Toronto Blue Jays (63-59) at Chicago White Sox (57-64), 8:10 p.m. (ET)
08/15/2014 10:38 AM
08/15/2014 10:42 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - Toronto starter R.A. Dickey thinks his team is ready to go on a winning streak.
The Blue Jays hope to prove their hurler right on Friday night when they begin a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox.
Toronto has lost nine of its last 12 on the heels of a six-game winning streak, dropping the club 7 1/2 games back of the first-place Baltimore Orioles in the American League East.
The Blue Jays also sit 3 1/2 games out of a wild card spot, a more reasonable goal due to their current drought.
Toronto was just outscored 19-4 in getting swept in three games by the Seattle Mariners, shut out 2-0 in Wednesday's finale. Dickey took the loss, giving up two runs over six frames.
"We have been streaky ... we are due for a good one," Dickey said.
The return of Edwin Encarnacion could help. The slugger is expected to rejoin the club after a four-game rehab stint in the minor leagues, made necessary after Encarnacion suffered a strained right quadriceps muscle back in early July.
"I want to try to get ready and serve my team so we can get to where we want to be, the playoffs," Encarnacion said on Toronto's website. "I feel great, I'm just trying to get my timing back. I just want to get ready here to get back to the big leagues with my team."
The right-hander hit .277 with 26 homers and 70 RBI in 88 games before getting hurt.
Rookie Marcus Stroman gets the call for the Blue Jays tonight and is 7-3 with a 3.34 earned run average this season.
The 23-year-old had a three-start win streak stopped with a 6-1 loss to Houston on Aug. 3 as he allowed five runs over three innings. He bounced back to become the first Toronto rookie since 2004 to toss nine innings in a game when he did so versus Detroit on Saturday, but Stroman took a no-decision despite allowing only two runs as the Blue Jays needed 10 innings to beat the Tigers.
Stroman faced the White Sox for the first time in his career back on June 28 and the righty scattered two runs on two hits and a pair of walks over 6 2/3 frames of a no-decision.
The White Sox counter with right-hander Hector Noesi, who has never started against the Blue Jays but has posted a 4.76 ERA against them in five relief appearances.
Noesi has won four of his past six decisions and is coming off a no-decision versus Seattle on Saturday. The 27-year-old pitched very well, charged with only one unearned run over 7 1/3 innings.
Noesi is 6-8 with a 4.67 ERA on the year.
The White Sox have lost six of their last eight and were undone on Wednesday by the controversial rules aimed at cutting down on home plate collisions. Chicago lost to the San Francisco Giants 7-1 after having an out at home plate overturned.
The White Sox had a 1-0 lead in the seventh before Joe Panik hit a broken-bat grounder to first baseman Jose Abreu, who threw home to get Gregor Blanco for what appeared to be the inning's second out.
Blanco slid to the back side of the plate to avoid catcher Tyler Flowers, who tagged him. But Flowers was straddling the plate before the ball arrived -- a no-no under the new rule -- and the call was overturned by the MLB replay operations center in New York, tying the game.
Chicago manager Robin Ventura was irate and earned an immediate ejection for coming out of the dugout to argue. Ventura's protest turned old-school when he kicked dirt over the plate.
"We made the play and the guy was out," said Ventura. "They don't take into consideration the guy was out by a long shot, so I obviously don't agree with it."
The Giants went on to score seven runs in the frame.
The White Sox won three of four versus the hosting Blue Jays from June 26-29.
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