada Day for the Blue Jays. The 35-year-old actually settled in nicely after surrendering three home runs in the first two innings against the Yankees in his latest start. While Richard has been blown up for a home run in every one of his starts this month, he has been able to provide length in his last three starts.

The Blue Jays’ starters haven’t been able to consistently pitch deep into games this season. So despite Richard’s 6.89 ERA, he’ll continue to be an option in this rotation for the Blue Jays, if he can somewhat limit the damage and continue to pitch at least five innings or more.

Most people probably don’t even remember Glenn Sparkman’s very short tenure with the Blue Jays back in 2017. But the 27-year-old has actually improved since his short time with the Blue Jays. In his seven starts this season, Sparkman owns a 4.06 ERA and a 1.115 WHIP in his 37.2 innings pitched.

Although, Sprarky is coming off of one of his worst-starts of the season. Sparkman gave up five runs on seven hits along with three home runs in five and 2/3 innings pitched. Sparkman has also surrendered at least one home run in his last four starts. Which means the Blue Jays shouldn’t have much trouble against the forgotten about one-time Blue Jay.