Tagged: Boston Red Sox

The turnaround

The Jays have won the 1st game in their series against division rivals the Boston Red Sox. The Jays have a 4-game win streak and a 4-series win streak that they’re trying to make 5. R. A. Dickey beat the Red Sox for the 1st time after 9 losses, and David Price lost to the Jays for the 1st time in 5 years.

Two home runs for the Jays by Edwin Encarnacion and the newly rehabilitated Devon Travis. Since Jose Bautista  took lead off and Devon Travis came back, and with Troy Tulowitzki on the disabled list (DL), the Jays have been hot. Not smoking yet, but hot. That is without Bautista or Donaldson heating up.

What’s been the turning point? Well, Russell Martin’s been starting to hit after an abysmal 1st 3rd to the season. Ryan Goins who has been a cold hitter has been replaced by Travis. And Tulowitzki, who had been starting to warm up a bit before going on the DL, has been replaced with Barney who has been great defensively and getting timely hits offensively. That has turned the lineup around.

The starting pitching remains strong and Dickey’s getting stronger. Stroman however, has been wavering a bit. And the bullpen just got an infusion of strikeout skill with the acquisition of Jason Grilli, who has done just fine in 2 appearances.

Here’s hoping the team stays healthy and keeps it going! Today’s game starts at 4pm.

 

Donaldson’s game

While Jose Bautista sat out his UNdeserved 1-game suspension, the Toronto Blue Jays, well, pretty much Josh Donaldson, overcame the AL East leading Boston Red Sox. A few defensive snaffoos but JD overcame those with 5 RBIs, 2 home runs and a double play off a line drive with the bases loaded. It was the 3rd time JD had 5+RBIs and the first time this season with a multi-home run game. Roberto Osuna remained the pillar of the Jays bullpen with a shutout 9th inning, his 11th save of the season.

Troy Tulowitzki had what are increasingly characteristic at bats with 3 strikeouts and an uncharacteristic overthrow to Justin Smoak at first base. He also got beaned up in the shoulder. The BoSox are a classy team though and you can see the catcher checking on Tulowitzki after the hit. I feel like Tulo plays better without the chip on his shoulder. He’s not a chip on the shoulder kind of guy as opposed to some of the other Blue Jay guys. Maybe if he lets that go a bit, he can do better.

Kevin Pillar and Michael Saunders missed what appeared to be a routine fly ball after getting their signals crossed (or having no signals at all).

Don’t worry, Bautista kept himself busy trying his hand at the PA in the 4th announcing Kevin ‘I can catch everything’ Pillar. And he attended the last game of the Toronto Raptors groundbreaking season with PK Subban.

How sad is this image? KLow gave it everything. What an amazing season. Let’s not forget the Raptors made it to the final 4 with the Warriors, Cavaliers and OKC!

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The maple comes alive

Aaron Sanchez has done everything the Blue Jays were hoping he would do and more. Yet, the ‘W’ had eluded him in his first 2 starts of the season. Sunday afternoon he finally got paid with a 5-3 win over the Boston Red Sox. He gave up only 1 earned run, and shockingly, the other 2 were given up during the controversial insertion of closer Roberto Osuna when Shaw hit a 2-run homerun over the right field wall. Controversial because it was not a save situation, thus allowing the Red Sox to see more of the ace-in-the-hole. I did not expect to have to worry about losing the game with a 4-run lead in the 9th with Osuna on the mound. But you know what? In typical Osuna fashion, the homer didn’t get to him and he closed down the rest of the inning to preserve the win. He essentially saved the game from himself!

Game Highlights

Jose Bautista homers off Wright in the first inning. The Jays got a total of 14 hits including each member of the starting lineup.

What I saw…

I saw the determination on Ryan Goins’ face when running home on Josh Donaldson’s double. You know, it’s so easy to say things like ‘you suck’ when a player underperforms, but that one look tells you that most of the time, they try very hard at their job, harder probably than most people at their jobs. Yeah they’re easy to target because you have to pay to watch them and they make good money. But Goins made it home and I appreciated that.

Sigh of Relief

Thank you Marco Estrada! The quiet, humble, understated, under the radar Marco Estrada came out big on this frosty Sunday afternoon final game of the 2016 home opener series against the Boston Red Sox. After losing the first 2 games of the series pretty BADLY (I mean, any loss would have been bad), most of us felt we needed to win. John Gibbons said after the game that there really isn’t such a thing as a MUST WIN so early in the season, but as a bandwagon fan, it certainly felt that way didn’t it? We needed some confirmation that we weren’t out of minds. That the team wasn’t just great on paper. That all the hype wasn’t just hype and that we were in fact headed for a disappointing season. Afraid that despite being good, the rivals were better.

The Jays hadn’t been swept since May 2015 in Houston. The Jays hadn’t lost 3 straight at home since August 2014. Thanks to Marco Estrada, they still haven’t.

Vintage Estrada

Estrada had 8 strikeouts in 91 pitches over 7 innings pitched. To put it in Gibby’s words, he was ‘vintage Estrada’. Smooth. On target. Quietly understated finesse. Estrada in his subtle fashion shut Boston down and the Jays took home the win 3-0.

Thankfully the defense found their groove, like they had to give Estrada everything he needed to quiet the naysayers. Dustin Pedroia almost got home but the defense came alive with power throws by Bautista and Goins and a perfect tag by Russell Martin.

Oh, and Donaldson got his 4th homer of the season. At first I thought I was watching a replay, that perfect Josh Donaldson homerun swing.

And don’t you just love watching Osuna run out to the mound to save the game? Strikeout. Strikeout. Strikeout.

Jose Bautista, who walked twice, has reached base in 20 consecutive games (including post-season), dating to Oct.3, 2015.

The Rogers Centre has had 15 straight sellouts going back to last season. And I think that’s going to continue for a while. I mean, everyone including me, is just hanging off every detail about this team. The expectations are extraordinary. Who knows what’s going to happen but it sure is going to be a fun ride.

 

 

4 in a row…lost

Reading this post you’ll sense my ennui. The Blue Jays lost their 4th straight game on Saturday for the first time since last May. Actually, they lost 5-in-a-low that time. This time losing the 2nd game of the home opening series to Boston. Today the feel around the city of Toronto felt down…subdued. Still they say, don’t worry, it’s early.

Despite 2 awesome 2-run homeruns by Jose Bautista, those 4 runs gained were negated a bit by a crazy bounce in right field on a line drive over the head of Jose which had him turning around and chasing it to the wall. This allowed 2 runs and left a runner on 3rd who eventually crossed homeplate as well.

A rare error on a missed throw by Dickey to 2nd base actually started the free fall. Dickey’s knuckleball however was looking quite amazing, which of course meant a few misses at home plate by Josh Thole. These cost a few bases as well.

Ok, I’ll be patient. Hoping for a win Sunday.