The Toronto Blue Jays hope to reverse their disappointing start to their six-game home streak when they open a three-game series against the visiting Washington Nationals on Monday night.
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The Blue Jays lost two of their first three home games, including a 10-7 loss in 11 innings to the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday. Toronto is 2 1/2 games away from the last wildcard spot in the American League.
The Nationals suffered a 2-1 loss to the Miami Marlins on Sunday and are 4-2 on their current nine-game road trip ending in Toronto.
Toronto is scheduled to start right-hander Kevin Gausman (9-8, 3.23 ERA) on Monday. In 11 career appearances (10 starts) against Washington, Gausman is 6-3 with a 4.77 ERA.
Most recently, Gausman allowed two runs with five hits in six innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. He suffered his second defeat in a row.
Washington will turn to right-hander Josiah Gray (7-10, 3.85). In his only start against the Blue Jays on August 18, 2021, he allowed two runs with five hits in six innings.
Gray didn’t make a decision in his last start, allowing a one-hit run in six innings against the New York Yankees last Tuesday.
Toronto hit back-to-back home runs from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Davis Schneider and a solo shot from Geoge Springer on Sunday, but the Blue Jays again failed to make ends meet.
“It’s a tough loss,” said Toronto manager John Schneider. “It’s the little things that count. As difficult as it is, you have to regroup and move on. Every game is important.”
Injuries could pose problems for the Blue Jays as shortstop Bo Bichette (right quadriceps strain) and third baseman Matt Chapman (right middle finger infection) had to pull out of Sunday’s game.
John Schneider said Bichette is day-to-day and will be re-evaluated on Monday. He noted the injury was “unrelated” to the knee problem, which put Bichette on the 10-day injured list earlier this month.
“[Bichette]felt it and acted it out a little bit,” said John Schneider. “We just wanted to be careful. I don’t think he really hurt anything. It was more of a precaution than anything else.”
Chapman missed time earlier this month with the same injury after injuring his finger in the weight room. On Sunday, he was replaced in the sixth inning by pinch-hitter Whit Merrifield after suffering a 10-pitch-at-bat in the fourth that allegedly injured his finger.
“There were a lot of swings, especially when hitting,” said John Schneider. “He dealt with it. He’s going to have an MRI done (Sunday night) just to kind of check everything.”
Before Sunday’s game, Toronto fielded right-hander Erik Swanson (thoracic spine inflammation) for the 15-day IL and recalled right-hander Jay Jackson from Triple-A Buffalo. Jackson finally allowed Kole Calhoun’s two-run double and Ramon Laureano’s two-run home run in the 11th.
Nationals outfielder Jacob Young made his major league debut as a pinch runner on Saturday after being called up by Triple-A Rochester. He got his first start on Sunday when he won 0-3 with a walk.
“He’s going to get a chance to go out and play every day for the most part,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of Young. “We’re going to play him in a midfield, play him in a left field and then we’re going to go from there. But I want to see what he can do.”
Source : deadspin.com