Blue Jays hoping for better execution in meeting with Nats

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Field Level Media
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Aug 27, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder George Springer (4) reacts after his fly ball to the center field wall is caught by Cleveland Guardians center fielder Myles Straw (not pictured) in the eighth  inning at Rogers Centre.
Aug 27, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder George Springer (4) reacts after his fly ball to the center field wall is caught by Cleveland Guardians center fielder Myles Straw (not pictured) in the eighth inning at Rogers Centre.
Image: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays hope to turn around a disappointing start to their six-game homestand when they open a three-game series against the visiting Washington Nationals on Monday night.

The Blue Jays dropped two of the first three games of the homestand, including a 10-7 loss in 11 innings to the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday. Toronto is 2 1/2 games out of the final American League wild-card spot.

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The Nationals are coming off a 2-1 loss to the Miami Marlins on Sunday and are 4-2 on their current nine-game road trip that ends in Toronto.

Toronto is scheduled to start right-hander Kevin Gausman (9-8, 3.23 ERA) on Monday. In 11 career outings (10 starts) against Washington, Gausman is 6-3 with a 4.77 ERA.

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Gausman most recently allowed two runs on five hits in six innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. He took his second consecutive loss.

Washington will turn to right-hander Josiah Gray (7-10, 3.85). He allowed two runs on five hits in six innings in his lone start against the Blue Jays back on Aug. 18, 2021.

Gray took a no-decision in his last start, allowing one run on one hit in six innings against the New York Yankees last Tuesday.

Toronto got two-run home runs from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Davis Schneider and a solo shot from Geoge Springer on Sunday, but the Blue Jays again failed to execute in key situations.

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"This is a tough loss," Toronto manager John Schneider said. "It comes down to little things. As tough as it is, you have to regroup and move on. Every game is important."

Injuries could cause problems for the Blue Jays, as shortstop Bo Bichette (right quadriceps tightness) and third baseman Matt Chapman (right middle finger inflammation) left Sunday's game.

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John Schneider said Bichette is day-to-day and will be reassessed Monday. He noted that the injury is "separate" from the knee issue that put Bichette on the 10-day injured list earlier this month.

"(Bichette) has been feeling it a little bit and has been playing through it," John Schneider said. "We just wanted to be careful. I don't think he really hurt anything. It was more precaution than anything."

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Chapman missed time earlier this month with the same injury after hurting his finger in the weight room. On Sunday, he was replaced in the sixth inning by pinch hitter Whit Merrifield following a 10-pitch at-bat in the fourth that supposedly aggravated the finger.

"A lot of swings in that at-bat in particular," John Schneider said. "He's been grinding through it. He's going to go get an MRI on it (Sunday night) just to kind of check everything out."

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Before Sunday's game, Toronto put right-handed reliever Erik Swanson (thoracic spine inflammation) on the 15-day IL and recalled right-hander Jay Jackson from Triple-A Buffalo. Jackson ended up allowing Kole Calhoun's two-run double and Ramon Laureano's two-run home run in the 11th.

Nationals outfielder Jacob Young made his major league debut on Saturday as a pinch runner after being called up from Triple-A Rochester. He made his first start on Sunday, going 0-for-3 with a walk.

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"He's going to get a chance to go out there and play, for the most part, every day," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of Young. "We'll play him in some center field, play him in some left field and then we'll go from there. But I want to see what he can do."

—Field Level Media