Preview: Indians (64-67) at Blue Jays (75-57)
Venue: Rogers Centre
Date: September 02, 2015 7:07 PM EDT
The Toronto Blue Jays have asked Ryan Goins to wear many hats, sticking him in five positions and placing him at or near the bottom of a lineup that has been the best in baseball for most of the season.
Despite having a less-than-glamorous role, he’s been a major reason the Blue Jays have surged to the top of the AL East.
Goins was directly responsible for Toronto’s latest victory, and he’ll look to extend his hitting streak to eight when the Blue Jays host the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.
The third-year utility man has made several highlight-reel catches, including a sliding grab deep in foul ground after sprinting from second base Tuesday.
Goins then delivered with his bat, hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th to give the Blue Jays (75-57) a 5-3 victory that snapped Cleveland’s six-game winning streak. He’s batting .441 over his last 12 for Toronto, which improved to 25-6 since Troy Tulowitzki made his team debut July 29.
The Blue Jays maintained their 1 1/2-game lead over New York atop the East despite Edwin Encarnacion’s career-high 26-game hitting streak coming to an end.
‘That was a big win for us,’ manager John Gibbons said. ‘You never expect home runs from (Goins), but he’s had a few and a couple of big ones. He’s smoking hot with the bat right now.”
Cleveland (64-67) lost for the first time in more than a week as it continues to chase four teams for the AL’s second wild card. Yan Gomes hit two homers, including a solo shot in the ninth off Jays closer Roberto Osuna that tied the game. Three of his four hits over his last five games have gone for homers.
Trevor Bauer (10-10, 4.31 ERA) takes the hill for the Indians seeking a third straight solid outing. He’s bounced back from a rough stretch by allowing two earned runs in 14 1-3 innings over his last two while overcoming nine walks.
Bauer pitched eight innings of Friday’s 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels after learning earlier in the day he would be replacing the ill Danny Salazar.
‘One run in eight innings, we’ll take that every time,’ manager Terry Francona said of Bauer, who went 1-2 with an 11.91 ERA over his previous three starts before helping the Indians beat the Yankees on Aug. 23.
The right-hander didn’t allow a hit for the first three innings of his only career start against the Blue Jays on May 3, then gave up six runs – including a grand slam – in the fourth before being removed with one out in the fifth.
That type of scoring output for the Blue Jays is what’s helped R.A. Dickey (9-10, 4.25) get through some difficult outings recently. He’s 3-0 over his last four but has posted a 6.35 ERA after pitching 6 2-3 innings of Friday’s 5-3 win over Detroit.
The right-hander went 3-0 with a 0.89 ERA over his previous four starts. He has a 7.02 run-support average while going unbeaten in nine outings since losing to the Chicago White Sox on July 9.
Carlos Santana enters with a nine-game hitting streak, but he’s 1 for 11 lifetime against Dickey.