San Francisco managed to snap a four-game slide on Sunday with a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates to avoid a sweep in their weekend series. The Giants enter in last place in the National League West standings with a 9-14 overall record, which puts them 5.5-games back of the division-leading L.A. Dodgers. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays have managed to stay afloat in the American League East and they currently sit four games back of the division lead with an 11-12 mark after winning seven of their last 10 contests. Can Toronto keep its momentum going with a series-opening victory at home on Tuesday?
Samardzija hopes to bounce back after first loss of 2019
San Francisco will turn to veteran right-hander Jeff Samardzija for the first game of their series on the road in Toronto. The 34-year-old comes in with a 1-1 overall record and a 2.91 ERA through his first four starts. He’s allowed three runs or less in three of his four outings, but is fresh off of his worst start of the season. Samardzija allowed four earned runs on five hits, including two home runs to take his first loss of the year against the Washington Nationals. The Giants’ veteran has been especially tough on right-handed hitters this season, limiting them to a paltry .174 batting average and a .261 slugging percentage in 46 at-bats.
— MLB (@MLB) April 23, 2018
Samardzija has made three career starts versus the Blue Jays, going 2-0 with a 0.38 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP. He also tossed seven innings of one-run (zero earned) ball in his only career outing at the Rogers Centre.
According to Baseball Savant, the current Blue Jays’ roster is batting only .205 in 45 plate appearances off of Samardijza. The Shark has a 2.13 FIP against Toronto’s current lineup and StatCast data pegs Blue Jays’ hitters for an expected batting average of only .235 and an expected slugging percentage of .384 heading into Tuesday’s matchup.
Blue Jays not calling up Guerrero Jr. yet
Rookie right-hander Trent Thornton is scheduled to toe the rubber and make his fifth start of the season for the Blue Jays. The 25-year-old is trying to earn a permanent spot in the starting rotation after stumbling over his last two starts. Thornton has given up nine earned runs on 14 hits over his last two outings, while lasting only 7 ⅔ combined innings of work. The Blue Jays’ right-hander lost both starts and now comes in with an 0-2 record to go along with a 5.40 ERA in four starts this year. He’s struck out 21 batters and walked just seven, but he will have to do a better job of commanding his pitches despite throwing with a “funky” delivery. Toronto is 0-4 in Thornton’s four starts this season.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 22, 2019
The Blue Jays enter the week ranked 21st in the MLB in runs scored with 95 so far this season and the Blue Jays are slashing .232/.300/.383 at the dish as a team. Some offensive reinforcements could be on the way too — but don’t expect them to be available on Tuesday. Toronto is reportedly very close to calling up top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for his first taste of MLB action. Guerrero, 20, is hitting .412/.500/.824 with two home runs and six RBIs in five games for Triple-A Buffalo this season.
- Giants are 4-1 in their last 5 Tuesday games.
- Blue Jays are 2-5 in their last 7 home games.
- Blue Jays are 1-4 in their last 5 home games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Blue Jays are 0-4 in Thorntons last 4 starts.