|Stroman again in shop window as Jays host Indians|
The Toronto Blue Jays finally won a game against the visiting Cleveland Indians Tuesday night. Now they have a chance to win a series.
After losing the first five meetings of the season between the teams -- including four at Cleveland in April -- the Blue Jays came back to win 2-1 in 10 innings on Tuesday. Each team has one victory in the three-game series.
Justin Smoak tied the Tuesday contest with a ninth-inning home run and won it with a 10th-inning single.
The Indians will send out right-hander Shane Bieber (9-3, 3.69 ERA) in the rubber match Wednesday against Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman (6-10, 3.06).
As the July 31 trade deadline approaches, each start Stroman makes could be his last for the Blue Jays. He has been the subject of trade rumors all season, and he has talked as if a deal is inevitable, possibly to the New York Yankees or Atlanta Braves.
Stroman took the loss in Cleveland on April 7 when he allowed three runs in six innings. In seven games (six starts) against Cleveland, he is 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA. He pitched seven shutout innings Friday in the 12-1 win over the Detroit Tigers.
There are several other trade possibilities for the Blue Jays, one being closer Ken Giles, who pitched the top of the 10th inning Tuesday to earn the win. He was with the Houston Astros in 2017 when they won the World Series.
"I love it here," Giles said of Toronto this week. "My family loves it here. I would love to be here longer than most people probably expect me to, but that's out of my hands. So I'm just going to let it flow and let it ride."
Giles has 14 saves in 15 opportunities this season and is 2-2 with a 1.59 ERA.
"I have something more important to think about, with a baby coming soon," Giles said. "My mind is on that and making sure my wife is taken care of. But when it comes to deadline stuff, that's not even in my head right now. ... I've already gone through the stressful levels in baseball, so it's already like, 'What's the worst that can happen?'"
Bieber earned the win against the Kansas City Royals on Friday despite allowing five runs, seven hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings. In two career appearances (one start) against the Blue Jays, he is 1-0 with a 3.65 ERA. He got a no-decision against Toronto on April 5 when he allowed two runs, two hits and two walks while striking out nine in six innings.
The Indians are 29-12 since June 4, and one reason is that second baseman Jason Kipnis has been hot at the plate. Despite going 0-for-4 Tuesday as the designated hitter, Kipnis is batting .306 (34-for-111) with five homers and 22 RBIs in his past 30 games.
"That's when it becomes fun," Kipnis said, "when everybody's all in and everybody's got a hand in the wins and it's not just a couple guys that are carrying the team. We knew it was going to be a scrappy team and we were going to have to find our identity. They're not going to be the same roles that we had in the past or what they were in spring training."
His next start at second base will be No. 1,000 in his career.
--Field Level Media