Blue Jays-Indians Preview
In his first career outing against the Cleveland Indians in May, Jo-Jo Reyes picked up his first victory in three years. When he faces the Indians this time, the Toronto Blue Jays left-hander goes for his first win in three weeks.
The Blue Jays will try to snap a three-game skid to the AL Central-leading Indians on Friday night at Progressive Field following a stunning defeat in the series opener.
Trying to avoid becoming the first pitcher in major league history to go winless in 29 starts, Reyes (3-7, 4.85 ERA) threw his first career complete game in an 11-1 win over the visiting Indians (47-39) on May 30.
It was the left-hander's first victory since June 13, 2008, while with Atlanta.
Reyes enters this contest with an 0-2 record and 8.40 ERA in his last three outings after surrendering four runs over six innings of Sunday's 7-4 win over Philadelphia. Reyes settled down after giving up four runs in the second inning, but he was far from having his best stuff.
"He wasn't as sharp. Maybe a little bit of dead arm. A little bit of lack of life through the zone. That happens," manager John Farrell told the Blue Jays' official website. "But Jo-Jo kept us in the game."
The Blue Jays (42-47) were two outs from winning Thursday, but Travis Hafner's walkoff grand slam capped a five-run ninth and sent Toronto to its third straight loss and eighth defeat in 11 games.
"That's a gut-wrenching loss,'' Farrell said.
It was Cleveland's 20th comeback win.
"That was an amazing comeback,'' said Indians manager Manny Acta, who team has won nine of 11 in this matchup. "Before that, it was eight of the most boring innings all season."
Cleveland will go for its sixth straight victory at home against the Blue Jays with Mitch Talbot (2-5, 5.60) on the hill.
The right-hander, 1-5 with a 6.86 ERA in eight starts since returning from a right elbow strain, has struggled early in his outings. Twenty of the 33 runs he's allowed have come in the first three innings of his starts.
"I'm going to have to go to (Pitching coach Tim Belcher) Belch and see what he's seeing," Talbot said after giving up six runs in four innings of Sunday's 7-5 loss at Cincinnati. "... I don't know what to do right now."
Not many pitchers do lately when facing Toronto's Jose Bautista. The All-Star is batting .407 (11 for 27) while homering in five of seven games this month. His solo shot in the ninth inning Thursday was his major league-best 29th - tying George Bell's 24-year-old club record for homers before the All-Star break.
Bautista is 2 for 7 with a homer off Talbot, who yielded one run in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-3 victory at Toronto on May 31.
There's a chance Indians rookie third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall could be out the rest of this series after getting hit by a pitch from Carlos Villanueva on Thursday and suffering a facial contusion.
"He will see a specialist tomorrow,'' Acta said of the club's No. 1 draft pick in 2008.