Blue Jays face White Sox, see chance for rare series win

The Toronto Blue Jays have a chance to win their first series in a month Tuesday night when they resume a three-game set against the visiting Chicago White Sox.

With Danny Jansen leading the way with five RBIs, the Blue Jays defeated the White Sox 9-3 Monday afternoon in the series opener.

The Blue Jays have not won a series since April 19-21, when they took two of three games from the host San Diego Padres.

The White Sox have lost four in a row after being swept by the host New York Yankees in a three-game series over the weekend.

Toronto is scheduled to start left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (2-3, 2.60 ERA) on Tuesday. Over five career starts against the White Sox, he is 2-1 with a 5.32 ERA and 23 strikeouts.

Chicago is scheduled to start left-hander Garrett Crochet (4-4, 4.18), who is 3-0 with a 0.53 ERA in his past three starts, averaging 12.18 strikeouts per nine innings.

He is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two career relief outings against Toronto.

The Blue Jays are facing what appears to be an easier part of their schedule, with 16 of their next 20 games against the White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland Athletics — all teams under .500 entering play Tuesday.

But Toronto manager John Schneider’s message is to not focus on the quality of the opposition.

“You can’t get caught up in looking at your schedule and who you’re playing. You have to take care of what you can,” Schneider said. “So I think guys are just focused on winning today. And no matter the outcome, you think the exact same way tomorrow. Easier said than done, but when you look up over the course of a long season, if you’re winning series, it puts you in a good spot.

“But with where we are and how we’ve played up to this point, it’s literally we’re trying to win today.”

The Blue Jays have won eight straight games against the White Sox, dating to June 21, 2022.

“Overall, we just got beat,” Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said after the series opener. “Eight extra-base hits on their end, and we had just a couple.”

On Monday, Jansen batted second for the first time and was 3-for-5 with a two-run home run, an RBI double and a two-run single.

Toronto’s Daulton Varsho also had a two-run home run, and Bo Bichette had three doubles in going 4-for-4 with an RBI.

“It starts with all the guys in there, and everybody’s got each other’s backs,” Jansen said. “We’ve definitely gone through a tough skid. But looking ahead, winning’s hard — doesn’t matter who you’re playing.”

Chicago’s Paul DeJong had three hits, including his seventh home run and an RBI single.

Before the game, the White Sox designated right-hander Brad Keller for assignment and reinstated right-handed reliever Dominic Leone (back tightness) from the injured list. Leone allowed one run and one hit in two-thirds of an inning on Monday.

Keller started Saturday at the Yankees, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits in Chicago’s 6-1 loss.

Keller is 0-2 with a 4.86 ERA in five appearances (two starts) this season.

“Brad did a really nice job,” Grifol said. “He came in as an NRI (non-roster invitee), he threw the ball good, he ended up making our team after he went down and got himself built up. He threw good for us out of the ‘pen, (and) we wanted to see him in the rotation. Saw him twice. And we wanted to go in a different direction.”

–Field Level Media