Los Angeles Angels at Toronto Blue Jays
When and Where: Monday, June 17, Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ont., 7:07 p.m. EDT.
The Los Angeles Angels are set to get another piece of their offensive puzzle back Monday night when Justin Upton is expected to make his season debut versus the Toronto Blue Jays.
Angels hope Upton can bring pop to lineup
Upton, who has recorded back-to-back 30-homer seasons after belting 30 in 2018, has been sidelined since March with a sprained left big toe. His return gives Los Angeles a potent 2-3-4 part of its lineup that features Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani hitting ahead of the slugger.
#Angels Justin Upton will be activated tomorrow in Toronto, Ausmus said
— Maria Torres (@maria_torres3) June 16, 2019
“It’ll be good to have him back,” manager Brad Ausmus told The Los Angeles Times before Sunday’s 6-5 loss to Tampa Bay. “Obviously, he’s been an offensive performer for a long time. It’s a big bat to add to our lineup.”
Upton’s 178 home runs from 2013-18 rank tied for ninth among all players in that span. The Angels are in the middle of the pack in the American League in home runs with 101 in 72 games, paced by Trout’s 18. Ohtani, though, has eight in just 33 games since recovering from Tommy John surgery and being able to serve as designated hitter.
Los Angeles will be using Luis Garcia (1-1, 4.68 ERA) as an opener for the second time this year as it begins the second leg of its three-city, 11-game road swing. Garcia’s only other appearance as an opener came May 30 when he tossed a scoreless inning against Seattle.
The right-hander made two appearances in the series versus Tampa Bay, giving up three runs on Friday in two-thirds of an inning and retiring the only batter he faced Sunday while throwing just two pitches.
The last time this spot in the rotation came up, the Angels opted to use Cam Bedrosian as an opener, but he made relief appearances Thursday and Saturday.
Jackson looks to get by without opener for Jays
Edwin Jackson (1-4, 10.22) looks to take care of things without help from an opener as he gets the ball to begin this series for Toronto.
The right-hander followed Derek Law on Wednesday at Baltimore and tossed five solid innings, giving up two runs and four hits, as he picked up the victory in Toronto’s 8-6 triumph.
Edwin Jackson earned his first win with the @BlueJays tonight. Jackson is the first pitcher in MLB history to win a game with 12 different teams.
— Elias Sports Bureau (@EliasSports) June 13, 2019
“I wasn’t opposed to it, necessarily,” Jackson told the team’s official website about playing behind an opener in the first time of his career. “… With the managerial changes and switch-ups, it’s all about the team at the end of the day, and I’m a team player.”
Still, Jackson has been hit hard in his five appearances for the Blue Jays as opponents are batting .364 and have 23 extra-base hits — nine of them home runs — in just 24 2-3 innings. The righty, though, is looking to win a fifth consecutive start against the Angels and enters this contest 6-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 11 career starts versus the AL West team.
Jackson beat Los Angeles twice last year, limiting the Angels to two runs in 12 2-3 innings while striking out 13. It also did not hurt that Oakland backed him with 19 runs in those outings.
The Angels are:
- 7-2 in their last nine games vs. the Blue Jays.
- 18-7 in their last 25 road games vs. teams with a sub-.400 home record.
- 8-3 in their last 11 games vs. AL East teams.
The Blue Jays are:
- 1-8 in their last nine during game 1 of a series.
- 0-4 in their last four games vs. AL West teams.
- 2-6 in their last eight home games vs. the Angels.