Runs could be at premium in Jays-Guardians series

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Based on the previous time the teams met, pitching could dominate when the Cleveland Guardians visit the Toronto Blue Jays for a three-game series that opens Friday night.

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The teams split four games in Cleveland from Aug. 7-10 with each winning a 1-0 game. Toronto’s other win was 3-1, and Cleveland took the finale 4-3.

Right-hander Tanner Bibee (9-3, 3.01 ERA) is scheduled to start the series opener for the Guardians.

The rookie pitched seven innings on Aug. 8 in Cleveland’s 1-0 victory, his only career appearance against Toronto. He allowed six hits and no walks while striking out six.

Bibee has been hot for more than two months, going 7-1 with a 2.34 ERA in his past 11 outings.

The Blue Jays are scheduled to start right-hander Chris Bassitt (12-6, 3.92 ERA), who has not faced Cleveland since 2021. In five career starts against the Guardians, he is 1-2 with a 3.30 ERA.

Cleveland is coming off a series loss to the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers after taking the opener of the three-game set.

Both Dodgers wins were decided on Thursday.

The Dodgers completed a 6-1 victory in a game that was suspended due to rain on Wednesday. Los Angeles then won the regularly scheduled game 9-3.

A bright spot for Cleveland in the second defeat was shortstop Gabriel Arias, who went 3-for-4 with his eighth home run of the season. He is capable with the glove, but the Guardians are counting on development at the plate.

“The consistency is going to be the biggest thing,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “He squared that ball up, and that ball had plenty to get out. There’s a lot in there. … When it comes out, that’s what we’re waiting for.”

The Blue Jays are returning home from a 3-3 road trip that started with promise when they won two of three from the Cincinnati Reds and the opener of a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles. Toronto lost the final two games to Baltimore, 7-0 on Wednesday and 5-3 on Thursday night in a rain-delayed finale.

Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman, who took the loss on Wednesday, said, “We’re waiting for that big stretch. We’ve kind of been waiting for that all year, and is it gonna happen? I don’t know. I hope it does. I hope it starts tomorrow. But we can’t keep sitting back and waiting on that. We’ve gotta go now, and we need a little bit more of a sense of urgency.”

Toronto completed the season series with Baltimore 3-10, leaving the Blue Jays 1 1/2 games out of the final American League wild-card spot.

“Starting (Friday), we’ve got to be aggressive, we’ve got to be on the attack,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “We’ve got to have good at-bats. Our pitching has been really good, but it’s just putting everything together. We’ve got to limit outs on the bases, we’ve got to make the plays and we’ve got to have consistent at-bats. There’s no time to wait. There’s no time to wait at all. We’ve got to do it right now.”

—Field Level Media

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