I agree with a lineup shuffle. The weakest link right now is Tulowitzki. His AVG is abysmal and he’s right in the middle of the lineup after Encarnacion. Tulo’s poor hitting is negatively affecting Encarnacion as the pitchers are unwilling to give him anything to hit knowing Tulo’s bat is coming up next. You probably can’t swap them because then you’d be giving Tulo even more at bats. Not many options, but could probably move Pillar into the 5th spot. Of course there’s the Diva issue of offending or further affecting Tulo’s confidence by moving him down. He doesn’t seem to respond well to change.
This was my comment 3 days ago at Jays Journal and Gibby must have read it 🙂 because he moved Troy Tulowitzki down into the 6th position in Wednesday nights game versus the Texas Rangers.
This was game 3 of 4 and the series was tied at 1-1. Justin Smoak had historically hit well against their pitcher Lewis, and he had a 2-homer night yesterday so he was put into 5th position. So what happened? Well Edwin Encarnacion got something to hit and drove it high down the left field line for a 2-run homer to tie the game!
Jose Bautista finally got a hit after going something like 0 for 12? And gave the Jays their first run of the evening.
And for the second game in a row, they walked off the 9th inning. This time with the bases loaded and off the bat of Russell Martin who got a hit to win the game.
I know, you can’t shake things up too much but these tweaks could have big effects right?
First of all, thank goodness the Toronto Raptors won tonight because worse than losing in the first round again, in game 7, this time it would have been after having a 14 point lead heading into the 4th quarter. Man, winning by 5 is just too close for comfort.
And it was a great Sunday as Toronto’s other team, the Toronto Blue Jays also won today on ace pitcher Marcus Stroman’s birthday. He pitched 8 intelligent innings allowing only a solo homer. Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki both had homeruns, but the best played part of the game was the 9th inning when Darwin Barney pinch hit for Ryan Goins and lead off with a double. With Donaldson also on base, Edwin Encarnacion did what he had to do and got an RBI groundout. Tulo’s homer was then the icing on the cake.
AND yesterday, Toronto’s other team with die hard fans, the Maple Leafs, didn’t actually win a game but won the first round draft pick. The best news they’ve had all year. All in all, a great weekend for Toronto sports.
I was feeling a little better knowing that the Jays were actually also 3 games behind first place last June 2015. Of course, some major changes were made to the roster come July. Fortunately, the Toronto Blue Jays ended their 3-game losing streak beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1, after getting swept at home by the Chicago White Sox. The last time the Jays were swept at home? 2013.
Aaron Sanchez was in good form with 7 shutout innings. But Drew Storen is still majorly struggling giving up the lone Tampa Bay Rays homerun.
Good news…sort of
Russell Martin snapped his 9 strikeout in a row streak by getting a hit to right field.
IF Tulowitzki doesn’t fix his batting issues, I predict that in July the team may attempt to trade him. That’s assuming that Devon Travis makes it back to the roster and demonstrates that he is still very capable of hitting and playing second base. That’s also assuming that the Jays think they can keep Barney on the bench with Goins moving to shortstop. If Goins can hit around .250 or at least better than Tulo, that’ll free up a lot of salary to fill in any holes.
Starting the season in AAA must be a hard pill for Drew Hutchison to swallow. But he gave a good effort in his spot start on Sunday and the Jays won 6-3 leading to a series win! Everyone got a hit except Troy Tulowitzki who did get a walk. Jose Bautista had a homerun and none other than Ezequiel Carrera who’s had the weekend of his career.
Sadly for Drew, he’ll be back with the Bisons Tuesday. Not only is he not in the big leagues, he’s in BUFFALO! That kinda sucks.
Ohhh…so many good things about Saturday’s 9-3 win over the Oakland A’s at the Rogers Centre. The dome was closed. The game was sold out. Not surprisingly, the Jays are ranked 4th in attendance for their home games this year. Oakland’s 5-game win streak is over. The Jays 3-game losing streak is done. All is good.
J. A. Happ pitched 7 innings and allowed 3 runs. He did this despite only 1 strikeout, the first batter in the 1st inning. He also had only 1 walk and the 2nd batter hit a homerun. But otherwise, the Blue Jay defense neutralized the offense.
Gavin Floyd pitched the remaining 2 innings and did not allow any runs.
There was a bit of drama in the 6th when recently traded Liam Hendricks hit Donaldson with a pitch. In the 7th, Happ retaliated by hitting Khris Davis with a pitch (that he caught with his armpit). Gibby didn’t believe these were intentional. Gregg Zaun though for sure Happ’s was intentional. He may not have meant to hit the batter but threw inside as if to say, ‘Hey, if you keep pitching our guys inside, we’re going to have to do the same.’ The way Happ hit his glove afterward, suggests to me that at least he didn’t intend to hit the pitcher. This drama led to warnings issued to both sides.
Blue Jay defense cleaned up. No passed balls. Three double plays. Even Ezequiel Carrera looked great and made 2 Pillar style layout catches in left field. (I disagree with Gregg Zaun about them being TV dives.) I hadn’t realized that Carrera didn’t speak English until Hazel Mae interviewed him after the game. I mean, he’s rarely interviewed!
And the Offense…
Ahh…the offense that we know and love. Bautista and Martin RBIs to start. Then Josh Donaldson and that classic J. D. swing landed a 3-run homer off Oakland’s Bassitt. That broke the Jays 2-1 lead wide open to 5-1.
What did the Jays do different? Well, they started the game playing small ball. Hit by hit. No one tried to be the hero. Even Bautista seemed so happy to get 2 RBIs despite no hits. When the big bats aren’t working, that’s the way to win a la KC Royals right?
Did you notice…
What a good mood Bautista was in? He was smiling and chatty when he got back to the dugout after the RBIs. That must have lifted everyone’s spirits. Overall, a sign of awesomeness to come.
“The only thing I know is that I would never compromise the integrity of the game of baseball. I love this game too much,” Colabello said in his statement released by the player’s association. “I hope that before anyone passes judgment on me they can take a look at the man that I am, and everything that I have done to get to where I am in my career.”
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
I’m sorry to say it but there is NO WAY that people aren’t going to pass judgment on any pro athlete who fails a drug test. And from the sounds of Troy Tulowitzki’s comments, some of his teammates are none too happy too. Maybe they don’t believe him. Maybe they’re pissed that he didn’t tell them sooner. Maybe they’re pissed that he kept trying to play these past 17 games and hitting .069. What could he do before they suspended him? Take himself out of the roster?
He is using his long difficult road to the majors as a defence. He is claiming that he would never compromise his career when it took so long to get here. But, maybe he lost patience and wanted a boost to get himself across the finish line by the age of 30. I can’t imagine that he had never had a drug test before. And why dope before spring training when you know that you’re going to get tested?
I think we’ll never know for sure whether he’s innocent. But it doesn’t matter. Even if he took uncertified supplements that were laced with steroids, he’s still responsible. And what a shame considering that he isn’t buff and he isn’t performing well! But I have a feeling this shocking blow could divide the clubhouse. Or maybe it will help them focus. Friday night’s game against the Oakland Athletics kind of fell apart. Was it the news? I don’t know but Sanchez was not the pitcher he’s been and gave up 6 runs before they finally yanked him in the 5th inning. But the Blue Jays did battle back run by run to get back to 6-5. When Osuna came to the mound, there was hope that magic would happen. If it was September 2015, it would have. But there isn’t much spark or magic yet within this club. Hoping they ignite today.
Some mornings when I’m writing a post after the Blue Jays have lost, it feels like I’m writing a post-mortem.
Video Recap April 21
Jose Bautista continued to be angry. Looked like this ump hated both sides with a staring contest with Bautista and an ejection of Matt Wieters of the Orioles in the 5th inning.
After seeing Donaldson’s 2015 catch in the stands on the highlight reel like a hundred times, I didn’t expect to see him miss one. This Trumbo foul shot, Donaldson had in his glove, but dropped when he fell into the stands. This time, he didn’t have Toronto fans protecting his face.
Pitching and Offense
The talk all off-season was ‘the starting rotation…, the starting rotation…’ and the offense was a given. Well the starting rotation is just fine, but what is with the offense?
The 3 key offensive players, Edwin Encarnacion (AVG .299), Josh Donaldson (not Josh MacDonald, Buck) (AVG .284), and Jose Bautista (AVG .276) have been doing fine and Michael Saunders (AVG .321) seems happy in the leadoff spot. The Jays were 5-7 with Pillar in leadoff, and 3-2 with Saunders in leadoff. But the rest of the lineup is still struggling with 2 and a half hitters still below .200.
Passed balls and Permeable gloves
Remember how disappointing Wednesday night’s game was when Joe Biagini got his signs crossed and threw the wrong pitch to Josh Thole. Thole who tends to turn his glove away towards balls pitched towards his opposite side, allowed a passed ball which scored the tie-breaking 10th inning run. Thole looked like he was going to cry. A lot of people asked, why wasn’t Russell Martin in there instead? Well, turns out, the very next day, Martin also allowed a passed ball pitched from Brett Cecil in the the bottom of the 8th. This allowed Joey Rickard to advance to 2nd, which then allowed the tie-breaking run when Bautista couldn’t come up with Manny Machado’s bloop to right field.
Machado also got a fluke hit after his line drive went right through the webbing of Donaldson’s glove. It’s interesting to hear opposing team commentary. The Orioles commentator’s statement was ‘that’s why you’re not supposed to catch the ball with the webbing’. Whatever dude.
Same thing happened to Tulowitzki’s glove on April 5th. This one was predictable since his glove has been on it’s last legs for a while.
Sigh. Overall, considering the Blue Jay bats are stale, they are still managing to hover around a .500 record. If they could just clean up a few things, they could still stay in the running. If they clean up their defense which for the most part is great, AND the bats wake up, they really should be unstoppable, right? Sounds easier said than done.