Blue Jays seeking fifth straight win

Field Level Media

August 02, 2021 at 4:17 am.

The Toronto Blue Jays will be out to extend their winning streak to five games when they open a four-game series with the visiting Cleveland Indians Monday afternoon.

The Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals with a 5-1 victory on Sunday. Right-hander Jose Berrios won his first start since being acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Twins. He struck out seven in six runless innings after arriving in Toronto on Saturday night.

“It was different for sure,” Berrios said. “I’ve never been in this position in my career, but every day, there’s a first time for everything and we have to handle working around it. I did my best trying to get through my routines.”

It was the Blue Jays’ first series at the Rogers Centre since Sept. 29, 2019. Because of COVD-19 restrictions in Canada, they previously played home games in Buffalo and Dunedin, Fla.

The Indians lost 2-1 Sunday to the Chicago White Sox on a home run by Brian Goodwin in the bottom of the ninth inning in the rubber match of a three-game series.

Left-hander Robbie Ray (9-5, 3.04 ERA) will start for Toronto on Monday. Right-hander Eli Morgan (1-3, 7.47) will start for Cleveland.

Morgan made his major league debut in a start against the Blue Jays in Cleveland on May 28 and allowed six runs in 2 2/3 innings. Ray has faced Cleveland once, pitching one runless relief inning in 2014.

The Blue Jays will have first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. back in the lineup Monday. Guerrero, who has 33 home runs this season, was given a day off Sunday for the first time this season.

“His teammates were telling me, ‘Please play him, please play him,'” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He was driving everybody crazy, but that’s just who he is. He’s always having fun. He had a good day off and he earned it. He’ll be ready to go (Monday).”

The Blue Jays lead the season series 2-1.

The Indians have undergone some changes in the past few days. Manager Terry Francona is taking the rest of the season off for health reasons. The acting manager is DeMarlo Hale, a former Blue Jays bench coach.

“It’s a lot of emotions,” Indians reliever Emmanuel Clase said. “It’s really difficult to see your manager go away, but we understand it’s because of his health. …It’s an adjustment, but we have to make an adjustment and keep moving forward.”

The team also traded five players before the deadline with only one player received in return ready to play in the majors, center fielder Myles Straw. Straw was acquired from the Houston Astros on Friday for right-hander Phil Maton and minor league catcher Yainer Diaz. Straw hit a home run on Sunday.

“This is what we’ve got; we don’t have anybody else,” catcher Roberto Perez said. “There’s a lot of guys in here that (are) hungry that want to play. They want to show what they’ve got. We’re young. We understand that. What happened with the trade deadline, guys the last couple of days, Tito (Francona), we’re gonna miss Tito. … But this is what we’ve got and we just have to continue to do the little things, pitch, and just come ready to play every day.”