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May 3, 2024 2:47 am

Jays, Nationals open series aiming to jump-start bats

Jesse Winker

The Toronto Blue Jays and host Washington Nationals will continue to search for consistent offense when they open a three-game series Friday night.

Blue Jays hitters have been in a season-long drought that was emphasized on a 2-4 homestand.

They had only four hits in a 6-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.

They had Thursday off while the Nationals fell to the Texas Rangers 6-0 in the rubber match of a three-game series.

The Nationals, who scored two runs in the series against Texas in a 5-2 road trip, will begin a five-game homestand Friday.

Toronto is scheduled to start left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (2-2, 2.94 ERA) in the opener of a five-game road trip. He has never faced the Nationals.

The Nationals are slated to start left-hander Patrick Corbin (0-3, 6.82). He is 1-2 with a 5.82 ERA in three career starts against Toronto.

Blue Jays manager John Schneider continued to express confidence that the offense will begin to thrive more consistently.

Toronto fans are becoming restless as Schneider continues to preach patience. He had nothing new for them after the loss Wednesday.

“They’re going to get bored of me saying the same thing,” Schneider said. “It’s going to come. It will. It’s May 1. It will come. We will be better. That’s what I can say to them and I would hope that our fans trust the fact that we have really good players (who) understand they’re not performing up to their expectations. And I hope they know that we will be better.”

After their latest loss, the Blue Jays are averaging just 3.47 runs per game and have scored three runs or fewer in 18 of their 32 games. They have scored more than five runs in a game once since April 6.

“We’ve played a really hard schedule and haven’t played our best and yet we’re close to .500,” said reliever Chris Bassitt, who took the loss Wednesday. “I think a lot can turn really fast. It’s just I think a lot of guys are frustrated with where we’re at right now.”

The Nationals are not much better, averaging 3.83 runs per game.

On Wednesday night, the Nationals held on for a 1-0 victory as the Rangers stranded 11 runners.

“The middle of our lineup has got to get going a little bit,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “We’ve got some guys that are pressing a little bit. They want to try to get out of it with just one swing. They’ve just got to be patient. Try to stay in the middle field and hit the ball hard.”

“You try to keep your eyes on the bigger picture,” said Nationals outfielder Jesse Winker, who was 0-for-4 Thursday. “What are we, 15-16? I think anybody would take that. Obviously, we’d rather be 16-15 or better. But you keep going forward.”

Nationals outfielder Eddie Rosario was 0-for-2 Thursday before leaving for a pinch hitter and is hitless in his past 27 at-bats.

“I’ve talked to him plenty,” Martinez said. “He understands how I feel about him and, like I said, watching him over the years, what he can do when this guy gets going — he’s going to help us win games.”

–Field Level Media

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