|1:40 PM PT2:40 PM MT3:40 PM CT4:40 PM ET16:40 ET20:40 GMT4:40 1:40 PM MST3:40 PM EST4:10 PM VEN0:40 UAE (+1)3:40 PM CT, May 3, 2018
Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio Attendance: 19,008
Warming Indians play 2 vs. Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians
- The Blue Jays took two of three in Minnesota and have won three of their last four after dropping seven of their previous nine. Toronto is 14-0 when scoring five or more runs, tied for the best record in the majors (Arizona, 12-0).
- Cleveland notched 10 extra-base hits in the series finale against the Rangers on Wednesday, matching its season-high from earlier in the homestand (April 27 vs. Seattle). The Indians are 4-5 on their current homestand and look to avoid their first losing homestand since June 23-29, 2017 where they went 3-4 vs. Minnesota and Texas.
- The Indians are 12-7 in regular and post-season games against the Blue Jays since the start of 2016, including 7-2 at home. Cleveland book-ended this homestand with the final two opponents in the 2016 postseason, splitting a two-game set with the Cubs on April 24-25.
- Kevin Pillar is hitting .458 (11-for-24) during his seven-game hit streak, including nine extra-base hits in that span. His 18 extra-base hits on the season mark his most through the first 30 games of a season, and are tied with Manny Machado for third-most in the AL (Mookie Betts, 22; Didi Gregorius, 20).
- Francisco Lindor picked up eight hits over the three-game set against the Rangers, the most hits by an Indians player in a three-game series since Michael Brantley posted eight hits in August 2015 against the Twins. He rides a 10 game hit streak against the Blue Jays.
- Edwin Encarnacion mashed three home runs on Wednesday for the third time in his career and his first time with the Indians. Among active players, only Mookie Betts and Albert Pujols have more games with three or more home runs (four each).
- Braves claim 1st NL East title since '13
- Red Sox seek franchise-record 106th win
- O'Neill's HR lifts Cards by Giants in 10
- Brewers look to close gap in NL Central
- Rockies hope to gain ground in NL chase
CLEVELAND -- After an extremely slow start to the season offensively, Cleveland Indians hitters have warmed with the weather. Cleveland will conclude its longest homestand of the season, 11 games, on Thursday with a doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Indians go into the twin bill coming off their biggest offensive explosion of the season in 80-degree temperatures Wednesday. It was a 12-4 rout of Texas, in which the Indians belted five home runs, three by designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, who had six RBIs.
It was a welcome outburst by Encarnacion, who came into the game hitting .171. Encarnacion has historically hit poorly in the cold weather, so the Indians are hopeful Wednesday could be a sign of better things to come.
"We've seen how hot he can get. He can put us on his shoulders," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "I know he isn't happy with the way April went for him, so it's good to see him smiling again. We're a different team when he swings the bat like that."
Cleveland's offensive explosion on Wednesday was well timed because its bullpen has had heavy usage this week, resulting in two roster moves on Wednesday.
The Indians selected the contract of right-hander Ben Taylor from Triple-A Columbus, and right-hander Matt Belisle was designated for assignment. Taylor, 25, was 1-1 with three saves and a 3.48 ERA in eight relief appearances with Columbus. Belisle had a 5.06 ERA and no record in eight relief appearances with Cleveland.
Thursday's doubleheader was necessitated by the Blue Jays and Indians having consecutive games in Cleveland postponed on April 14-15.
The Indians' starters for the two games will be Carlos Carrasco (4-1, 3.08 ERA) and rookie Adam Plutko, who will be making his first major league start. Toronto will counter with Jaime Garcia (2-2, 5.40) and Joe Biagini (0-0, 4.76).
Plutko, 26, was an 11th-round pick by the Indians in the 2013 June draft. In five starts at Double-A Akron this year, he was 3-2 with a 2.35 ERA and held opposing pitchers to a .165 batting average. Plutko made two relief appearances for Cleveland in September 2016.
"Our reports are he's commanding the heck out of the ball," said Francona. "He had hip surgery last year, but he's pitching well. He's commanding the ball to both sides of the plate really well."
Carrasco is coming off his worst start of the season in his last start, a 12-4 loss to Seattle on April 28. In that game, Carrasco pitched three innings, giving up five runs on five hits, with four strikeouts and one walk.
Carrasco's only start against Toronto last year was a 6-0 win in which he pitched seven scoreless innings on three hits, with seven strikeouts and no walks. In six career appearances against the Blues Jays, he is 3-1 with a 4.80 ERA.
Garcia lost his last start, 7-4 to Texas on April 28. He pitched five innings and gave up five runs on five hits with five strikeouts and four walks.
Last year, as a member of the New York Yankees, Garcia made two starts against the Indians and he was 0-2 with a 5.59 ERA, which are also his career numbers against Cleveland.
Biagini, who has primarily been a reliever during his career, has made four appearances against Cleveland in his career, all in relief, and is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in those games.
Updated May 2, 2018