The Toronto Blue Jays will be out to clinch their second straight series to open the season Tuesday night when they visit the Texas Rangers.
The Blue Jays won the opener of the three-game series Monday afternoon 6-2 behind a superb start from left-hander Steven Matz, who struck out nine while allowing one run in 6 1/3 innings.
Toronto is looking for its third straight win after taking two of three from the host New York Yankees.
Meanwhile, the Rangers are off to a 1-3 start after losing two of three to the host Kansas City Royals.
The Blue Jays will start right-hander Tanner Roark against Rangers right-hander Dane Dunning.
The Blue Jays have talked about being more aggressive on the bases this season, but the home run remains a vital part of their offense. Matz was supported by two second-inning home runs — a two-run blast by Marcus Semien and a solo shot by Cavan Biggio — to help spoil the Rangers’ home opener.
The Blue Jays also used two second-inning home runs on Sunday to produce all their runs in a 3-1 victory over the Yankees
The Blue Jays did steal 23 bases during spring training, but that is not the only object of being more aggressive on the bases.
“That’s one of the things we talked about in spring training to do more, on balls in the dirt and all of that stuff,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “In the first few games, that’s what we’ve done: Be a little more aggressive.”
Semien, who has two home runs, has both of Toronto’s stolen bases this season.
“For me, I just try to pick spots that make sense,” Semien said. “I don’t want to run into outs. … If I could be safe every time, that’s the goal, so I try to pick spots and guys I think I can get. If the legs are feeling good, I’ll go for it.”
Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen was hit on the inside of the knee by a foul ball in the sixth inning Monday. He finished the inning but was replaced by Alejandro Kirk in the seventh.
Montoyo said Jansen was “day to day.” Kirk likely will start Tuesday.
With the Blue Jays playing a string of 16 straight games, Montoyo gave left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. the day off Tuesday.
Rangers center fielder Leody Taveras was out of the lineup on Monday after going 0-for-12 in Kansas City.
Eli White played in center field on Tuesday and was 0-for-2 with a walk. Brock Holt was used as designated hitter and was 1-for-4 with an RBI double.
“I wanted (Taveras) in there, obviously,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “He’s had his struggles the first couple games, and that has something to do with it. I definitely wanted him out there, but at the same time, I’m putting Brock in there because I know he can handle the lefties, and obviously we’re still trying to win a game. He’ll be out there the next two games, so it’s a tough one.”
Taveras struck out as a pinch hitter to end the game.
Roark is 0-4 with a 3.91 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers.
Dunning, who is making his Rangers debut after being acquired from the Chicago White Sox in trade, has never faced the Blue Jays.
–Field Level Media