Diamondbacks seek series sweep against rebuilding Blue Jays

mlb3DIAMONDBACKS (33-32) AT BLUE JAYS (23-41)
1:07 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, OMNI, FS-A, MLB.TV

The Arizona Diamondbacks will be going for a three-game sweep against the Toronto Blue Jays Sunday afternoon as they complete the first series of a 10-game Eastern road trip.

The Diamondbacks have defeated the Blue Jays convincingly so far in the series, 8-2 on Friday and 6-0 Saturday afternoon.

They will give the ball Sunday to left-hander Robbie Ray (4-3, 3.62 ERA) while the Blue Jays will start left-hander Clayton Richard (0-1, 3.55). The Diamondbacks have swept four series this season while the Blue Jays have been swept six times.

Ray suffered his second straight loss Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers when he allowed three runs in seven innings. He is 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA in his past five road starts. Sunday’s game will represent his second career start against the Blue Jays. He lost to them June 22, 2016, at the Rogers Centre when he allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Richard will be making his fourth start this season. He started against Arizona three times in 2018, going 0-1 with a 6.60 ERA. In 20 career starts against Arizona, he is 10-6 with a 4.40 ERA.

Kevin Cron, who hit a three-run blast for his first career major-league home run Friday, hit a solo shot Saturday in his 13th game. Cron hit 21 homers in 44 games at Triple-A Reno.

“(Cron) can just tough the ball, and he can hit it to Mississauga,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said, referring to a city that borders Toronto. “I know that he’s got that power, but he’s a very, very good hitter. I want him to continue being that good hitter by setting up the pitchers, doing his job and getting on base.”

Lovullo coached with the Blue Jays in 2011-12 when John Farrell was manager.

“I really enjoyed the couple of years that I was here,” Lovullo said. “I met some very good people, some good friends. This is a tremendous city, an international city. I know that the years were a little bit lean, but I think the foundation was built for some of the things they did later in 2015 and 2016.”

He isn’t Arizona’s only coaching connection to the city.

Diamondbacks assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske played five seasons (2002-06) with the Blue Jays, and first-base coach Dave McKay was with the Blue Jays from 1977-79. Hitting coach Darnell Coles spent 1993-94 in Toronto.

The Blue Jays are mired in a rebuilding process. It has reached the point where manager Charlie Montoyo has told a couple of 24-year-old rookies, infielder Cavan Biggio and catcher Danny Jansen, to start acting as team leaders.

Biggio is hitting .176 in his first 12 games in the majors after going 0-for-3 with a walk on Saturday. Jansen, who did not play Saturday, is batting .164 over 46 games.

“I had a good talk with Biggio and Jansen,” Montoyo said on Saturday. “I said, ‘I heard you guys were leaders in the minor leagues. Just do it. Don’t worry about your averages, you’re actually having good at-bats, to tell you the truth. It doesn’t show, but just be yourself. Be a leader. Be who you are. Because you were a leader in the minor leagues, you can be a leader here. You guys are going to be here for a long time; start now. Go ahead.’ ”

Biggio has a walk in six consecutive games, and his nine walks in his first 12 career games are the most in franchise history.

–Field Level Media

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