With injured Bo Bichette out of the lineup for a while, the Toronto Blue Jays are going to have to find some offense while in Baltimore on Tuesday and Wednesday — and beyond.
They found plenty Monday as Randal Grichuk drove in four while Cavan Biggio knocked in three in a 7-2 victory over the Orioles. The biggest problem now is that Toronto will be without its shortstop indefinitely.
Bichette sprained his knee Saturday and was placed on the 10-day injured list the next day. The injury costs the Blue Jays a player who is hitting .361 with five homers and 13 RBIs through 14 games. Last week, he had a stretch in which he homered in four consecutive games while driving in eight runs.
“We lost, at this point, one of the best players in baseball, the way he was hitting the ball,” manager Charlie Montoyo said Sunday. “Somebody is going to have to pick up the slack. It’s a big loss losing Bo.”
On Monday, the top two batters in the Toronto order made up for Bichette’s absence. Grichuk hit a three-run homer that gave the Jays a 4-0 lead, and Biggio hit a late two-run homer. They combined to knock in all seven of the Blue Jays’ runs.
On Tuesday, the Jays will give the ball to Nate Pearson (0-0, 5.11 ERA) a right-hander who has pitched in just three major league games. He is 6-foot-6, 250 pounds with a big fastball.
He will be pitching against the Orioles for the first time.
Baltimore counters with slower-throwing left-hander Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 7.13), who has pitched well at times this season. He has allowed nine runs in 6 2/3 innings in his past two starts, though he came away with no-decisions in each outing.
His career record against the Jays is 0-1 with a 6.88 ERA in four games (one start).
Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb, the losing pitcher Monday mainly because of the three-run homer, expects the Jays to continue to come out swinging.
“They’re a super aggressive team,” Cobb said. “I knew that going in. You’re going to have to have all of your pitches working off-speed, you’re going to have to establish fastballs in. But they got some pitches. They hit some balls hard.”
The Orioles have been one of the American League’s top offensive teams this season, as their .779 on-base-plus-slugging percentage ranks fifth in the majors, but Baltimore has slipped at times. That’s why the Orioles have stumbled into a few losing streaks, and they have dropped three of their past four.
Anthony Santander remains hot, though. He went 2-for-4 on Monday, stretching his hitting streak to 12 games. The right fielder is 17-for-50 (.340) with five homers and 15 RBIs during the streak.
The Orioles made two pitching moves Monday. They sent Evan Phillips to their alternate training site in Bowie while reinstating Dillon Tate from the 10-day injured list. Tate had been sidelined due to a right elbow contusion.
Tate relieved Cobb and pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, giving up Biggio’s two-run homer.
The Blue Jays optioned right-hander Sam Gaviglio, who didn’t get into a game in his latest major league stint, to their alternate training site in Rochester.
–Field Level Media