MLB: Blue Jays turn to Mitch White seeking bounce-back win against Twins
Right-hander Mitch White will make his debut for Toronto on Saturday night when the Blue Jays face the American League Central-leading Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis.
The 27-year-old White (1-2, 3.70 ERA) was picked up on Tuesday’s trade deadline from the Los Angeles Dodgers along with infield prospect Alex De Jesus for minor league pitchers Nick Frasso and Moises Brito to help strengthen the back end of Toronto’s rotation, which has seen Yusei Kikuchi struggle in the fifth spot.
White also could help manage the workload of All-Star Alek Manoah.
A second-round pick in 2016, White has drawn comparisons to another Blue Jays starter, Ross Stripling, who also was acquired from the Dodgers two seasons ago to fill a swingman roll but has since replaced injured left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (left-elbow surgery) in the rotation.
“I think that’s a fair assessment,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said. “You see it more and more in the game today. It really comes down to the ability to start that is so attractive, someone that can go five or six innings, throw 100 pitches, had the ability to get right-handers and left-handers out.
“The arsenal to do that and the athleticism to hold up and the durability are all things that aren’t easy to acquire.”
White, who has never faced the Twins, gained his lone win this season in relief in a 7-6 victory over Arizona on May 17 and moved into the Dodgers’ starting rotation after that. He averaged 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings in 10 starts and five relief appearances for Los Angeles this season.
He posted a no-decision in his last start on July 26 against Washington when he allowed two runs on nine hits over six innings while striking out four.
Minnesota will counter on Saturday with veteran right-hander Dylan Bundy (6-5, 5.04), who dropped his last start on Sunday at San Diego, 3-2. He allowed three runs on four hits over five innings while striking out three. Bundy is 5-5 with a 3.76 ERA in 17 career appearances (13 starts) against Toronto.
The Twins, who gave up six runs in the eighth inning of a 9-3 loss to the Blue Jays in the series opener on Thursday, bounced back to win 6-5 in 10 innings on Friday despite blowing a 5-0 lead.
Nick Gordon, who began the 10th as the designated runner at second, scored the winning run on Tim Beckham’s fielder’s-choice grounder to third as Minnesota took advantage of a pair of defensive miscues by the Blue Jays.
Gordon, who finished 3-for-5 with a three-run homer and double and scored twice, had advanced to third on a strikeout by Jake Cave. Cave reached first when catcher Danny Jansen blocked Jordan Romano’s third-strike slider up the first-base line and then threw wildly to first trying to complete the strikeout.
Beckham then hit a grounder to Gold Glove third baseman Matt Chapman in a drawn-in infield, but Chapman’s throw bounced in front of the plate, and Jansen couldn’t control it as he tried to tag Gordon sliding over home plate on his stomach.
“We fought today and we found a way to win,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
The Blue Jays, who got a two-run homer from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and solo shots by Chapman and Santiago Espinal, had rallied to tie it in the ninth with three singles against Twins closer Jorge Lopez, including a two-out RBI blooper to center by Raimel Tapia that drove in Bo Bichette.
“I love the way we’re playing, and I think it’s one game kind of in a vacuum,” Toronto interim manager John Schneider said. “You try to squash it and move on.”
It was just the fourth loss in 13 games since the All-Star break for Toronto.
–Field Level Media