The Toronto Blue Jays will be out to complete a three-game sweep of the visiting Chicago White Sox on Thursday afternoon and extend their winning streak to eight games.
The Blue Jays won the middle game of the series against the depleted White Sox 7-3 on Wednesday night.
The margin provided a little bit of a breather for the Blue Jays, whose four previous victories were by one run, including a 6-5 win over the White Sox on Tuesday. Toronto is 15-7 in one-run games this season.
The Blue Jays have won the first two games of a six-game homestand that followed a 5-1 road trip.
“The total team effort, that everybody is doing something to win the game — as manager, I love that,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “The pinch hitters, the guys who aren’t playing, the pitching, (the fact) that three different guys have closed games.”
The Blue Jays were without center fielder/leadoff hitter George Springer on Wednesday because of what Montoyo said was a non-COVID illness.
“He’ll be fine,” the manager said.
Second baseman Santiago Espinal batted leadoff in Springer’s place on Wednesday and hit his third home run of the season in the first inning. That matched the home run hit by Chicago left fielder AJ Pollock to lead off the game. It was the third home run of the season for Pollock, who did not play Tuesday because of illness.
The Blue Jays will send out right-hander Alek Manoah (5-1, 1.77 ERA) against White Sox right-hander Johnny Cueto (0-1. 2.41) on Thursday.
Manoah has faced the White Sox twice in his career, posting a 1.64 ERA in 11 innings with no wins or losses. Cueto is 2-0 with a 4.05 ERA in three career starts against the Blue Jays, although he has not faced them since 2015.
The White Sox, who have lost five of their past seven games, have been beset by injuries, including a groin ailment that will keep All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson sidelined for at least three weeks.
Anderson, who is with the team, said, “I’m just being the biggest cheerleader there is, you know, just cheering them on and bringing my energy to the dugout and staying positive.”
He was injured making a fielding play on Sunday in a 5-4, 12-inning victory over the visiting Chicago Cubs.
“Hopefully getting back as quick as I can, but also coming back fully healthy and being smart with the body,” Anderson said. “I don’t really have a timetable. All I can do is keep rehabbing and keep working to get back. I feel good, I feel fine. I feel it a little bit, but other than that, I feel like I’m in a good spot.”
The White Sox had Luis Robert back in the lineup on Wednesday, and he went 1-for-4 as designated hitter. He was coming off the COVID-19 injury list and had last played on May 22.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa said Robert’s stamina was not 100 percent.
“We’ll see how he is (Thursday),” La Russa said. “It’s good to get him back.”
La Russa held out Yoan Moncada (right quadriceps) on Wednesday but said that the third baseman could have played.
“We didn’t want to run the risk playing (him Wednesday) and him being stiff (Thursday) because we need every left-hander we can get in the lineup against right-hander Alek Manoah,” La Russa said.
The Thursday game will be the third of a six-game trip for the White Sox, who head to Tampa Bay this weekend.
–Field Level Media