Following yet another successful game at the plate, the Blue Jays look to sweep the Indians for the first time since 2002 as they conclude a three-game set Wednesday.
Toronto (15-13) has won three straight and five of six, including an 8-5 win over Cleveland (10-16) on Tuesday night. The Blue Jays now have a chance to sweep the Indians for the first time since a three-game series on the road from Sept. 9-11, 2002.
Strong production at the plate has played a large role in Toronto’s recent success, and light-hitting Cleveland hardly seems to be in any position to keep up. The Blue Jays have 14 home runs in their last six games and lead the majors with 42.
“They lead the league in home runs, but they also lead the league in strikeouts,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “We’ve got to make pitches. … We haven’t in two days.”
The Blue Jays’ pitchers, meanwhile, have done an outstanding job of keeping opponents from going deep. The staff has surrendered one homer in its last 89 innings, dating to April 24 at Tampa Bay.
Brandon Morrow(notes) (2-2, 5.46 ERA), set to take the mound for the Blue Jays, hasn’t given up a homer in his last three starts, going 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA. The right-hander allowed two runs and struck out nine in six innings to earn a win in Toronto’s 10-2 victory over Oakland on Friday night.
“I just see him getting a little better,” manager Cito Gaston said. “(Pitching coach Bruce Walton) has dropped his arm slot a little bit and he’s been a better pitcher.”
This is Morrow’s first start against the Indians. He’s 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA in six relief appearances against them.
Cleveland will counter with Fausto Carmona(notes) (3-1, 4.05), who is coming off his worst start this season, surrendering six runs in six innings of a 9-3 loss to Minnesota on Friday night. The right-hander gave up three runs or fewer in each of his previous four outings.
Carmona is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts versus the Blue Jays.
Cleveland’s pitchers haven’t been getting much support. The Indians have been held to three or fewer runs in 16 of their 26 games.
The four runs scored by Cleveland in the third inning were as many as it had in its previous 20 innings. The Indians were without shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera(notes), and he’s expected to miss the next couple of days due to a strained left quadriceps.
Acta hopes Cabrera can return Friday against Detroit. Cabrera, Cleveland’s leadoff hitter, is tied for the team lead with 14 runs.