When the Angels visit the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Tuesday, two of the hotter teams in baseball will meet as both clubs continue to try to end the season strong following unmet preseason expectations. The Blue Jays have won nine of their last 12 and four consecutive series, including a weekend sweep of the Twins at Target Field, while the Angels have won 12 of their last 17 games.
Both clubs had high hopes heading into the season but have not lived up to the billing. This is due partly to key players getting injured, which has resulted in new faces seeing some playing time.
"We've got a great mix and match going with some young players and some veteran players, mostly young players; it's been fun to watch," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "These guys are running hard. They're playing hard. It's been fun to watch these guys rebound from the depths of what's been a very frustrating season."
The Angels will send Jerome Williams to the mound Tuesday. Williams has made three straight quality starts, and he has a 2.91 ERA over his last four appearances, which includes one scoreless relief outing.
Last time Williams was on the mound, he held the Rays to two earned runs over 6 1/3 innings, and he struck out seven.
"Felt good," Williams said. "Just wanted to do the normal things, just put up zeros and keep the guys in the hunt for a win.
"I'm just going out here and doing my job, trying to do my best. … Whatever happens, happens. As long as, at the end of the day, end of the season, I can look myself in the mirror and say, 'I did OK,' that's fine."
The Blue Jays will turn to Mark Buehrle, who continues to pitch well after a rocky start to the season. Buehrle has gone 10-5 with a 2.99 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 144 1/3 innings over his last 22 starts.
"I've got a couple more starts left, and I'm going to go out there and try to finish the season strong," Buehrle said. "Personally, I feel like I'm back to where I've been throughout my career. I just wish we were in a better spot than we are."
Angels: Bourjos' season ending early
Shortly after Sunday's loss to the Rangers, the Angels announced that Peter Bourjos would have surgery on his right wrist and miss the rest of the season.
Bourjos had hoped to be able to play through the pain, but he was unable to take quality swings.
The center fielder fractured his wrist when he was hit by a pitch June 29, missed seven weeks and returned to the Angels' lineup after an eight-game rehab assignment.
However, he was not the same. Bourjos hit .109 in 15 games and has started only two of the last 10.
The recovery from the surgery is supposed to take about eight weeks, so Bourjos will be healthy for Spring Training.
• Angels manager Mike Scioscia said second baseman Howie Kendrick had a "great workout" Monday, and he hoped to be available to play at some point during the Toronto series. Kendrick has been sidelined since Aug. 5 with a sore left knee.
Blue Jays: Reyes' ankle nearing full strength
Jose Reyes has been hobbled almost all season with a left ankle sprain, but it appears the issue is finally behind him.
Reyes missed two and a half months with the sprained ankle, and despite returning in June, he has not enjoyed his usual mobility on defense or on the basepaths.
Not only has the shortstop's range improved greatly, he is also running with more ease, and he has stopped thinking about his ankle when he is in the field.
"I feel like it's way better," Reyes said. "The last two weeks, it has come along very good. I feel a lot looser. I still feel it a little bit, but it's way better than it was before. So, that's good to see, and I feel happy about it that I can run on the field, do my stuff, without thinking about anything else."
The 30-year-old continues to wear a special brace that he will most likely use for the rest of his career, although he will benefit from extra rest during the offseason.
"The season isn't over yet, and I feel that good," Reyes said. "I still feel it a little bit, but it's way better than it was months ago. Hopefully, I'll keep feeling better, and I can go into the offseason with a better idea and go to Spring Training 100 percent, and do what I do best, just play my game."
• Mark Trumbo hit his 30th home run Friday, making him the first Angels player to hit at least 30 in back-to-back seasons since Vladimir Guerrero did it 2004-06.
• With the sweep of the Twins, the Blue Jays have won a season-high four straight series, going 9-3 in that stretch.