video thumbnail

HOU@TOR: Morrow fans nine over six innings in victory

The Blue Jays will be looking for their first sweep of the season when they send right-hander Brandon Morrow to the mound on Sunday afternoon to face the Indians' Carlos Carrasco in a 1:05 p.m. ET start at Progressive Field.

Toronto is already guaranteed a winning record on its current nine-game road trip. The Blue Jays split six games vs Baltimore and Cleveland, but took the first two against the Indians and will head home above .500.

The Indians will be looking to avoid getting swept for the first time this year, and while doing so, snap a mini three-game losing streak. Regardless of what happens, it's still "mission accomplished" for the Blue Jays, but they still want more.

"Now we have to get greedy and win one more tomorrow," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said after his club's 5-0 victory on Saturday afternoon.

Morrow will be the one looking to send Toronto home on a positive note. He battled some control problems during his last start on a very cold night in Minnesota. He couldn't get a feel for his breaking stuff and needed 98 pitches to record just 11 outs, but he still only gave up two runs and kept the Blue Jays in the game.

The biggest thing with Morrow is consistency, and that's something he's still searching for early in the season. He had a rough outing in his season debut, was stellar in his second outing and then just OK against the Twins. He has a 5.52 ERA on the season, but he will be looking to turn things around under friendlier conditions at Progressive Field.

"I felt good physically, warm; I stayed inside between innings [so] that wasn't a problem," Morrow said after his last start in Minnesota. "Just the cold, and there wasn't any moisture in the air. Usually with the rosin, you can get a little sweat and the rosin will give you some grip, but there was just nothing. I was all over the place; I didn't have a feel for anything."

Carrasco will be making his first start since April 11 after the Indians decided to skip his last turn in the rotation. That's eight full days of rest between outings, but Carrasco has been throwing on the side and should be ready to go.

"Carlos is probably one of the funner guys to watch in the bullpen," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "His stuff is so crisp and he commands so well. I think sometimes when the game starts and he tries to get a little more amped up or tries to do a little bit more. That's when some of those balls start to wander over the plate.

"That's why we keep talking about him, because he's big, strong, [has a] clean delivery -- sometimes maybe to the point where he's so clean that hitters see the ball pretty good, but that's still a good thing. He's built to log innings. We just have to get him to points of the game where he believes that he can do it. We're trying."

Indians: Another slow start
Cleveland has endured a variety of issues early on, leading to the club's 7-10 record. The rotation has been inconsistent, the defense has made an uncharacteristically high amount of errors and the club had labored with situational hitting. It is worth noting, though, that the Indians started last season 5-10, and were 7-10 through 17 games, before heating up later in the summer.

"Obviously it hasn't been the start that we wanted as a group," Indians first baseman Nick Swisher said. "But then again, last year we started off the season 5-10. It's not time to jump off the bridge just yet. We feel good about where we are. We haven't gotten that huge hit when we've needed it. But hey, that's going to happen sometimes.

"I feel like we're facing some good pitchers right now. We have to go out there and do a better job."

Blue Jays: Reyes makes his return
Shortstop Jose Reyes made his long-awaited return to the Blue Jays lineup on Saturday afternoon and went 1-for-5 with an RBI single. It was the first time Reyes played since he sustained a strained hamstring during his first at-bat of the season. The move allowed the Blue Jays to move the hot-hitting Melky Cabrera down to the No. 2 spot of the batting order and gave Toronto a pair of reliable hitters to put in front of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.

"Real happy just to be back with my teammates, see my guys. Real happy to be on the field and do what I do, just play baseball," Reyes said.

Worth noting
• The Indians have left 19 men on base through the first two games of this series. On the year, Cleveland is hitting just .208 (32-for-154) with runners in scoring position.

• Cleveland has been held to four runs or less in all but two of the club's past 16 games against the Blue Jays, dating back to 2011. The Indians have a 6-10 record over that same span of games.

• Cabrera has six hits in just two games this season. He has four multihit games and has at least one hit in all but one of Toronto's 18 games this season.

• Toronto's 5-0 victory on Saturday marked the 20th all-time shutout the Blue Jays have had over the Indians.

MLB.com Comments