Guardians head north to face struggling Toronto offense

Field Level Media

June 13, 2024 at 10:01 pm.

The Cleveland Guardians have three Canadians who will be returning to their homeland Friday night for the opener of a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

First baseman Josh Naylor and catcher Bo Naylor, his brother, are from nearby Mississauga, Ontario, and right-handed reliever Cade Smith is from Abbotsford, British Columbia.

The Naylors have played in Toronto before as Guardians, but this will be a first for Smith.

The rookie’s family will be making the trip to see the series. Smith is excited that his family will be in the stands.

“I can just control how I work, so I’m not going to get too high or get too low based on what happens here,” Smith told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “My family’s going to be the same thing. I know that they don’t view me as a baseball player, I just play baseball. So that doesn’t change how I interact with them, and rightly so.”

In 29 appearances this season, Smith is 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings.

The Guardians are 3-2 during an eight-game road trip while the Blue Jays will be opening a six-game homestand after a 3-3 trip. Both teams had Thursday off.

Cleveland is expected to start left-hander Logan Allen (6-3, 5.57 ERA). He is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in two career starts against the Blue Jays.

Toronto is scheduled to start right-hander Kevin Gausman (5-4, 4.00 ERA), who is 4-4 with a 2.66 ERA in eight career games (seven starts) against Cleveland. Gausman is coming off his first career shutout last Saturday against the Oakland Athletics, in which he struck out 10. He pitched seven scoreless innings at Cleveland on Aug. 9, 2023.

Both teams are coming off losses on Wednesday. The Guardians lost 4-2 to the Cincinnati Reds and the Blue Jays fell 5-4 to the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Guardians left 10 runners on base and went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. They stranded seven runners in the first four innings.

“We had the out at home. David (Fry) lined out to third. A lot of things didn’t go our way tonight,” Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said. “… We weren’t able to get that big hit.”

In their loss at Milwaukee, the Blue Jays scored three runs in the ninth before the rally fell short. It was a rare outburst for the limp Toronto offense.

“Swinging at better pitches, really,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “It can happen quick and it gets a little bit contagious. … When we swing at the right pitch, we’re as good as anyone. It just happened to be in that one inning, for both them and for us. You’re as good as what you swing at. And I think that we did that better later in the game.”

The Blue Jays continue to juggle the lineup, with recently promoted Spencer Horwitz the latest to be tried in the leadoff spot.

“It’s going to take everybody,” Schneider said. “It’s not going to take one or two guys clicking at the same time, it kind of takes everybody to string some ABs together. But we’re heading in the right direction.”

The Blue Jays completed a trade on Wednesday that sent utility player Cavan Biggio to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league right-hander Braydon Fisher.