Here’s a look at how the series shapes up.
Wednesday, 7:07 p.m. ET / 4:07 p.m. PT (Sportsnet ONE): Toronto LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (2-0, 5.48 ERA) vs. Chicago RHP Michael Kopech (1-1. 1.29 ERA)
Thursday, 3:07 p.m. ET / 12:07 p.m. PT (Sportsnet) Toronto RHP Alek Manoah (5-1, 1.77 ERA) vs. Chicago RHP Johnny Cueto (0-1, 2.41 ERA)
LATEST ON THE BLUE JAYS
All the negative vibes from the first two thirds of May have been replaced by optimism over the past week. The Blue Jays offence seems to be out of its season-long slumber with the team having reeled off five wins in a row thanks in large part to the bats. The latest triumph, 11-10 over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, capped the first sweep of the season for Toronto (27-20) – a four-gamer.
Everything went wrong at first for the Blue Jays with struggling opening-day starter Jose Berrios unable to get out of the third inning on a day when the bullpen was running on fumes because of heavy use the rest of the series. Yet the team fought back with three in the seventh and two in the eighth to win.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who had an extremely slow start to the season, was instrumental in the victory, driving in five runs. Toronto also is showing better plate discipline, drawing eight walks on Sunday.
LATEST ON THE WHITE SOX
Already battling the injury bug, the White Sox (23-23) lost probably the most important player on the team on Sunday when shortstop Tim Anderson suffered a right groin strain while fielding a grounder in the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs. Anderson had to be helped off by trainers -- and he was placed on the 10-day IL on Tuesday. Anderson is slashing .356/.393/.503 with five homers and 19 RBIs this season.
Meanwhile, outfielder Eloy Jimanez had his rehab halted at triple-A Charlotte over the weekend because of right leg soreness. The White Sox did get a boost prior to Tuesday's opener when they announced outfielder Luis Robert was being reinstated from the COVID-19 list.
On the mound, the White Sox also are thin.
They placed former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel on waivers for the purpose of granting him his release on Monday and announced right-handed starter Dylan Cease and reliever Kendall Graveman (2.78 ERA, two saves, 10 holds) were being placed on the restricted list and, therefore, not making the trip to Canada. Cease started Sunday so wouldn't have pitched in this series, anyway, but Graveman is a key arm out of the bullpen.
The reigning AL Central champs are 4.5 games back of the division-leading Minnesota Twins.
The White Sox are 123-89 since 2020 with Anderson in the lineup and 28-28 when he does not play, per MLB.com.
ANDERSON'S VALUE, PART 2
“It’s devastating. We were all around him. You saw all nine guys out there around him. It’s tough. He’s such a leader and such an impactful person in this clubhouse that it will be tough. But he’ll always be with us no matter what it is.” -- Chicago’s Jake Burger on Anderson after connecting for an RBI single in the 12th inning to give the White Sox a 5-4 walkoff win over the Cubs on Sunday.
PAIR OF ACES
It should be a treat for fans when Giolito faces Gausman in the series opener. Giolito, who was on the COVID-19 injured list earlier this month, has allowed three or fewer runs in six of seven starts this season. He pitched six innings of one-run ball while striking out six in a no-decision in Toronto last August.
BACK IN TOWN
Former Blue Jays catcher Reese McGuire makes his first appearance in Toronto since he was dealt to the White Sox for fellow catcher Zack Collins (now in the minors) prior to the season. McGuire (.194 average with zero homers and six RBIs in 72 at-bats) is the backup to Yasmani Grandal in Chicago.
THIS 'N THAT
Ryu was removed from his most recent start in L.A. last Thursday in the fifth inning because of tightness in his left elbow. While all has seemed fine since then, it's worth monitoring. ... Same applies for Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who didn't start on Sunday (but later came in as a pinch hitter) because of a sore wrist.
The White Sox series is the first of four consecutive sets for Toronto against AL Central squads. The Twins come to Rogers Centre this weekend before the Blue Jays hit the road for series against the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers, where they are sure to be greeted by many fans from southwestern Ontario.