Indians look to bounce back vs. Blue Jays
CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays will play the second game of their three-game series at Progressive Field on Saturday, and the Blue Jays’ lineup will be missing one of its biggest bats.
Prior to Friday’s game, Toronto placed third baseman Josh Donaldson on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
The Blue Jays didn’t miss Donaldson on Friday, however, as they rolled to an 8-4 victory, snapping Cleveland’s five-game winning streak.
Donaldson has been bothered by the injury since the start of the season. While on the DL, he will work out in Florida.
“He’ll go down there and get on a throwing program. Hopefully it’s not too long. I don’t think it will be,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons.
In 12 games for the Blue Jays — seven at third base and five at designated hitter — Donaldson hit .239, with three home runs and nine RBIs. He was the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2015, when he hit .297, with 41 home runs and a league-leading 123 RBIs.
Yangervis Solarte started at third base Friday night for the Blue Jays, and Gibbons said he will get most of the playing time at third while Donaldson is out.
To replace Donaldson on the roster, the Blue Jays called up outfielder Teoscar Hernandez from Triple-A Buffalo, where in 18 at-bats he was hitting .278 with two home runs and three RBIs. Hernandez started in left field for the Blue Jays on Friday, and was 2-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs.
Kluber is coming off an outstanding performance in his last start, a 2-0 win over Detroit on April 9, in which he pitched eight scoreless innings on two hits, with 13 strikeouts and one walk.
Last year, Kluber started one game against Toronto, an 8-1 win on July 23. In that game, he pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits with 14 strikeouts and two walks. In six career starts against the Blue Jays, Kluber is 2-3 with a 4.46 ERA.
Garcia’s last start was a 7-4 win over Texas on April 8. In that game, he pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits, with five strikeouts and two walks. In two career starts against Cleveland, both of them last year, Garcia is 0-2 with a 5.59 ERA.
The Indians’ previously slumbering lineup could be a challenge for Garcia. One of the hotter hitters of late has been center fielder Bradley Zimmer, who had three hits in Cleveland’s 9-3 win over Detroit on Thursday, and was 1-for-4 on Friday.
Zimmer is still hitting a modest .250, with one home run and three RBIs, but his speed plays big on the bases and in center field. He has two stolen bases this year, and last year as a rookie, he was 18-for-19 in stolen base attempts.
“Defensively, as he gets more experience he’s going to be one of the best in the game out there,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “Offensively, we’re encouraging him to get comfortable bunting. It hasn’t been a big part of his game so far, but as he gets better at it, with his speed, it could be a big asset for him.”