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MLB Baseball

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Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Toronto0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 270
Kansas City0 1 0 3 1 1 0 0 x 6120
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  W: B. Flynn (3-3)   L: S. Gaviglio (2-6)
5:15 PM PT6:15 PM MT7:15 PM CT8:15 PM ET20:15 ET0:15 GMT8:15 5:15 PM MST7:15 PM EST7:45 PM VEN4:15 UAE (+1)7:15 PM CT, August 16, 2018
Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri  Attendance: 14,894

Royals throwing young arms at Blue Jays

According to STATS
According to STATS

Toronto Blue Jays at Kansas City Royals

  1. The Blue Jays swept the Royals in the first series between these teams this season, outscoring Kansas City 31-12 and slashing .330/.429/.554 in the three-game set. The Blue Jays are hitting .264 in August, fourth-highest in the AL, and on pace for the team's best batting average in a single month this season.
  2. The Royals have gone 2-9 through 11 games in August. In two wins, the team scored 19 runs (9.5 runs per game), and in the nine losses they scored just 21 runs (2.3 runs per game). The Royals pitching staff has allowed opponents to hit .287 in August, ranking 28th in MLB and last in the AL.
  3. Aldemys Diaz has made the third-largest improvement in OPS in MLB since the All-Star break; his OPS was .670 before the break, and 1.108 since the break. He has already hit seven homers since the break after totaling just eight in the first half of the season.
  4. Before going 0-for-3 yesterday, Alcides Escobar went on a four-game hitting streak while scoring four runs and bumping his average back over the .200 mark. In August, his OPS is .879, while his OPS pre-August was .514. That differential ranks eighth in MLB among qualifying hitters.
  5. Since the All-Star break, the Blue Jays pitching staff has a 5.53 ERA, ranking 28th in baseball, and has allowed opponents to hit .279, 29th in baseball. Sean Reid-Foley will be making his Major League debut for the Jays today; he has compiled a 2.98 ERA this season between AA and AAA.
  6. Brad Keller has thrown 88.1 innings and allowed just three home runs since debuting on Opening Day this season. He has allowed the fewest home runs of any pitcher in MLB with at least 80.0 innings this season, and his .330 opponent slugging percentage ranks fifth in the AL. The only four better than him: Sale, Bauer, Cole, and Snell, in that order (minimum 80.0 innings).
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 8/13/2018 thru 8/16/2018

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With Danny Duffy and Ian Kennedy on the disabled list, the Kansas City Royals' rotation consists of four freshmen -- Glenn Sparkman, Jorge Lopez, Brad Keller and Heath Fillmyer -- and one sophomore in Jakob Junis.

Sparkman will make his first career start on Thursday night against the Toronto Blue Jays after eight relief appearances. Lopez, who was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers as part of the Mike Moustakas trade, made his third career start on Wednesday.

Junis has made 38 starts, including 16 as a rookie last year. Keller has made 13 starts and Fillmyer six.

Sparkman (0-1, 5.06 ERA) is the oldest of the quintet at 26, while Lopez and Junis are 25. Fillmyer is 24 and Keller just turned 23.

"It's just getting your feet wet and understanding how good you can be," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's about commanding the strike zone and changing speeds. It's not pitching behind in the count with good stuff. It's about pitching ahead in the count with good stuff.

"It's just continuing to trust in your stuff, believing in your stuff and go out and compete within yourself."

Fillmyer walked five -- three wound up scoring -- and hit a batter in five innings in a no-decision Tuesday against the Blue Jays. While Keller won on Monday, Yost mentioned he threw more balls than strikes in the first two innings.

"That's not going to work," Yost said. "You have to get ahead in the count. Instead of five-six pitch decisions, there were three-and-four pitch decisions (after the second inning). He was ahead in the count. He did a better job of keeping them off-balance. You always can when you're ahead in the count.

"You're behind in the count, they are sitting on your best percentage pitch. Most of these guys, it's a fastball. When you're ahead in the count, they can't do that. It creates a little bit of a doubt. Their stuff is all good enough to be successful when that little bit of doubt is in the back of a hitter's mind."

Sparkman threw 68 pitches over 4 1/3 innings in a relief appearance Friday against St. Louis. He retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced before giving up a home run to Harrison Bader in the sixth.

"These young guys they think they're good now, but until you know you're good, it's a big door to walk through: thinking you're good and knowing you're good. Once you know you're good, you've got it. These kids for the most part, their stuff is pretty good. They'll continue to refine and develop their pitches and their command."

Toronto will counter with right-hander Sam Gaviglio, who was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in four outings, including two starts, last September with Kansas City. The Royals traded him to the Jays in spring training for a player to be named.

Gaviglio (2-5, 4.86) said facing his former team for the first time does not give him an extra incentive.

"They gave me a chance last year," Gaviglio said. "I'm thankful for that. I'm still friends with a lot of guys. I got to catch up with them a little bit a couple of days ago.

"I don't think it really changes anything. As long as I execute my pitches, I'll be fine."

Gaviglio has struck out 14 in 11 innings in his past two starts.

"I think a little more consistency," Gaviglio said. "I think everything's kind of coming out a lot more off my fastball than it has in the past. Just learning myself and how to execute and what I want to do to hitters."

In his last eight starts, he has pitched through the sixth inning only once.

"Just attack guys and get some early outs, some quick outs," Gaviglio said of his goal to pitch deeper into the game. "We've got some good catchers here and defense. Just trust it."

The Blue Jays are 5-1 against the Royals this season after winning 6-5 Wednesday night behind Curtis Granderson's two-out, fourth-inning grand slam. Lopez was the losing pitcher in his Kansas City debut.

Toronto is 12-13 since the All-Star break. The Royals have lost 11 of their last 13 and dropped to 36-84 for the season.

Updated August 16, 2018

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