Blue Jays ‘host’ Angels in first game of doubleheader

MLB Baseball

The Blue Jays have played home games in Dunedin, Fla., in Buffalo, N.Y., and in Toronto so far this season.

On Tuesday afternoon they’ll play a “home” game in Anaheim, Calif., in the opener of a doubleheader with the Los Angeles Angels. It is the makeup game for an April 11 rainout in Dunedin, where Toronto played its home games to start the season due to Canadian COVID-19 travel restrictions before relocating to Buffalo and returning to Toronto on July 30.

The Blue Jays are coming off an 11-game homestand in Toronto in which they went 9-2. They won three of four against both the visiting Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox last week to tighten things up in the American League standings.

“I’m expecting it to go down to the wire,” Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk said of the playoff chase.

The Angels haven’t been able to string together wins the way the Blue Jays have lately.

They won the final three games of a four-game series against the Texas Rangers last week, and then beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 in 10 innings on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series, but then dropped the next two, dropping their record back to .500 for the eighth time since the All-Star break.

“We’re only going to get really good if we pitch. That’s it,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “As we move this thing forward the rest of this year, my primary concern is pitching and how we react, how these young guys do. That’s what we need to know going into the offseason. Without that, we will languish in the area of .500 for a long time.”

The Angels will send two of their best young pitchers to the mound for both games of the doubleheader.

Right-hander Chris Rodriguez (2-1, 3.86 ERA) is scheduled to start the first game for Los Angeles.

It will be the second major league start for Rodriguez, who made his first on Aug. 2 at the Rangers. He allowed three runs and four hits in six innings and took the loss in the 4-1 defeat.

Left-hander Jose Suarez (5-4, 3.60) is set to start the second game. He beat the Rangers in his last outing, allowing three runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings of an 11-3 win on Aug. 3.

Suarez has made one career start against the Blue Jays. He allowed five runs in five innings of a 7-5 loss in 10 innings on June 20, 2019.

The Blue Jays plan to send veterans Steven Matz and Ross Striping to the mound for the doubleheader.

Matz (9-6, 4.30 ERA) made the only start of his career against the Angels on April 10 in Dunedin. The left-hander allowed one run in six innings of a 15-1 victory that helped propel him to a 4-0 start to the season.

He went 4-6 over his next 14 starts, however, but is coming off one of his better outings this season, blanking the Indians for six innings in an 8-6 win on Wednesday.

Stripling (5-6, 4.43) also faced the Angels in the opening month of the season and gave up four runs and six hits in five innings of a 7-5 loss in 11 innings.

The right-hander is 1-2 in six career appearances against the Angels, including four starts, with a 5.24 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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