Blue Jays’ road tour heads to Washington

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Getting Buffalo’s Sahlen Field ready is already a concern for the Toronto Blue Jays. Now you can add the status of closer Ken Giles to the list.

The Blue Jays hope to get some clarity — and good news — on Giles’ sore right elbow Monday as they visit the Washington Nationals for the opener of a home-and-home interleague series that will be played entirely in Washington, D.C.

Toronto was restricted from playing home games at Rogers Centre by the Canadian government due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Then the Blue Jays were rejected by local governments in efforts to play home games in Pittsburgh and Baltimore this season.

On Friday, the Blue Jays announced they will play a majority of their games in Buffalo but the stadium still needs some work to get ready for their arrival. Sunday it was announced Toronto’s first game in Buffalo won’t be until Aug. 11 against Miami.

That announcement came as the Blue Jays dropped their second of three games at Tampa Bay, taking both of losses in the last at-bat. On Sunday, Toronto took a 6-5 defeat in 10 innings that occurred after Giles was injured in the ninth inning. He allowed a double and two walks with two outs. The Rays tied the game off Toronto reliever Brian Moran.

If the Blue Jays have a save situation Monday, one candidate could be Anthony Bass. Bass notched five saves, finished with a 0.98 WHIP and 3.56 ERA last season for Seattle and has retired each of the seven batters he has faced so far.

“When you lose one, then everybody moves up,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “That’s why Bass was there in the eighth. He’s been that good.”

Besides concerns about Giles, the Blue Jays are hoping to get good news on Randal Grichuk. Grichuk exited Sunday’s game with right hip irritation, according to the team.

The Nationals also are dealing with an injury to their bullpen as they announced Sunday left-hander Roenis Elias was headed to the 60-day injured list with a left flexor strain in his elbow. They also are awaiting follow-up coronavirus test results for Juan Soto, who tested positive Thursday and had already missed two weeks in summer camp because of exposure to someone with the virus.

“We tried to push him to get as many at-bats as we possibly can when he missed so much time. Got him up to 20-something at-bats,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “And now, all of a sudden, we’ve kind of got to start over with him, which kind of stinks a little bit.”

The Nationals are awaiting a further update on Stephen Strasburg, who was scratched from Saturday’s start with a nerve issue in his right hand. Martinez said they will see how Strasburg is progressing and it is possible he could play catch Monday.

Those updates from Martinez occurred before Washington blew a two-run lead and took a 3-2 loss to the Yankees on Sunday when Will Harris allowed a game-tying homer to Luke Voit in the seventh and Sean Doolittle allowed a tiebreaking single to Gleyber Torres in the eighth.

After getting a dominant start from Patrick Corbin on Sunday, the Nationals will hand the ball to right-hander Anibal Sanchez, who was 11-8 with a 3.85 ERA last season. Sanchez is 3-5 with a 5.82 ERA in 13 career appearances (11 starts) against Toronto and last faced the Blue Jays June 20, 2018 for Atlanta.

Right-hander Trent Thornton, who was 6-9 with a 4.84 ERA as a rookie last season, starts for Toronto. He ended last season by going 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA in his final five appearances.

–Field Level Media

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