Tagged: Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays vs. Athletics Preview

See article via Fansided

Oakland will likely being in selling mode this month while the Jays are in the Now or Never mode with many, many players becoming free agents at the end of this season.

This series should go to the Jays assuming they’re not too rusty from the All-Star Game, which by the way featured 5 Blue Jays: Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, Marco Estrada, Aaron Sanchez and Michael Saunders.

 

 

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Exhausted

Not to dwell on the longest game in the MLB this season at 19 innings. And the Jays lost. But man, what a game against the Cleveland Indians today.

THE GOOD

Marcus Stroman looked good today and hopefully is making a come back. Also, the bullpen did a fine job putting up zeros for the 9-10 innings that they played, including Brett Cecil. Unfortunately, the bullpen dried up and Ryan Goins had to pitch, and he put up a zero! But then Darwin Barney gave up a homerun before striking the last batter out. At that point, the Jays were pretty much relinquishing the game anyway.

THE BAD

Vic Carapazza. Home plate umpire.

Forgot to wear his glasses or something. Had an unusual strike zone and couldn’t decide where it began and ended from pitch to pitch. The worst umped game I’ve ever seen. But that wasn’t the worst of it. He couldn’t stand the fact that he didn’t know what he was doing and ejected EE, Gibby, AND Russell Martin. Martin looked like he was going to kill him.

I think it erodes the MLB reputation and the game to let guys like this umpire. IGNORANCE and ARROGANCE are a brutal combination. He really ruined today’s game.

But the Jays also had the bases loaded 3 times and couldn’t score. Mainly because they were so frustrated by the strike zone and had their biggest hitter thrown out.

CLICK TO WATCH HIGHLIGHTS

WHAT’S NEXT

Tomorrow’s pitcher for Cleveland was used today. No idea who is going to take his place. Hopefully someone Estrada can beat. Jays need some sleep!

Closure for Tulo

So Troy Tulowitzki’s much anticipated return to his previous home of 10 years was an eventful one. His new team, the Toronto Blue Jays won the series against the Colorado Rockies 2-1, but it was a series of ups and downs. Tulo got a standing ovation his first at bat and he took the time to raise his helmet to all his fans. For him, the bitterness of getting dumped unceremoniously from the team that he thought he was going to start and end his career with, had stuck with him for the past 12 months. He knew it was going to be a long 3 days of staring at his old team in the opposing dugout, staring at his old managers and coaches.

He started 0-5 in his first at bats but then blasted a solo homerun to start a 6-run inning, and that my friends is what they call closure. His new team got whipped game 1 but won the next 2 to close out the series.

Link to Game 3

WHAT’S NEXT

A 4-game series at home against the team from which the Blue Jays got their new President/CEO and GM, the Cleveland Indians.

THE RUBBER MATCH

Dickey (5-8, ERA 4.23) vs. Carrasco (3-2, ERA 2.73)

Stroman (6-4, 5.23) vs. Tomlin (9-1, 3.32)

Estrada (5-3, 2.81) vs. Bauer (6-2, 3.19)

Happ (9-3, 3.70) vs. Kluber (8-7, 3.50)

Unfortunately tough match ups this weekend. Based on recent play, the pitching matchup is in Cleveland’s favour, so we will need the offensive bats to be at their best!

Phillies Phail

After a weak start against the Phillies when the Jays played without Edwin Encarnacion, his return and hitting has helped the Jays blast the Phillies in the last 3 games of their home-and-home series with 31 runs including 5 home runs in last night’s game!

The last game of the series was a 13-2 beat down on a young Phillies starting rotation.

Encarnacion has been killing it over the past 6 games.

UPCOMING SERIES AGAINST THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES

As it stands, the Blue Jays are now 1 game behind Boston and 2 games behind the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles. This upcoming series in Batlimore for the Jays is HUGE and could have a significant impact on the standings. Unfortunately, the Orioles are coming off a series win against Boston which should give them some confidence. The Jays are coming off scoring 31 runs in the last 3 games against the Phillies which should also provide them with some big time mojo.

The Jays are still a couple of weeks from getting Tulowitzki back. Good or bad? The Jays have been doing just fine without him in the lineup. We’re still waiting to hear of Bautista will be out after leaving last night’s game having majorly stubbing his big toe. Carrera is nursing a rolled ankle. Tonight’s lineup will be interesting.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Friday Sanchez (6-1, ERA 3.38, Last 7 games: 4-0, ERA 3.83) vs. Wright (3-3, ERA 5.31, Last 7G: 2-1, ERA 5.40)

Saturday Dickey (4-7, ERA 4.16, Last 7 games: 3-3, ERA 3.25) vs. Gallardo (1-1, ERA 7.0)

Sunday Stroman (6-2, ERA 4.76, Last 7 games: 2-2, ERA 6.12) vs. Tillman (9-1, ERA 2.87, Last 7G: 5-0, ERA 2.72)

Baltimore’s Yovani Gallardo is just coming back from the disabled list and hasn’t pitched since April 22. Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez and R. A. Dickey are my favourites to win. Marcus Stroman unfortunately has his work cut out for him.

Go Blue Jays!

Breathe

Ok, Blue Jay fans have been holding their breath a lot this season. For us bandwagon fans who only started watching in August and September last year, we’re not used to the Jays losing and not blowing out the competition. This year, they’ve been weaker in terms of offense and in the bullpen, but maybe it’s a positive sign that they’re still able to grind out some wins.

Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles started with a 5-run first inning and then a 7-1 lead, but ultimately, the Jays squeaked out a 10-9 win with the tying run at 3rd, and the go-ahead run on 2nd. Jason Grilli’s strikeouts were absolutely needed and we have to give high praise for the sac fly catch by Ezequiel Carrera right at the wall that could have easily been a double. Who didn’t breath a sigh of relief after that?

HIGHLIGHTS

Russell Martin’s 3-run homer in the 6th.

Edwin Encarnacion even stole a base for the 1st time this season to manufacture a run. Even Kevin Pillar got his farthest home run of the season.

STANDINGS

The Blue Jays are 35-30 (.538) heading into tonight’s game against the NL’s Philadelphia Phillies who are 29-34 (.460). The Jays are currently 2.5 games back of 1st place Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles who are tied for 1st place and who are heading into a series against each other. The Jays are in 6th place overall in the AL and are tied for the 2nd Wild Card spot.

UPCOMING SERIES AGAINST THE PHILLIES

Dickey (4-6) vs Eikhoff (3-8)

Stroman (5-2) vs Eflin (0-0) 1st major league appearance

Estrada (4-2) vs Hellickson (4-4)

Happ (7-3) vs Nola (5-5)

Based on the last 7 games stats for each pitcher, Estrada is the one clear favourite to win. Dickey and Happ are pretty evenly matched. Eflin hasn’t played in the Majors yet, so we’ll see if Stroman can regain his mojo and beat him.

63 Games

Ok, there are only 99 games left to go and how are the Blue Jays doing? Well, most would say compared to last year’s Jays, they haven’t hit their stride. There have been glimpses of brilliance this year, but for the most part, we’ve witnessed enough meltdowns that there is no lead big enough that instills enough confidence in us to relax.

The Jays had a good run of winning 5 series in a row that included the Yankees and Bosox. But lost their series to Detroit with a couple of ugly ones. So far this current series with the division leading Baltimore Orioles, they are split 1-1. The Jays won last night with a walk-off home run in the 10th inning off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion. Normally I would say great! But I attribute this one to luck. EE had gone 0-for-19 before that at bat, and he pretty much just swung as hard as he could and he got it over the opposite field wall. The Jays couldn’t ‘manufacture’ a run. I think they just got lucky off a relief pitcher who had only given up 1 other home run this season. That to me says that we can’t yet expect that to happen often.

The highlight was that the bullpen including Chavez, Osuna, and Storen didn’t give up any runs.

So how are the Jays doing compared to 2015?

After 63 games, the Jays record is 33-30. After 63 games in 2015, 33-30!

Ok, doesn’t seem so bad, but big changes came at the trade deadline bringing in Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere, and LaTroy Hawkins. A big boost like that is not expected this year.

The split for 1-run games so far is 7-12 (.368). In 2015, 15-28 (.349).

A lot has been said about how poorly the Jays have done in 1-run games. But it seems like it’s pretty how it was last year, if not slightly better.

How did the Jays do by month in 2015?

Wining percentage 2015:
Apr  .478
May  .414
Jun  .667
Jul  .480
Aug  .778
Sep  .667

So far in 2016, Apr .440, May .586. So in fact, May this year was better than last year. Maybe June will be better like 2015.

How is the hitting compared to 2015 and is there hope for improvement?

I think it’s hard to compare because there has been some shuffling in some positions, but clearly the team as a whole has not been hitting as well as last year. Let’s look at the players who played full-time both years and see who’s got room for improvement.

If looking at batting average, on base percentage, and on base plus slugging…

Josh Donaldson is clearly not his MVP calibre self, but this year’s numbers are not that much different from 2014 so he might not repeat his 2013 and 2015 performances.

Jose Bautista‘s batting average is lower than 2015 but actually he’s not too far off his 2016 projections.

Kevin Pillar probably isn’t too far off his potential looking at his career performance so although not performing as well as last year, may not be expected to get much better over the year.

Russell Martin is below his previous 2 years with the Jays, so he is the one guy clearly hitting under his potential and who will hopefully continue to move back towards his usual level of hitting.

Edwin Encarnacion has also not yet hit his stride. He’s traditionally been a slow starter so he should get to where he’s been and we should see continued improvement.

Justin Smoak on the upside has been better than 2015 having the opportunity to play every day.

So is there hope for the offense? We could see a dramatic improvement in the hitting. We need 1) Martin and Encarnacion to get back to where they’ve been on average. We’d also like to see 2) Tulowitzki figure out how to get back to his pre-Blue Jay self. That would be a mega-boost to the offense.

 

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.