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Series Preview: Entering the final month of the season

Heading into this series against the Astros, the Blue Jays have just 27 games remaining this season. With a record of 54-81, there’s still a very real possibility for the Blue Jays to lose over 100 games for the first time since 1979. However, these kids are making it seem like this will be the last time in a very long time for the Blue Jays to be in this position of losing so many games.

Thankfully, the Blue Jays won’t have to face Gerrit Cole or Zack Greinke during this three-game series. Although, the Blue Jays’ pitching staff will have their hands full with this electric Astros’ lineup. As their offense comes into this series with the most runs, RBI’s and highest OPS in the AL since the All-Star break.

Friday at 7:07 ET

Trent Thornton will certainly be looking to record similar results against his former team once again during this game. In his start in Houston back on June 16, Thornton pitched six and 2/3 innings and held the Astros to just six hits and he struck out seven batters as well.

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The 25-year-old also has to be happy that he doesn’t have to face the Mariners again this season. Over Thornton’s last two starts, he’s surrendered a combined seven runs, 14 hits and a trio of home runs as well. While it won’t get any easier against these Astros, Thornton should be motivated once again to produce another outstanding performance against the team that drafted him back in 2015.

Wade Miley has surprisingly pitched extremely effective for the majority of this season. The 32-year-old currently owns a 3.13 ERA, 1.201 WHIP, 4.35 FIP, 7.6 SO/9 along with a 143 ERA+ through his 27 starts this season. Although, limiting the number of hits surrendered has been a bit of a problem for Miley this month. Through his five starts this month, Miley has given up an average of 6.4 hits/game.

Miley was able to keep most of those baserunners on the bases, which is why he hasn’t surrendered more than three earned runs in any of his starts this month. The Blue Jays had a very tough time driving in runs during their series against the Braves, as they hit a measly five-for-23 with RISP. So, the Blue Jays’ lineup may find it tough to cash-in runs once again during this game against Miley.

Saturday at 3:07 ET

I think Clay Buchholz surprised almost everyone with his outstanding performance against the Mariners. Buchholz was near-perfect during his six innings of work against the rebuilding Mariners. The 35-year-old allowed just two runs on three hits and struck out three as well.

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It’s unlikely that the World Series champion from 2013 will be apart of the Blue Jays’ starting rotation beyond this season. But, he’ll likely continue to receive opportunities to start games if he continues to produce quality outings like this recent one.

If not for injuring himself, this would have very likely been the game that Aaron Sanchez made his first return to the Rogers Centre since being dealt by the Blue Jays last month. The former Blue Jays pitcher won’t even make the trip to Toronto, as he’s still recovering from his sore pectoral muscle.

In Sanchez’s place, Framber Valdez will make his second start against the Blue Jays this season. Earlier this season, Valdez held the Blue Jays to just two runs on four hits and set down eight of them on strikes. Valdez is also coming off a very impressive start against the Angels as well. Where the 25-year-old pitched six innings and surrendered a single run on two hits and struck out eight batters.

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Sunday at 1:07 ET

Since the Blue Jays currently have just three starting pitchers, they will likely have to go with another bullpen day in this finale against the Astros. The Blue Jays were actually really successful the last time they went with a bullpen day back on Tuesday against the Braves. Their bullpen held the Braves’ lineup to just one run and recorded a combined ten strikeouts.

Wilmer Font will likely open this game once again for the Blue Jays. The 29-year-old has dominated opposing lineups ever since he became an opener for the Blue Jays. During Font’s latest outing, he held the Braves to just one hit and created four strikeouts during his two innings of work.

Mr. Kate Upton has performed as one of the best pitchers in the AL this season. Justin Verlander currently owns the lowest ERA, WHIP and he also holds the best ERA+ in the AL this season. The 36-year-old trophy husband also hasn’t pitched at the Rogers Centre since 2016 as well.

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Although, Verlander has had a lot of success pitching in “The Six” during his career. Over his last three starts in Toronto, Verlander has surrendered just two runs and struck out a combined 14 batters. Verlander has also been a strikeout machine since his start dating back to July 19. Kate Upton’s other half has created ten strikeouts or more in seven of his last eight starts.