|3:10 PM PT4:10 PM MT5:10 PM CT6:10 PM ET18:10 ET22:10 GMT6:10 3:10 PM MST5:10 PM EST5:40 PM VEN2:10 UAE (+1)5:10 PM CT, April 4, 2019
Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio Attendance: 10,375
Blue Jays hope to break out in series at Indians
The Toronto Blue Jays displayed signs of breaking out of their offensive malaise in their last outing while the Cleveland Indians have shown limited flashes of doing the same.
The struggling offensive clubs will look to get on track at the expense of the other on Thursday when they play the opener of a four-game series in Cleveland.
The Indians answered a four-run rally to win their home opener with another offensive dud, dropping an 8-3 decision to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday afternoon.
The three-time reigning American League Central champions are batting a paltry .160 and have struck out 58 times. That sputtering offense has mustered a total of 13 runs this season.
Despite his team's current struggles, manager Terry Francona had no qualms about signing a two-year contract extension through the 2022 season on Wednesday.
"I have no ambition to ever work somewhere else," Francona said.
Carlos Santana and Hanley Ramirez have represented the lone bright spots on an offense that is without Francisco Lindor (calf/ankle) and Jason Kipnis (calf).
Santana has hit safely in four straight games and has driven in a run in three consecutive contests. He followed up his RBI single in the first inning on Wednesday with a single in the ninth to account for his second multi-hit performance of the season.
"Right now, I feel comfortable," the 32-year-old said. "My body feels comfortable. Mentally, I feel strong. I know it's the start of the season. It's a long season. I have to keep it up."
Ramirez belted a two-run homer in the ninth inning on Wednesday. He has gone deep on two occasions this season while the rest of the team has been kept in the park.
The 35-year-old Ramirez is just 2-for-18 with eight strikeouts in his career versus Thursday starter Aaron Sanchez (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who scattered three hits and struck out six over five strong innings in Saturday's 3-0 victory versus Detroit. The 26-year-old right-hander owns a 1-0 mark with a 5.06 ERA in three career encounters with Cleveland.
Randal Grichuk celebrated his new five-year, $52 million contract by belting a pair of solo homers in Toronto's 5-3 win over visiting Baltimore on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old Grichuk has answered an 0-for-12 start to the season by going 5-for-9 with three homers in his last three games.
"Players go through slumps and everyone's going through it at the same time early on," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. "It's just not a good feeling for the whole team, but they're going to come out of it. I know that's the right thing to say, but it really is.
"They're better hitters than what they're hitting right now. When that's going to happen, I don't know, but it's coming. Nobody's going to hit .100 -- we're better than that. We know that."
Grichuk will get his first look at Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer (0-0, 1.29 ERA), who yielded one run and one hit while striking out nine over seven innings in a 2-1 victory at Minnesota on Saturday.
The 28-year-old right-hander owns a 2-2 mark with a 6.07 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in six career appearances (five starts) against Toronto.
--Field Level Media
Updated April 3, 2019