Nationals aim for another win over 'host' Blue Jays

·3 min read

The Washington Nationals will be going for the split of the four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday as they act as the visiting team in their home park for the second game in a row.

The Nationals won 4-0 in 10 innings Wednesday night as the visiting team after dropping the first two games as the home team.

The Blue Jays will start left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (0-0, 5.79 ERA) against right-hander Erick Fedde (0-0, 2.25).

The teams were originally scheduled to play the first two games at Nationals Park and the final two at Toronto, which would have been the home-opening series for the Blue Jays. The Canadian government ruled that the Blue Jays could not play at home against U.S. teams during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ryu, the Blue Jays' major offseason free agent acquisition, will be making his second start for Toronto. He allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday in the season opener.

Ryu will be getting five days between starts instead of the normal four days.

"I don't think that had any negative effects in the past," Ryu said through an interpreter on Wednesday. "I'm used to the extra day of rest."

He is 2-1 with a 1.35 ERA in five career starts against the Nationals, all with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ryu had a 1.37 ERA in three starts against the Nationals last season, including Game 3 of the NLDS.

The Blue Jays were still without shortstop Bo Bichette (tight left hamstring), outfielder Randal Grichuk (lower-back irritation) and infielder Travis Shaw (family leave).

Bichette took grounders on Wednesday, so a return is possible on Thursday.

The Nationals could have left fielder Juan Soto back this weekend from a positive test for COVID-19, though Washington's weekend series against the Miami Marlins already was postponed. The Marlins, who had numerous players test positive for COVID-19, will not play again until Monday at the earliest.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Soto could be able to work out with the team Saturday if he gains approval from the D.C. Department of Health.

Fedde will be making his second start in place of Stephen Strasburg, who is recovering from a nerve issue in his right hand.

"(Strasburg) has very minimal pain, if not any pain, in his thumb now," Martinez said. "Hopefully, we get through this and he can pitch and help us win ballgames. But we want to make sure this doesn't become an issue or problem somewhere else."

Strasburg could throw a side session on Thursday or Friday.

"We want to make sure the mechanics are right, that he's throwing the ball properly and that he's able to go out there and do what he's capable of doing," Martinez said.

Fedde pitched in place of Strasburg on Saturday, allowing two runs (one earned), four hits and one walk while striking out three over four innings against the New York Yankees. The Nationals won 9-2.

Fedde has never faced the Blue Jays.

--Field Level Media