The worst team in the MLB starts to win
Here’s a look at the series.
Friday, 7:07 p.m. ET / 4:07 p.m. PT: Toronto LHP Hyun Jin-ryu (0-0, 9.00 ERA) vs. Cincinnati RHP Luis Castillo (0-1, 5.59 ERA)
Saturday, 3:07 p.m. ET / 12:07 p.m. PT: Toronto RHP Alek Manoah (4-1, 1.71 ERA) vs. Cincinnati RHP Hunter Greene (1-6, 6.21 ERA)
Sunday, 1:37 p.m. ET / 10:37 a.m. PT: Toronto LHP yusei kikuchi (2-1, 3.38 ERA) vs. Cincinnati RHP Connor Overton (1-0, 1.82 ERA)
THE LATEST ON THE BLUE JAYS
With the opportunity for his first sweep of the season, the old Blue Jays bogeyman returned: a botched foul. Toronto (20-18) squandered a solid performance by starter Kevin Gausman in a 5-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday to close out a three-game series. A walk with the bases loaded from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. it was all the offense the Blue Jays could muster. Toronto’s depleted bullpen (minus Tim Mayza and Jordan Romano) couldn’t contain Seattle after Gausman walked out with the Blue Jays trailing 2-1 after five. Meanwhile, outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. left the game with a strained left hamstring. The good news is that Toronto’s starting rotation has been strong recently, including rebounding from Ryu and Kikuchi. Following this series, the Blue Jays travel to St. Louis and Los Angeles to face the Cardinals and Angels, respectively, next week.
THE LATEST ON THE REDS
After an offseason selloff, a 3-21 start and controversial comments from its president on fans who had no choice but to support a destroyed roster (he later apologized), the Reds seemed to hit rock bottom. Lately, though, things haven’t been so bad. While they still have the worst record in the majors, the Reds (11-26) completed a two-game sweep of Ohio rival the Cleveland Guardians on Thursday and have won eight of their last 13 games. The Reds are ready to receive the first baseman joey votto returned for his return home to Toronto after a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 on May 3. The 2010 NL MVP has struggled this year, hitting just .122.
The Manoah-Greene pitching matchup is a beauty. Reds top prospect Greene didn’t allow a hit while throwing an MLB season-high 118 pitches over 7 1/3 hitless innings last week against Pittsburgh — the Reds lost 1-0 despite that the Pirates did not get a hit. The pitcher threw a record 39 pitches at 100 mph or higher in his second start.
Reds outfielder Tyler Naquin is hitting .424 in his last nine games; his season average was .197 before this stretch. Naquin hit a solo homer and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth off a single in Cincinnati’s 4-2 victory over Cleveland on Thursday.
This is Toronto’s first series against a National League team this season. The Blue Jays went 14-6 in interleague play with all games against the NL East last season.
Overton, the Reds’ starter on Sunday, made his major league debut with the Blue Jays last year after signing a minor league deal with Toronto. He made four appearances with the Blue Jays before being designated for assignment in September and picked up by Pittsburgh. The Reds have made Overton a starter this year and he hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his four starts since he was promoted from Triple-A Louisville on April 30.