Four Toronto Blue Jays lead their positions in American League All-Star voting, and the club has a player in the top three in each slot other than designated hitter.
The Blue Jays hope that assemblage of talent can help them salvage the finale of a three-game series against the host Chicago White Sox on Wednesday afternoon.
“It means we’re fun to watch,” Toronto shortstop Bo Bichette said of the early voting returns. “For me, baseball is an amazing sport and more people should watch it, so to be a part of a team that is fun to watch is pretty cool.
“To see my teammates and all the hard work paying off and people wanting to watch them, too … it’s great for us.”
The Toronto offense was very good on Tuesday, but the pitching stumbled in a 7-6, 12-inning loss to the White Sox. Chicago rallied to tie the game in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings before winning in the 12th.
Limited to an infield single while striking out 11 times in six innings against White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease, the Blue Jays broke through against the Chicago bullpen before ultimately falling. Toronto fought back from a six-run deficit before losing 8-7 on Monday in the series opener.
The Blue Jays will give the ball Wednesday to right-hander Ross Stripling (3-2, 3.28 ERA), who kicked off a sterling June with a solid relief outing against the White Sox. He picked up the victory in a June 1 home game against Chicago with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, spacing three hits and two strikeouts.
Stripling is 3-1 with a 1.04 ERA in four appearances, including three starts, this month, but he has exceeded four innings only three times this season.
He is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in three career appearances against the White Sox, all in relief.
Chicago, with its sixth win in eight games on Tuesday, reached the .500 mark for the first time since May 29.
After five relievers pitched six innings on Tuesday, the White Sox could use an extended outing from right-hander Lucas Giolito (4-3, 4.78 ERA).
Giolito will need to rebound from his roughest outing of the season. On Friday, he allowed eight runs and seven hits in five-plus innings during an eventual 13-3 loss at Houston. The game was tied at 3-all before the Astros erupted for 10 runs in the sixth inning.
“This is pretty God-awful. That’s pretty much it,” Giolito said postgame. “Third time through the lineup, need to execute my pitches.”
Houston homered twice against Giolito, who has allowed seven long balls in his past four starts. That includes a May 31 loss at Toronto in which two of the eight hits he gave up left the ballpark. Giolito allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts in that contest.
Giolito is 2-1 with a 4.67 ERA in five career starts against the Blue Jays, with 29 strikeouts in 27 innings.
Chicago’s Luis Robert enters with a 12-game hitting streak after going 2-for-5 with four RBIs on Tuesday.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said George Springer is unlikely to play Wednesday. Springer left the Tuesday game in the eighth inning because of right elbow discomfort.
–Field Level Media