Blue Jays bust out the brooms in Windy City despite losing Manoah along the way

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For the first time this season, the Blue Jays were able to dust off the brooms.

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On this night, a sweep of the lowly Chicago White Sox took a back seat to the unfortunate set of circumstances that would befall Alek Manoah.

No immediate word on Manoah was available in the aftermath of Toronto’s 3-1 win in Chicago, but when he left in the second inning after striking out Paul DeJong swinging on an 80-mph slider, it was obvious the big righty wasn’t right.

It would soon be announced by the club that Manoah was removed because of right elbow discomfort.

The Jays have a day off on Thursday before playing host to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Baseball-wise, the Jays are equipped to handle any potential absence by Manoah, who was the team’s fifth starter with no assurance he would continue in that role.

At the same time, Manoah has persevered through some difficult times. But he’ll now have to navigate through the latest setback.

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When they arrived in the Windy City, the Jays had suffered a devastating loss in Detroit when closer Jordan Romano yielded a walk-off home run to the Tigers in a 14-11 defeat that dropped Toronto’s record to a season-high six games under .500.

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In the White Sox, the Blue Jays were handed the ideal elixir.

They won’t be facing Pittsburgh’s best two pitchers this weekend, either, as a second successive sweep is very much in play.

For now, the stars have aligned.

Some of the Jays’ top players have begun to swing the bat as well. Keep in mind the opposition, but a win is a win.

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The Jays have not been swept this season and can now lay claim to earning a sweep, even if it was achieved against such a lowly team, which has now lost eight games in a row.

Kudos to Trevor Richards for stepping in when Manoah left.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa is wielding a hot bat and even George Springer is getting on base.

Romano started the ninth inning looking to make amends from Sunday.

He gave up a two-out home run and then was bailed out on a line drive that Daulton Varsho secured for the game’s final out.

FLEXEN HIS MUSCLE

The White Sox threw Chris Flexen in the series finale, a soft-tossing righty who last faced the Blue Jays in 2023, when he was with the Colorado Rockies.

Flexen isn’t going to overwhelm hitters with his heater, but he can mix up his pitches and he definitely had the Blue Jays off balance.

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At the same time, he was walking a pretty thin tightrope

The Jays have a hard time scoring in the first inning and that streak continued Wednesday night.

Flexen needed 19 pitches to retire the side in the first inning, striking out three and issuing one free pass.

Through 10 hitters, only one was able to put a ball in play, a fly ball to the outfield.

The 11th hitter Flexen faced was Varsho, who popped out in foul territory down the third base line on a full count.

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Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who batted third in the lineup, stroked a single through the hole on the left side of the infield.

Then came Bo Bichette’s RBI single that scored Davis Schneider.

Just when one thought the Jays were poised to score more runs, Flexen induced Justin Turner into an inning-ending double play.

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Flexen walked his fifth batter in the fourth.

Toronto scored a run and had runners at second and third with one out when Schneider flew out to centre field, although that wasn’t deep enough to cash in the runner, Alejandro Kirk, at third.

Varsho struck out swinging for the second time in a row as the Jays left two runners stranded.

Kiner-Falefa continued his torrid pace at the plate with an RBI single in the inning, his 12th hit during IKF’s eight-game hit streak.

In the sixth inning, IKF drove in his second run on the night on a fielder’s choice he hit into centre field, a short hop that forced Kirk out at second.

BAD TO THE BONE

Chicago’s south side was once immortalized in song by Jim Croce as the baddest part in town (a depiction that hasn’t changed much all these decades later).

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Move over, Leroy Brown, as the Pale Hose cement their status as the baddest team around.

Adding to the insult was Tuesday’s 68-minute rain delay in the ninth inning when everyone, including the handful of hearty souls still in attendance, knew the White Sox had no chance of bouncing back from a 7-2 deficit.

For the 41st time in the 56 games played by the White Sox heading into the series finale, a game was lost.

Chicago entered Wednesday with baseball’s worst record by four games.

The franchise is in its 124th season. At no time has the club featured a poorer record. In fact, one has to go back to 2018 to find a worse start through 56 games, a year when the White Sox began the season by going 18-38.

When the 2024 campaign began, the White Sox set a dubious record by being shut out in eight of the first 22 games.

No big-league team in either league has ever reached such lows until the ChiSox decided to really lower the bar.

When Chicago avoided the brooms in Toronto, it was because Garrett Crochet and three relievers combined on a two-hitter. The Jays didn’t have to face Crochet during their stay at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Crochet is one of the very few bright spots on a pretty bad team.

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