Kevin Gausman was born not far from Coors Field and grew up watching the Colorado Rockies during the most successful seasons.
The Centennial, Colo., native cut his baseball teeth pitching in the thin air for Grandview High School when the Rockies made their only World Series appearance.
On Sunday, the Toronto Blue Jays ace returns to Denver to face Colorado in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Toronto posted a 13-9 victory in the series opener on Friday before the Rockies held off a ninth-inning rally to secure an 8-7 victory on Saturday.
The loss kept the Blue Jays (74-62) from gaining ground on the Texas Rangers in the American League wild-card race. They trail the Rangers by 1 1/2 games for the third and final wild-card spot.
Gausman (10-8, 3.30) will make his seventh career start against Colorado. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 4.19 ERA in his six starts against his hometown team.
The Rockies will counter with right-hander Chase Anderson (0-4, 6.08), who will come off the injured list to make his first appearance since late July. Anderson was placed on the 15-day injured list on July 28, retroactive to July 25, with right shoulder inflammation.
He is 1-1 with a 7.56 ERA in two career starts against Toronto.
The Blue Jays suffered more than a loss on the field on Saturday. Catcher Danny Jansen, who hit his 17th homer on Friday night, was placed on the 10-day injured list Saturday due to a fractured right middle finger.
Toronto nearly rallied from three runs down in the ninth, scoring twice before pinch-hitter Spencer Horwitz struck out with the bases loaded. Had the Blue Jays tied it or gone ahead, it would have forced manager John Schneider to juggle his defense for the bottom of the ninth.
“If you take the lead there, Cavan (Biggio) is playing shortstop, Vladimir (Guerrero) is playing third and Spencer is at first. It’s all hands on deck,” he said. “They know that. You’ve got to take your shots when you can.”
Despite having the worst record in the National League, Colorado (50-85) has young players taking their shots when they can and contributing in different ways. Rookie Brenton Doyle, despite having a three-run triple Saturday night, is batting just .187 but he has played exceptional defense.
Doyle threw out another baserunner to end the first inning. If his bat comes around, he could be a mainstay in the Rockies’ lineup.
“We think he’s an everyday center fielder,” manager Bud Black said. “It’s hard to hit in the big leagues. He’s got some adjustments to make this offseason. I think there’s a winter ball scenario in there for him to work on some things we’re addressing now.
“He’s a really good outfielder. You like that in our park. You’ve seen it for all the time that he’s been here he’s helped us win ballgames with his glove and his arm.”
–Field Level Media