Struggling Jays turn to Jose Berrios vs. host Nationals

MLB Baseball

Jose Berrios looks for a bounce-back outing when the Toronto Blue Jays complete their two-game series against the Nationals in Washington on Wednesday.

Obtained from the Twins for two prospects at the trade deadline, Berrios (8-6, 3.52 ERA) was solid in his first two starts for the Blue Jays, but he struggled his last time out.

After allowing one earned run over 12 innings for Toronto, the Los Angeles Angels chased the right-hander in the fifth as he allowed six runs on eight hits and four walks in his shortest start since April.

“Obviously, we don’t want an outing like that, but you always learn [from] it,” Berrios, 27, said. “I kind of take some of the good things, and the other things, I just throw it out and forget it; turn the page and get ready for tomorrow to keep working on it.”

Manager Charlie Montoyo said lack of fastball command was the biggest issue for Berrios.

Washington is also giving the ball to a trade deadline acquisition, as Josiah Gray (0-1, 4.13) makes his fourth start for the Nationals. The 23-year-old right-hander suffered his first loss in his last effort, giving up three runs on five hits versus the Braves.

Gray turned in his longest start, six-plus innings, and he struck out six after the start of the game was delayed more than three hours by rain.

“I felt like my stuff was really playing,” Gray said. “I was getting ahead of batters. A little bitter ending at the end, but I felt great throughout that outing. Given the circumstances, with the rain delay as well, I thought I couldn’t have done much different.”

Gray was done in by a trio of solo homers in his final three frames while throwing 87 pitches.

“He gave up the first home run, he wasn’t happy about it — and I kind of like that from him,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He got back out there and kept pounding the strike zone, so it was good to see.”

Another recent Nationals addition, rookie catcher Riley Adams, was the hero as the Nationals snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 12-6 win on Tuesday.

Facing his former team for the first time since he was dealt for closer Brad Hand at the deadline, Adams had a solo homer, two-run double and a single for his first three-hit game.

“There’s definitely a little more excitement there,” he said of facing Toronto. “It’s fun to see all the familiar faces. I spent four or five years with that organization and built a lot of great relationships with those guys.”

Yadiel Hernandez also homered for Washington.

Teoscar Hernandez hit his fourth home run in six games and the Blue Jays rallied from down 8-1 to within 8-6 before the Nationals pulled away again in the bottom of the eighth.

The Blue Jays have dropped four of five and will be ending an eight-game road trip.

Toronto got more bad news when George Springer, who crashed into the wall during a loss to the Mariners on Saturday, was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left knee sprain.

“Of course, our hope is that he’s back before the year is over, but I don’t want to speculate on [the] timeline because I don’t really know,” Montoyo said.

–Field Level Media

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