Tuesday, September 25, 2018

#158 - Houston Astros (99-57) at Toronto Blue Jays (71-86)



Tuesday, September 25, 2018 | 7:07 pm
Skydome | Toronto, ON

Josh James (1-0, 2.81, 1.00) vs. Sam Gaviglio (3-8, 5.18, 1.42)


PREAMBLE:

After losing game 1 of the series to the Astros and having to face Roberto Osuna in the 9th inning, the Blue Jays are looking to get back on the winning track and stop the Astros from celebrating their 100th win on our turf and potentially a division clinch as well.

Sam Gaviglio takes his gaudy (at least by his overall standards) home-field numbers to the mound as he faces Josh James, making his third big-league start.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Game #157 Houston Astros (99-57) @ Toronto Blue Jays (71-86) - game recap

Jose Altuve was 2-5 with a RBI and a run scored as the Astros defeated the Blue Jays 5-3

The MLB schedule makers saved the best for last for Blue Jays fans. This series has so many intriguing pieces. The Gurriel brothers face off in Toronto. Roberto Osuna pitches in Toronto for the first time since being arrested. Ken Giles faces his old team. Oh yeah and the Blue Jays could affect the outcome of the AL West title. Oakland is currently 4.5 games back. If the Blue Jays sweep Houston and Oakland sweeps Seattle. They could force the Astros to face the Yankees in the wild card game. Here is today's game recap

Game Highlights

  • The Astros took the lead in the top of the 1st as Yuli Gurriel singled scoring George Springer 
  • The Astros added a run in the top of the 2nd as Brian McCann led off with a HR to right
  • A batter later, Josh Reddick homered to right
  • The Astros added a run in the top of the 3rd as Alex Bregman doubled home Jose Altuve
  • The Blue Jays got on the board in the bottom of the 4th as Kevin Pillar drove a towering moon shot over the walk in left; also scoring Justin Smoak
  • Marco Estrada pitching line: 4.2IP 7H 4R (all earned) 1BB 1K 93 pitches (58 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the bottom of the 5th as Yangervis Solarte singled home Luke Maile
  • Dallas Keuchel pitching line: 5IP 7H 3R (all earned) 3BB 5K 86 pitches (48 for strikes)
  • The Astros added a run in the top of the 9th as Altuve singled scoring Jake Marisnick
  • Roberto Osuna pitched in Toronto for the first time since he was arrested back in May. He threw a scoreless inning for his 10th save as an Astro, 18th of the season
  • Final score: Astros 5 Blue Jays 3
My Take

  • Lourdes Gurriel Jr. left the game after the first inning with tightness in his left hamstring. If it's anything more than a very minor issue, the Blue Jays may just opt to shut him down with five games to go and nothing to play for. Gurriel Jr. might resist not playing the next two days with his brother in town.
  • Marco Estrada had a night to forget in what could be his final start in a Blue Jays uniform. Estrada was knocked around to the tune of 4 runs on 7 hits and a walk in 4.2 innings. When he walked off the mound, he looked so defeated and probably sad that his final start of the season didn't go better (of course he could start the last game of the season too).
  • Not surprisingly, the boo birds were out in the 9th inning when Osuna came on to pitch. Every pitch he threw, the boos seemed to get louder and louder. Interestingly, Osuna's case is back in session tomorrow. You have to wonder if it's going to be settled out of court.
  • Rowdy Tellez pinch hit for Jonathan Davis in the 9th and flew out to LF
  • Jonathan Davis started in LF and batted leadoff. He was 1-3 with a single and he drew a walk. Davis was involved in 6 plays defensively
  • Richard Urena was at second base and batting 9th tonight. He was 3-4 at the the plate. He was involved in 2 plays defensively
  • Up next, the Blue Jays try to even the series and delay the Astros in getting 100 wins as Sam Gaviglio takes on Astros rookie righty Josh Jamees

no. 157 - Houston Astros (98-57) at Toronto Blue Jays (71-85)



Monday, September 24, 2018 | 7:07 pm
House of Gurriel | Toronto, ON

Dallas Keuchel (11-11, 3.71, 1.29) vs. Marco Estrada (7-13, 5.57, 1.41)


PREAMBLE:

After a series split against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Blue Jays welcome the defending World Series champions Astros to Toronto for a three-game series.

On the mound, Marco Estrada takes the ball as he attempts to stave off Father Time stealing what's left of his "fastball".  Dallas Keuchel is his counterpart in tonight's matchup.


NOTES:

There's all kinds of story lines going on in this series.  We've got:

  • the Gurriel brothers facing each other for the first time, and they seem to be gearing up for the matchup as they both hit 2 home runs last Friday to be the first brothers to do so on the same day. 
  • Roberto Osuna making his return to Toronto for the first time since he was traded away after serving a 75-game suspension for a domestic violence allegation. The boos could be rather loud.
  • Ken Giles facing his old mates for the first time - wanna bet he'll be extra-amped with a couple ticks higher on the radar gun?
  • the Astros looking to clinch a division title as they lead Oakland by 4.5 games with 7 games to play.
  • and the Astros needing 2 wins to reach 100 for the season for the third time in franchise history.


No shame in losing a pitcher's duel to Blake Snell, too bad that Ryan Borucki couldn't get some support in yesterday's game.  Here's an interesting fact:


LINEUPS:

Astros:
CF Springer
2B Altuve
SS Bregman
1B Gurriel
DH Gattis
C McCann
RF Reddick
3B Davis
LF Kemp


This is your "grab a bucket of popcorn and a six-pack, gonna be fun" game thread.

ten weekly random thoughts: week 25 September 17-23


We have arrived at the final week in the MLB schedule. There have been good moments (Kendrys Morales seven game HR streak, the play of Ryan Borucki, Yangervis Solarte becoming just the second player in the live ball era with 5 hits) and they've had bad moments (the pitching, countless errors that shouldn't be made and players not hustling). In 2017, after 156 games, the Blue Jays had a record of 73-83, two wins better than this year. This week, I will finish my analysis of all 9 positions with the two corner outfield positions and the pitchers (split into starters and relievers). Next week, I will analyze a replacement for John Gibbons and look at the free agents available. Here are ten random thoughts from week 25 of the MLB.

1. With no injury updates this week, let's get right into analyzing some positions starting in left field. Teoscar Hernandez, Randal Grichuk, Russell Martin, Curtis Granderson, Billy McKinney, Steve Pearce, Dwight Smith Jr., Anthony Alford, Dalton Pompey, Jonathan Davis and Darnell Sweeney have all played at least one inning in left field this year. Hernandez has played the most games (86). This has been one of the most difficult positions for the Blue Jays to find any kind of consistency defensively. Hernandez has had a nightmare of a season in the outfield. He has committed 8 errors this season, 4 each in left and right field. I thought it was interesting that he pinch hit in the 7th inning Saturday, but was replaced in the field by Jonathan Davis. McKinney has looked like an all-star in LF, above and away the best of everyone who has played in that position this year. Martin's game came in Boston and he misjudged a ball off the green monster that turned into a triple. Pearce and Granderson were both traded ahead of the deadline to the Red Sox and Brewers respectively. Pompey has fallen out of favor with management. The way things stand now and assuming the Blue Jays don't pursue a free agent, McKinney should get the bulk of the games in LF. Hernandez needs to work very hard in the off-season on his defense. There are still a lot of players playing for spots in the outfield next year. A trade or two could happen. Certainly one or two of the above mentioned players will start the season in the minors until injuries happen. Hopefully next year brings some stability in this position.

2. In right field, Randal Grichuk, Teoscar Hernandez, Curtis Granderson, Billy McKinney, Steve Pearce, Dwight Smith Jr., and Anthony Alford all played at least one inning in RF. Grichuk got the bulk of the starts (97) in right. This position should belong to Grichuk next year. It is likely that the Blue Jays will try to trade Hernandez or sign a free agent. Smith Jr. and Alford will get long looks in RF next year in spring training.

3. Pitching was a big problem for the Blue Jays this year. Their starters struggled to go deep into games, which forced the bullpen to be used-- a lot. Fourteen different players started at least one game for the Blue Jays (JA Happ, Marco Estrada, Ryan Borucki, Aaron Sanchez, Sam Gaviglio, Marcus Stroman, Mike Hauschild, Tyler Clippard, Luis Santos, Jaime Garcia, Joe Biagini, John Axford, Thomas Pannone and Sean Reid-Foley). Happ and Garcia are no longer with the team, having been traded and DFA'd respectively. Borucki has been the best of the bunch, sporting a 4-4 record with a 3.86ERA (he could have a few more wins if the offense had scored a few more runs for him). The remarkable thing is Borucki started his career facing the game's best lineups and he did not look out of place. Estrada is a pending free agent and will likely not be re-signed as several pitchers have outplayed him. Reid-Foley had a rocky first couple of starts in August and was sent back down for a couple of weeks. In September, he has looked much better. He is showing signs of tiring as he threw almost a hundred pitches in each of his last 2 starts and he didn't look as effective. Stroman has had a rocky season to say the least. He had to endure 2 injuries that required DL stints (inflamed shoulder and finger blister). When he did pitch, he was among the worst of the Blue Jay starters, finishing the year with a 4-9 record and 5.54 ERA. If I'm Blue Jays management, I'm looking to move Stroman because he has major attitude problems and he's not as good as he thinks he is. Sanchez had a frustrating season as well. He missed 2 months after catching his finger while zipping up his suitcase in Anaheim. He has pitched better in September and is looking to finish the year on a positive note. Pannone has made 4 starts and pitched solidly in three of them. He throws lightly, so there is question if his performance is sustainable. Biagini started in Stroman's spot when he first went on the DL. He really didn't fare well as a starter. Biagini struggled mightily after 50 pitches or so. Gaviglio has been Jekyl and Hyde this season. He's been fine at home with a 2-2 record and 3.26ERA. Away from the Roger's Center, Sammy G is 1-6 with a 7.91ERA. The rotation next year should be Borucki-SRF-Pannone-Sanchez-Stroman-free agent. Also, I would only let Sammy G start at home.

4. The bullpen has been an overworked, inconsistent mess. Too many times, the Blue Jays have been forced to use three relievers to get three outs in an inning. I'm amazed that Kendrys Morales was the only position player that pitched and only once. Toronto looks like they made a brilliant trade of closers at the deadline. Ken Giles has been brilliant in save opportunities, saving all twelve games he's been needed in. However, Giles is a completely different pitcher in a non-save situation and that is a problem. Roberto Osuna started off as the closer and saved 9 games before getting in legal trouble for alleged domestic violence. He was suspended 75 games and was eventually traded. Inhis absence, the Blue Jays used Tyler Clippard, Ryan Tepera and Seunghwan Oh as closer. All three had varying levels of success and none really had the confidence of manager John Gibbons. One thing I would like to see changed next year, and this might ease the problem of overworking pitchers, is to stretch out a reliever or two so they can pitch multiple innings in case the starter gets in trouble early or is injured. The Blue Jays used an 8-man bullpen most of the year, but even there the Blue Jays were near the top of the league in bullpen appearances. The Blue Jays may look at some free agent options to add to their bullpen.

5. The playoff picture is slowly becoming clearer as we get closer to the end of the season. The American League almost has the five teams that will compete. Boston clinched the AL East title with a victory in the series finale at Yankee Stadium Thursday. The Indians have clinched the AL Central. Houston is currently up 3.5 games on the Oakland A's for the AL West Division title and the WC game will be between the Yankees and whoever doesn't win the AL West. Where that WC game will be played likely won't be known until next weekend, but it the playoffs started tomorrow, the game would be at Yankees Stadium between NY and Oakland. There is still much to be decided in the National league. The only thing that has been decided so far is the NL East title, which was captured by Atlanta Saturday. In the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs have a 2.5 game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers and 4.5 game lead over the Cardinals. The NL West is even tighter with the Dodgers holding a 1.5 game edge over the Rockies. The Diamondbacks are all but eliminated, 7.5 games back of LA.  The Wild Card participants likely won't be decided until the final weekend. The Cardinals have a slim 1.5 game lead over the Rockies for the second wild card spot. The final week of the season is going to be fun!

6. Coming from the Mets-Nationals game Saturday was a very cute young fan emulating an umpire  He has the full gear of a home plate umpire, including the mask. If you give him some stilts to make him taller, I bet he'd be better than an adult umpire. This clip also reminds me of this young fan imitating Mikka Kiprusoff.

7. Ex-Blue Jays to watch in the playoffs: Josh Donaldson, Melky Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion (Indians); Steve Pearce (Red Sox); Curtis Granderson (Brewers); JA Happ (Yankees); John Axford (Dodgers); Roberto Osuna (Astros); George Poulis (trainer for the Braves)

8. This is one of the best first pitches ever. Can the Blue Jays sign her to be a reliever?

9. Two pitches left their Sunday starts very early. One could have playoff ramifications and one could affect the team next year. Charlie Morton left his start early after just 1 inning and 24 pitches. He had just come off the DL from a shoulder strain. His velocity was down today. His early exit has to be concerning for the Astros with the playoffs a week away. Alex Cobb also left his start in the first inning after throwing just 4 pitches. He has been dealing with a blister on his finger. Given what Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez have been through, the blister could easily cause problems for Cobb in 2019 and beyond

10. Blue Jay of the week: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. who made history this week with brother Yulieski becoming the second brother duo to each hit two HR in the same day. Oh and Lourdes also homered in three straight AB's.

Follow me on twitter @tpoole00 and check out my other blog @ proudbcer.blogspot.com

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Game #156 Tampa Bay Rays (87-68) @ Toronto Blue Jays (71-85) - game recap

Blake Snell threw 6.2 shutout innings as the Rays knocked off the Blue Jays 5-2 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive

Today's game actually had some relevance. A Rays loss would eliminate Tampa Bay from the playoffs. Ryan Borucki was making his second to last start of the season. He has more than proven himself as a lock of the rotation next year. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights

  • The Rays took the lead in the top of the 4th as Joey Wendle doubled home Tommy Pham
  • The Rays added a run in the top of the 6th as Pham scored on a ground-rule double by CJ Cron
  • Ryan Borucki pitching line: 7IP 3H 2R (both earned) 4BB 7K 101 pitches (60 for strikes)
  • Blake Snell pitching line: 6.2IP 3H 0R 2BB 11K 100 pitches (60 for strikes)
  • The Rays added a run in the top of the 8th as Cron homered to left-center
  • Two batters later, Brandon Lowe hit a 2 run HR to right; also scoring Wendle
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the bottom of the 8th as Danny Jansen scored on a ground out by Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
  • a batter later, Aledmys Diaz singled home Richard Urena
  • Final score: Rays 5 Blue Jays 2
My Take

  • Ryan Borucki was excellent today. He allowed 2 runs on three hits and walked four other batters. He even got some nice plays defensively behind him. Borucki reminds me of a young Ricky Romero with the deftness he displays when mowing down each lineup he faces. Borucki is building a strong case for rookie of the year. He leads all rookies pitchers with 11 starts allowing 2 or fewer earned runs
  • Kevin Kiermaier was forced to leave the game in the top of the 8th when he appeared to  strain his back on a check swing. Earlier in the game he crashed into the wall in right-center making a great catch
  • The comeback fell short again. The Blue Jays had runners on first and second in the 9th, but Richard Urena grounded out to first base to end the threat
  • With the win, the Rays are still alive in the wild card race, but could be eliminated later today if Oakland wins
  • Jonathan Davis started in left field and batted leadoff. He was 0-4 at the plate and was involved in one play defensively
  • Rowdy Tellez was at first base and batting 6th. Tellez was 0-4 at the plate. He made a fielding error in the 5th. Including the error, he was involved in 9 plays defensively
  • Anthony Alford pinch ran for Kendrys Morales in the 9th. Nothing consequential came of it as the next batter, Urena grounded out to end the game
  • Richard Urena was at second base and batting 9th. He was 2-4 with a run scored. Urena was involved in three plays defensively
  • Danny Jansen was catching today and batting 8th. He was 2-2 and scored the Blue Jays 1st run. Jansen had one base stolen off him today
  • Jose Fernandez pitched a third of an inning and gave up 2 runs on 1 hit and a walk
  • David Paulino pitched a scoreless 9th 
  • Up next, the Gurriel brothers face each other again as the Houston Astros head to Toronto for a three game set starting tomorrow. It will be the final home series for the Blue Jays. Monday's game sees Marco Estrada making what is likely his final start of the season against Astros lefty Dallas Kuechel

no.156 - Tampa Bay Rays (86-68) at Toronto Blue Jays (71-84)

The death knell is sounding for your playoff chances, Rays.  Love, Blue Jays.

Sunday, September 23, 2018 | 1:07 pm
Rogers Centre of Horrors | Toronto, ON

Blake Snell (20-5, 1.97, 0.97) vs. Ryan Borucki (4-4, 3.86, 1.33)


PREAMBLE:

After winning game three of the series last night, the Blue Jays look to secure a series win and regain some pride after taking a beating from the Rays most of the season.  They've got a tough matchup on the mound, though, as they'll be facing the hottest pitcher in all of baseball who has both the wins/ERA (outdated stat models) and the WHIP/ERA+ (newfangled stat models) that makes you sit up and take notice.

Facing Cy Young, it's Ryan Borucki that takes the ball for the Jays as he looks to continue a better-than-expected rookie campaign and audition for a permanent role in the 2019 rotation.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Game #155 Tampa Bay Rays (86-68) @ Toronto Blue Jays (71-84) - game recap

Rowdy Tellez was 3-4 with 3RBI and a run scored as the Blue Jays knocked off the Ray 5-2

The Blue Jays were unable to repeat their epic comeback Thursday on Friday. Here's an idea, don't give up so many runs. Tonight, Thomas Pannone looks to repeat his strong seven inning performance from last start vs. the Yankees. The last time the Blue Jays faced today's Rays starter, they scored 7 runs in 2/3 of an inning. Could the Blue Jays do what the Rays have been doing to them the last games and rout them? Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights

  • The Rays took the lead in the top of the 3rd as Tommy Pham hit a solo HR to left
  • The Blue Jays took the lead in the top of the 4th as Rowdy Tellez crushed a 2 run HR to right; also scoring Justin Smoak
  • Three batters later, Reese McGuire doubled home Kevin Pillar. McGuire advanced to 3rd on the play due to a throwing error by Rays second baseman Joey Wendle
  • The Rays got one back in the top of the 7th as Jesus Sucre homered to left-center
  • Thomas Pannone pitching line: 6.2IP 6H 2R (both earned)  3BB 5K 108 pitches (66 for strikes)
  • Tyler Glasnow pitching line: 6IP 6H 3R (all earned) 2BB 6K 98 pitches (62 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the bottom of the 8th as tellez doubled home Randal Grichuk
  • A batter later, Aledmys Diaz singled, scoring Anthony Alford
  • Ken Giles pitched a scoreless 9th for his 24th save of the season as he remains perfect in save situations
  • Final score: Blue Jays 5 Rays 2
My Take

  • Thomas Pannone had another solid start, throwing 6.2 innings and giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and walking three. He got out of a bases loaded jam in the 3rd inning after walking the bases full by striking out Willy Adames He retired 7 in a row at one point. Because Pannone's fastball tops out at 88-90MPH, location and movenent are incredibly important for Pannone. I see a spot in the rotation next year for Pannone.
  • The bullpen was excellent today, allowing 2 walks and a single in 2.1 innings today
  • Rowdy Tellez continues to swing a hot bat. He was three for 4 today, driving in 3 runs and scoring one himself.
  • Jonathan Davis took over defensively in LF. He was not involved in any plays defensively and he did not get an at-bat today
  • Reese McGuire had Mallex Smith steal a base off him in the 7th. He did a good job calling the game and managing pitcher Thomas Pannone. He was 1-2 at the plate and drove in what would be the winning run with a double
  • Danny Jansen pinch hit for McGuire in the 7th and popped out to SS. Jansen was fine defensively today
  • Anthony Alford pinch ran for Rowdy Tellez in the 8th and scored the Blue Jays 5th run.
  • Richard Urena played second base and batted 9th today. He was 1-2 at the plate (single and drew a walk. Urena was involved in two plays defensively today
  • Up next, the Blue Jays go for the series win and try to put a serious dent in the Rays playoff chances. Ryan Borucki makes his second to last start of the season against Rays starter and Cy Young favorite Blake Snell

no. 155 - Tampa Bay Rays (86-67) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (70-84)



Saturday, September 22, 2018 | 4:07 pm
Rogers Centre of Horrors | Toronto, ON

Tyler Glasnow (2-6, 4.22, 1.24) vs. Thomas Pannone (3-1, 3.77, 1.06)


PREAMBLE:

Last night's game got ugly in a hurry and hopes of another stirring comeback a la Thursday quickly faded.  Oh well.  Move on to game 3 this afternoon and the Blue Jays are looking to secure at least a series split.

Thomas Pannone takes the ball this afternoon as he looks to continue his impressive performance in the big leagues and to stake a claim for a rotation spot for 2019.  He faces 6'8" Tyler Glasnow, who got absolutely torched by the Jays the last time he pitched against them two weeks ago.

Game #154 Tampa Bay Rays (86-67) @ Toronto Blue Jays (70-84) - game recap

Austin Meadows was 3 for 3 with 3 RBI and a pair of runs scored as the Rays routed the Blue Jays 11-3

After an epic comeback last night, the Blue Jays were looking to win two in a row vs. their AL East rivals. Tonight Sean Reid-Foley took to the mound in what will be his second to last start of the season. Will Russell Martin see the field again this season? What I think would be cool is on the final home game of the season, let Martin play all nine positions as Shane Halter did for the Twins in 2017. Here is tonight's game recap

Game Highlights

  • The Rays opened the scoring in the top of the 1st on a fielding error by Rowdy Tellez that allowed Tommy Pham and Ji-Man Choi to score
  • The Blue Jays tied the game in the bottom of the 1st as Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered to straightaway center. 
  • Diego Castillo pitching line: 1IP 1H 1R (earned) 0BB 1K 15 pitches (9 for strikes)
  • The Rays retook the lead in the top of the 4th as Mallex Smith doubled, scoring Jake Bauers
  • The Blue Jays tied the game in the bottom of the inning as Gurriel Jr. homered to straightaway center. It was the third straight at-bat he homered
  • Two batters later, Randal Grichuk homered to straightaway center to give the Blue Jays the lead 
  • The Rays tied the game in the top of the 5th as Pham tripled home Choi
  • Sean Reid Foley pitching line: 4IP 6H 4R (2 earned) 4BB 5K 95 pitches (56 for strikes)
  • The Rays took the lead in the top of the 6th as Austin Meadows singled, scoring CJ Cron and Smith
  • A batter latter, Matt Duffy scored on a sac fly by Pham
  • Two batters later, Willy Adames singled home Meadows
  • The Rays added a run in the top of the 7th as Meadows singled home Smith
  • A batter later, Duffy scored when Danny Barnes threw the ball away trying to pick off Meadows
  • Two batters later, Joey Wendle doubled home Meadows
  • Final score: Rays 11 Blue Jays 3
My Take

  • It was not SRF's best night to be sure. He gave up 4 runs (only half of them were earned due to a fielding error by Rowdy Tellez) on 6 hits while walking 4. His command was definitely off today. It was the second game in a row where he threw over 90 pitches in 5 or less innings. Perhaps it is a sign he is running out of gas after playing an extra month for the first time in his career. He should get one final start next week
  • It was also a rough night for Rowdy Tellez who committed 2 errors that directly led to 2 runs. In the 1st inning, he flubbed a ground ball hit to him and in the 7th, he was unable to corral a bad throw by Danny Barnes. Tellez was 1-4 at the plate with a single in the 9th. Including the 2 errors, he was involved in 9 plays defensively tonight
  • Anthony Alford came in as a defensive replacement in the top of the 8th in RF. He was involved in one play defensively and grounded into a fielder's choice  in his only AB and advanced to second base on a passed ball
  • Jonathan Davis came in as a defensive replacement in the of the 8th in CF. He was involved in 1 play defensively and lined out to left in his only AB
  • Danny Jansen pinch hit for Kendrys Morales in the 9th and grounded out to SS
  • Richard Urena came in as a defensive replacement in the top of the 8th at 3B. He was not involved in any plays defensively and he flew out to CF to end the game
  • Reese McGuire got the start at catcher tonight. He did fine defensively, except Austin Meadows stole a base off him in the 6th. McGuire was 1-4 with a single in the 8th
  • Jose Fernandez pitched 1.1 innings and gave up a pair of runs on a hit and a walk, while striking out 2
  • Taylor Guerreri pitched 0.2 of an inning and was lit up for 3 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 2
  • Mark Leiter Jr. was lit up for 2 runs on 2 hits and a walk in 0.1 innings
  • No epic comeback tonight.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays go for a guaranteed split with a win tomorrow as Jays lefty Thomas Pannone takes on Rays righty Tyler Glasnow

Friday, September 21, 2018

#154 - Tampa Bay Rays (85-67) at Toronto Blue Jays (70-83)



Friday, September 21, 2018 | 7:07 pm
Rogers Centre | Toronto, ON

Diego Castillo (3-2, 3.14, 0.97) vs. Sean Reid-Foley (2-3, 5.54, 1.54)


PREAMBLE:

Well, how about that 9th inning last night?  The Blue Jays look to build upon the momentum of that titanic 7-run comeback into tonight's second game of four against the Rays.  That might have been the most exciting comeback in a non-playoff-atmosphere in quite some time.  Jansen, Gurriel and finally, Smoak to walk it off.

SRF looks to continue his mostly-solid pitching in his second chance since being recalled from Buffalo, as he's gone 2-1, 3.78 with two 10-K games since returning to Toronto.  He goes up against some chap named Diego Castillo tonight.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Game #153 Tampa Bay Rays (85-67) @ Toronto Blue Jays (70-83) - game recap

Justin Smoak hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th to cap off an epic 7 run inning for a come from behind 9-8 victory over the Rays

The Blue Jays began their final homestand of the season tonight. Going into the game, the Blue Jays were .500 at home with a record of 37-37. Sam Gaviglio was on the mound tonight and he pitches much better at home. The Rays were having their usual bullpen game, which has been highly effective as the Rays could get 90 wins this season and they have an outside chance of making the playoffs. Here's hoping the Blue Jays play spoiler once again. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights

  • The Blue Jays took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd as Rowdy Tellez hit a 2 run HR to right-center also scoring Randal Grichuk
  • Ryne Stanek pitching line: 1IP 3H 2R (both earned) 0BB 1K 17 pitches (13 for strikes)
  • The Rays got one back in the top of the 4th as Tommy Phan tripled, scoring Matt Duffy
  • A batter later, Joey Wendle doubled home Pham, tying the game at 2
  • Sam Gaviglio pitching line: 5IP 4H 2R (both earned) 1BB 2K 67 pitches (42 for strikes)
  • The Rays took the lead in the top of the 6th as Willy Adames singled, scoring Ji-Man Choi
  • The Rays added a run in the top of the 7th as Pham singled home Mallex Smith
  • A batter later, Wendle singled scoring Duffy
  • Three batters later, CJ Cron singled home Pham, Wendle and Kevin Kiermaier
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the bottom of the 9th as as Tellez doubled home Dwight Smith Jr.
  • Three batters later, Danny Jansen crushed a three-run homer to left, also scoring Tellez and Jonathan Davis
  • Two batters later, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. tied it with a HR into the Blue Jays bullpen; also scoring Teoscar Hernandez
  • A batter later, Justin Smoak hit a walk-off HR to right
  • Final score: Blue Jays 9 Rays 8
My Take

  • Sam Gavigio pitched a decent game, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk over five innings tonight. He had an excellent first 2 innings, retiring the first 6 batters on just 11 pitches. The 4th inning was a rough one for him and where the Rays got their runs. At this point, I would bring Gaviglio back, but only let him pitch at the Roger's Center. Or I would get MLB's permission to wear home uniforms on road games when it's his turn because Sammy G has been far better at home than on the road
  • The bullpen did not have a good game. Joe Biagini and Mark Leiter Jr. (who is not nearly as good as his father or uncle) combined to give up five runs on five hits and a pair of walks in the top of the 7th. Jose Fernandez also gave up a run in his third of an inning
  • Luckily the Blue Jays were in the mood for an epic comeback in the ninth, scoring 7 runs on 6 hits and a hit batter. This might have been the best game the Blue Jays played all year. The loss drove another nail into the Rays coffin. 
  • Anthony Alford pinch hit for Billy McKinney in the bottom of the 8th and struck out. He did not have a play the 9th
  • Dwight Smith Jr. came in as a defensive replacement in the 9th. He did not have a play defensively. He doubled and scored the Blue Jays 3rd run.
  • Rowdy Tellez had a huge day at the plate with a 2 for 4 effort, 3RBI and a pair of runs scored. Defensively, he was involved in 10 plays.
  • Danny Jansen had an up and down day today. Four base runners stole bases off him today and he gave up a key wild pitch in the Rays big 7th inning. However, he sort of made up for the defensive woes in the 9th when he crushed a three run HR to get the Blue Jays within 2
  • Reese McGuire struck out batting for Aledmys Diaz in the 9th.
  • Richard Urena played second base today and was 1-4 with a single in the 8th. He was involved in five plays defensively, four of them outs
  • Jonathan Davis took over defensively in CF in the top of the 8th.. He was involved in two outs defensively. He was hit by a pitch in his only at-bat and scored the Blue Jays 5th run of the game
  • Jose Fernandez pitch a third of a inning and allowed one run on one hit and walked a batter
  • David Paulino pitched a perfect 9th and struck out one batter
  • Mark Leiter Jr. was lit up for four runs on three hits and a walk in a third of an inning.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays go for their second straight win as Sean Reid-Foley gets his second to last start of the season facing a Rays opener (Stanek again?) 

#153 - Tampa Bay Rays (85-66) at Toronto Blue Jays (69-83)



Thursday, September 20, 2018 | 7:07 pm
Rogers Centre of Horrors | Toronto, ON

Ryne Stanek (2-3, 2.49, 1.06) vs. Sam Gaviglio (3-8, 5.25, 1.44)


PREAMBLE:

Not again, Ryne Stanek?  It feels like it's about the 10th time he's started a bullpenning game against the Blue Jays so far this season.  He'll probably go an inning and then be replaced by Yonny Chirinos (4-5, 3.89), who will go the bulk of the innings assuming the Jays let him pretend to be Cy Young for a while.

Sam Gaviglio takes the ball for the Jays as he looks to continue his home-field dominance.  He's 2-2, 3.23 at home, compared to 1-6 and close to 8.00 ERA on the road.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Game #152 Toronto Blue Jays (69-83) @ Baltimore Orioles (44-108) - game recap

DJ Stewart scored both Orioles runs, one off a towering solo HR as the Orioles edged the Blue Jays 2-1

After a solid comeback win, aided fittingly by a throwing error by the Orioles that allowed a pair of runs to score, the Blue Jays were looking to complete their third sweep of the season against the worst team in baseball. The struggling Marco Estrada, who's time in Toronto may be drawing near if the Blue Jays opt to not re-sign him. Estrada hasn't been as effective the last month or so as he has not been 100% healthy. He was facing righty Jimmy Yacabonis, who came into the game with an 0-2 record and 7.22ERA in 9 game (4 starts). Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights

  • The Orioles took the lead in the bottom of the 3rd as DJ Stewart hit a solo HR to right off the foul pole
  • Jimmy Yacabonis pitching line: 4IP 2H 0R 1BB 4K 64 pitches (39 for strikes)
  • Marco Estrada pitching line: 6IP 4H 1R (earned) 1BB 5K 98 pitches (66 for strikes)
  • The Orioles added a run in the bottom of the 7th as Cedric Mullins singled home Stewart
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the top of the 8th as Billy McKinney homered to straightaway center
  • The comeback fell short and the Blue Jays went quietly in the 9th
  • Final score: Orioles 2 Blue Jays 1
My Take

  • Marco Estrada played great today giving up one run (on a solo HR), 3 other hits and 1 walk over 6 innings. This was vintage Estrada tonight: lots of lazy fly balls and pop-ups. He retired the first four batters of the game before Aledmys Diaz booted a ground ball. While I'm sure Estrada will get one more start, I'd be inclined to shut him down tomorrow and end his season on a positive note.
  • The Blue Jays were 1-5 with runners in scoring position. They loaded the bases with nobody out in the 4th but got nothing out of it. Billy McKinney was thrown out trying to score on a short sac fly and Aledmys Diaz flew out to end the inning.
  • McKinney and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. each had 2 hits today and those were the only 4 hits the team got all day. Justin Smoak walked twice and Kevin Pillar was hit by a pitch
  • Rowdy Tellez pinch hit in the 9th and popped out to second base to end the game
  • Danny Jansen came in as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the 8th. He did not get an at-bat
  • Up next, the Blue Jays return home for their final home stand of the year. They will face the Tampa Bay Rays for four games starting tomorrow, followed by the Houston Astros Monday-Wednesday. Reliever Ryne Stanek will start the game for the Rays, facing Sam Gaviglio.

#151 - Toronto Blue Jays (69-82) at Baltimore oriLOLes (43-108)

Look at this beauty I found online...

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 | 7:05 pm
LOL Park at Camden Yards | Baltimore, MD

Marco Estrada (7-12, 5.75, 1.44) vs. Jimmy Yacabonis (0-2, 7.22, 1.53)


PREAMBLE:

Prepare to shed a lot of tears tonight as it'll be the last time the Blue Jays face the oriLOLes this season.  They've gone 14-4 so far.  So much fun beating them up.  Tonight, the Jays go for a series sweep and redemption for getting swept in Baltimore three weeks ago.

Marco Estrada goes out there to see if he has anything left in the tank; based on his last outing against the Yankees, it really doesn't look like he has much left.  Jimmy Yacabonis is his counterpart on the mound tonight - it's kinda like tossing a string of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks at this point in time.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Game #151 Toronto Blue Jays (69-82) @ Baltimore Orioles (43-108) - game recap

Lourdes Gurriel Jr singled in the game winning runs as the Blue Jays came from behind to defeat the Orioles 6-4

After a convincing shutout over the basement-dwelling Orioles, the Blue Jays turned to Aaon Sanchez, who has turned in two solid performances in September. Reese McGuire started his 4th game behind the plate tonight. I have been impressed with his speed and poise behind the plate. Baltimore sent Dylan Bundy to the mound, looking for his 9th win of the season.  Who will win tonight's meaningless game? Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights

  • The Orioles opened the scoring in the bottom of the 1st as Cedric Mullins homered to straightaway center
  • The Orioles added a run in the bottom of the as Trey Mancini scored on a sac fly by Breyvic Valera that was initially called out but was overturned upon replay when it was found that Reese McGuire did not have control of the ball and had not tagged Mancini
  • The next batter, DJ Stewart singled and eventually scored on a play that was an absolute comedy of errors. Stewart singled on a line drive to right. Billy McKinney threw the ball to nowhere in particular. Aaron Sanchez then threw the ball past Reese McGuire, allowing Valera to score and the umpires then awarded Stewart home plate. Essentially there should have been at worst runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out. Instead,, thanks to two horrible throwing errors on the same play, 2 runs scored on the weirdest inside the park home run you'll ever see.
  • Aaron Sanchez pitching line: 4IP 4H 4R (2 earned) 3BB 1K 77 pitches (44 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the top of the 5th as Dwight Smith Jr. doubled home Aledmys Diaz
  • The Blue Jays got another back in the top of the 6th as Billy McKinney scored on a ground out by Justin Smoak
  • The Blue Jays tied the game in the top of the 7th as the Orioles committing their own throwing error as Orioles third baseman Wilkerson threw the ball away allowing Devon Travis and Rowdy Tellez to score
  • A batter later, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. singled, scoring Reese McGuire and Teoscar Hernandez
  • Dylan Bundy pitching line: 6.2IP 7H 5R (2 earned) 1BB 6K 105 pitches (69 for strikes)
  • Ken Giles pitched a perfect 9th to remain the only closer to be perfect in save conversions. Tonight was his 23rd save of the season.
  • Final score: Blue Jays 6 Orioles 4
My Take

  • This was not the best game for Aaron Sanchez. He gave up 4 runs on 4 hits and 2 costly throwing errors on the same play. He also walked three batters. The game started about as bad as you can for Sanchez as the first batter of the game took him yard. The Orioles had at least one runner on base every inning tonight. Sanchez will likely get 2 more starts before his season ends. Hopefully the next 2 starts are more positive than this one.
  • I don't even know what to say anymore. I thought I had see it all this year with the lackluster defense, until tonight. With one out in the first and a runner on first, DJ Stewart lined a single to right. The play should have ended right there but Billy McKinney tried to play hero and gun down Breyvic Valera, who was going from first to third on the play. McKinney's throw was horrible going nowhere near any of the infielders. Aaron Sanchez ran over, grabbed the ball and tried to throw out Valera at home. He completely missed Reese McGuire and the ball went out of play, allowing Stewart to score on a single! McKinney has to be aware of the situation and make the smarter play in just getting the ball to the cutoff man. Worst case, there would have been runners on 1st and 3rd with one out and Sanchez would have been a double play ball from getting out of the inning allowing just one run.
  • Dwight Smith Jr. started in LF and misplayed a ball off the fence allowing Trey Mancini to get a triple on the play. He sort of made up for it in the 5th inning when he drove in the Blue Jays first run on a double. He was 1-3 today and struck out once
  • Reese McGuire had an up and down day today. Defensively, he had zero chance of catching that errant Sanchez throw that led to 2 runs. He also missed out on tagging out Trey Mancini when he could not corral the throw home cleanly. McGuire threw out one base stealer (Adam Jones to end the 1st) and had 2 others (Jonathan Villar and DJ Stewart) steal bases off him. He was 0-3 at the plate, but drew a walk and scored the game winning run.
  • Rowdy Tellez started at first base and was 1-4 and scored the Blue Jays 3rd run. He was involved in 13 plays defensively.
  • Jose Hernandez pitched a scoreless 7th inning, retiring all 3 batters he faced.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays go for the series sweep as Marco Estrada takes the mound looking to rebound from a rough start where he was lit up for 8 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks in 2.2 innings. He'll be facing an unannounced Orioles starter.

#151 - Toronto Blue Jays (66-82) at Baltimore oriLOLes (43-107)



Tuesday, September 18, 2018 | 7:05 pm
LOL Park at Camden Yards | Baltimore, MD

Aaron Sanchez (4-6, 4.90, 1.55) vs. Dylan Bundy (8-14, 5.48, 1.40)


PREAMBLE:

After a virtuoso performance from Ryan Borucki in a 5-0 win in the opener, the Blue Jays look to carry on the momentum into game 2 of the series.

Aaron Sanchez looks to continue his solid September and end the season on a good note as he takes the ball on the mound tonight.  His opponent, Dylan Bundy, has given up a major league-leading 38 HRs so far this season.  Om nom nom.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Game #150 Toronto Blue Jays (68-82) @ Baltimore Orioles (43-107) - game recap

Ryan Borucki threw 8 outstanding innings as the Blue Jays shut out the Orioles 5-0

After taking 2 of 3 from the mighty Yankees on the weekend, the Blue Jays head into Baltimore looking to snap a three game losing streak against the AL East basement dwellers. The Orioles have five fewer wins than the Red Sox have losses. The Blue Jays sent rookie phenom Ryan Boucki to the mound today, while the Orioles countered with reliever Evan Phillips in a bullpen day for the Orioles. Could the Blue Jays snap the shameful three game losing against the worst team in baseball? Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights
  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the top of the 2nd as Rowdy Tellez singled scoring Kevin Pillar
  • A batter later, Danny Jansen hit a 2 run HR to left, also scoring Tellez
  • Evan Phillips pitching line: 2IP 3H 3R (all earned) 0BB 2K 25 pitches (13 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 7th as Pillar homered to left-center
  • Ryan Borucki pitching line: 8IP 3H 0R 1BB 7K 105 pitches (67 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 9th as Aledmys Diaz homered to straightaway center
  • Final score: Blue Jays 5 Orioles 0
My Take

  • Ryan Borucki was excellent tonight, allowing just 3 hits and walk. Only one ball left the infield between the 6th and 8th innings (a line out caught by Grichuk). Borucki retired the first 6 batters he faced and the final 8 batters he faced. The only inning where Borucki git in any kind of trouble was the 3rd inning when he allowed back to back singles to start the inning. He got out of that in ning with a double play and a ground out. At this point, Borucki looks like he could get the opening day start next year the way he's been pitching all year.
  • Tim Mayza was also excellent today striking out the side to end the game
  • Rowdy Tellez had a busy night in the field as Ryan Borucki induced a ton of ground ball outs tonight. He was involved in 11 plays tonight. At the plate, he was 1-3, driving in the game's opening run.
  • Danny Jansen did a great job calling the signs tonight. He was 1-3 at the plate, hitting a 2 run HR tonight. On the downside, he allowed Jonathan Villar to steal a base against him tonight. With the way Borucki was pitching tonight, the stolen base was moot, but he needs to improve this area of his game.
  • Richard Urena was 0-3 at the plate tonight. He was involved in 4 plays tonight as the second baseman.
  • Congratulations to the Baltimore Orioles on setting a new franchise record for losses in a season. It is not easy to be so inept.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays go for the series win against Baltimore as they send Aaron Sanchez, who will be looking to build on a solid month of September where he is 1-1 with a 2.77ERA. He'll be up against an unannounced Orioles pitcher.

#150 - Toronto Blue Jays (67-82) at Baltimore oriLOLes (43-106)

Monday, September 17, 2018 | 7:05 pm
LOL Park at Camden Yards | Baltimore, MD

Ryan Borucki (3-4, 4.26, 1.42) vs. E Phillips (0-0, 21.60, 3.00)


PREAMBLE:

After a series win (!) against the Yankees in their home park, the Blue Jays had an happy (and short) flight to Baltimore for a three game series.  The last time the Jays were in town, they were embarrassed in a three-game sweep to the worst team in the bigs.  Let's sweep 'em, mmkay?

Ryan Borucki takes the ball tonight and his opponent, Evan Phillips, is making his first major-league start for what sounds like a bullpen game.

ten weekly random thoughts: week 24 September 10-16


We are entering the final two weeks of the season. Lots has happened in the past 24 weeks. The Yankees and Red Sox continue to be a cut above the rest of the AL East. The TB Rays have done remarkable despite really having only one viable starting pitcher. By the way, don't expect bullpen days to become a trend in the MLB. Most teams will still have five traditional starters that pitch 5-7 innings. The Orioles... not much to do here but laugh at their ineptitude. At the moment, the Blue Jays are kind of between the Rays and Orioles talent wise. A couple of years down the road, Toronto might be able to compete with Boston and NY. Last week, I started looking at each position and the depth the Blue Jays have with catcher, third base and first base. This week, I will take a look at SS, 2B and CF. Here are 10 random thoughts from week 24 of the MLB.

1. Not much in the way of injury updates this week. John Gibbons all but confirmed that Marcus Stroman is done for the year. Without rehashing my rant from last week too much, I will say it is the right decision. Of course Stroman hates missing starts, especially with the frustrating year he's had and knowing that he has to go through arbitration again for a new contract. However, there is no point in running him out there when he has maybe a start or two left and he's already missed a month and would need to build back up again. It's better to shut him down now, get that blister healed fully as they did with Aaron Sanchez.

2. Another pitcher who should be shut down is Marco Estrada. It is no secret that Estrada, who admitted this himself, is not healthy. He missed a month with a glut injury in July and came back pitched well in a couple of games but more often than not struggled and got knocked around. It's time to shut him down and get him healthy for next year. Estrada is a free agent after this season. I think he would be interested in coming back, but the team has Sean Reid-Foley, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Thomas Pannone and  already and presumably they will kick the tires on a couple of the free agents.

3. OK, let's get right into analyzing some positions this week shall we? I will start at SS where things definitely did not go according to plan. Going into training camp, it was expected that Troy Tulowitzki would resume being the starting SS after missing the final 2 months of 2017 with a badly sprained ankle. However, Tulo came into camp with sore heels that would require season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs. In Tulo's absence, the Blue Jays have used Aledmys Diaz, Gift Ngoepe, Gio Urshela, Russell Martin, Brandon Drury, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Richard Urena and Yangervis Solarte for at least one inning at SS. Diaz has started the most games (93) and Martin played the least (3 games, 10 innings). None of the aforementioned players are a natural SS. As far as next year goes, there is a ton up in the air with respect to Tulowitzki's health. He tried to make it back this year but he effectively ran out of time with the minor league seasons ending. Tulo had progressed to running on flat ground after a few months on the anti-gravity treadmill. Assuming he can get back to full health, I suspect the team would like him back as the starting SS, but he may not be able to play everyday. Solarte will likely not be back with the team next year so playing time will likely be split between Tulo (if healthy), Diaz, Gurriel Jr. and Urshela.

4. Moving onto second base where the Blue Jays got some good news on the injury front. Devon Traavis was able to come back after a frustrating two seasons where he missed significant chunks of time with shoulder and knee injuries. The Blue Jays had him on a two days on, one day off schedule for the first couple of months. He struggled out of the gate, batting .148 in his first 18 games. He was demoted to Buffalo to work on his swing. Travis has managed to bring his average up to .236 after Sunday's game. Other Blue Jays who got starts/innings at second base this year were Yangervis Solarte, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Richard Urena, and Brandon Drury. Assuming he is healthy, Devon Travis will get the bulk of the starts at second again next year with Gurriel Jr. or Urena backing him up.

5. Over in center field, Kevin Pillar started most of the games this year with Randal Grichuk playing as backup (Jonathan Davis also played three games at CF; Curtis Granderson started 1 game and played 2 in CF). Pillar's playing style puts him more at risk to hurt himself, as he did right before the all-star break diving for a ball and injuring his SC joint. Offensively, Pillar can be really hit or miss at the plate. While he doesn't strike out a ton (89 on the season) he is batting .246, which isn't a great average. Grichuk is more suited as a right fielder but he has done fine when filling in at center field. Pillar will be the starting CF next year with Grichuk likely backing him up again.

6. As expected, the Cleveland Indians were the first team to clinch their division. The Indians are the only team in their division that is above .500. However, Cleveland is far from a lock to win the world series. In intra-league games (no including interleague game) they are 28-35. If the playoffs started tomorrow, the Indians would be facing Houston and starting on the road. Their bullpen is not what it used to be and closer Cody Allen has been a shadow of himself. Health-wise, they have concerns with Andrew Miller's knee, Josh Donaldson's calves, Trevor Bauer's shin, Edwin Encarnacion's ankle, and Lonnie Chisenhall's calf. The one thing they have going for them, is having clinched a playoff spot they can rest key players and should be fairly healthy by October. Here is another reason not to put money on the Indians ending their world series draught. Only three teams have won the world series after clinching their division first. The Indians actually made it to the world series before losing in 1995, but that  was a different team.

7. Here's some other stories to watch as we head down the stretch in the final 2 weeks of the season. Chris Sale pitched three innings today and threw some more in the bullpen Sunday. Assuming all goes according to plan, he should get 2 more starts and be able to go deeper each time so that by October he should be pretty close to where the team needs him to be to pitch deep in a game. As far as the Yankees go, I think they will be playing in the wild card game. Seattle or Tampa Bay would have to pretty much win out to catch the Yankees and have the Yankees lose a few games down the stretch. However, the Yankees having home field advantage in the wild card game is far from guaranteed. Currently, the Yankees hold a 1.5 game lead over the A's with both teams losing 2 of 3 on the weekend. NY has a massive series against the Red Sox starting Tuesday. Should Boston win 2 of 3, the AL East title will pretty much be theirs. Oakland has an easier schedule than the Bronx Bombers the next 2 weeks facing the Angels 6 times and Seattle and Minnesota three games each. The Yankees have to face the Red Sox 6 games, Baltimore three games and Tampa Bay 3 games. Tampa Bay faces Toronto 6 games, NY and Texas three games each. The wild card teams might be known after this week, but it will likely be the final weekend before we know where that game will be played. Do it Chicago Cubs, trade for a reliever. You only have a 2.5 game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers for the division lead and you don't want to face a wild card game. The LA Dodgers will be fine. They have too many good hitters not to overcome the offensive woes they are facing. Maybe Oakland should worry about clinching the wild card game before worrying about who will start that game. Crazier finishes have happened and Oakland could still miss the postseason. Carlos Martinez closing for the Cardinals would be absolute vindication for him after an injury riddled season. However, if the playoffs started today, the Cardinals would miss out by half a game.

8. Atlanta is looking like it will clinch the NL East and they have the potential to do some damage. The Braves have a younger team led by rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. Ozzie Albies and 25 year old ace Mike Foltynewicz. One major question mark is the struggles of veteran Julio Tehran who is 9-8 with a 3.97ERA, He could get left off the playoff roster if the Braves don't think he can win in a short series. If the playoffs started today, Atlanta would be hosting the Dodgers.

9. Hailey Dawson threw out the final first pitch today to complete her journey of throwing out a first pitch at every MLB ballpark. She threw out the first pitch in Toronto back on August 8th. It was really cool that former MLB pitcher Jim Abbott, who was missing his right hand, was on hand today to witness and celebrate this cool feat that began in Baltimore August 17, 2015. Kudos to the other 28 teams for arranging for Hailey to throw out the first pitch at their ballpark.

10. Blue Jay of the week: Aledmys Diaz who had a huge 3-5 effort vs. the Yankees Saturday, driving in 3 runs and scoring 2 more.

Follow me on twitter @tpoole00 and check out my other blog @ proudbcer.blogspot.com

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Game #149 Toronto Blue Jays (67-82) @ New York Yankees (91-58) - game recap

Thomas Pannone threw 7 strong innings as the Blue Jays came from behind to defeat the Yankees for the second straight day 3-2 

Today was the rubber match of the final series of the season between the Yankees and Blue Jays. Toronto was looking to win a series over the Yankees for the first time all season. A loss for New York would also increase the odds of the Yankees being forced to play the wild card game on the road in Oakland.  Thomas Pannone was looking for his third career win against a Yankees team that will be playing desperate baseball in an attempt to avoid a long flight west for a wild card game, or missing the playoffs altogether. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights

  • The Yankees took the lead in the bottom of the second as Andrew McCutchen led off with a HR to left-center
  • Four batters later, Giancarlo Stanton scored on a sac fly by Didi Gregorius
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the top of the 3rd as Reese McGuire doubled, scoring Richard Urena
  • Lance Lynn pitching line: 5IP 3H 1R (earned) 1BB 7K 80 pitches (53 for strikes)
  • Thomas Pannone pitching line: 7IP 4H 2R (both earned) 2BB 6K 103 pitches (73 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the top of the 8th as Rowdy Tellez singled, scoring McGuire
  • A batter latter, Randal Grichuk doubled home Kevin Pillar
  • Ken Giles continues to be perfect in save situations on the season, pitching a scoreless 9th for his 20th save of the season
  • Final score: Blue Jays 3 Yankees 2
My Take

  • Thomas Pannone had a bit of a rocky 1st inning, giving up 2 runs on 2 hits and a walk. After that he settled down, allowing just one single until the 7th. Pannone retired 12 batters in a row at one point. Whatever Pete Walker said to him in the dugout after the 1st inning was pure genius. Pannone will definitely get a long look at training camp next year
  • The Yankees better watch their backs because the Rays just took two of three from Oakland and Seattle is tied with TB just 8.5 games back of NY.
  • Great comeback by the Blue Jays to get Pannone that victory. Even better, they came back against the overhyped Yankees bullpen
  • Toescar Hernandez continues to be an adventure in the outfield. While he made a nice catch in right field, he let a ball get past him, nearly leading to the tying run in the 8th, luckily the next batter Aaron Hicks struck out swinging.It was his 8th error of the season. I don't see how the Blue Jays can use Hernandez in the field when he continues committing errors on plays he should make. He cold DH, but that is Kendrys Morales' position
  • Reese McGuire was terrific behind the plate today and was 2-4 at the plate and scored the game-tying run
  • Rowdy Tellez pinch hit for Jonathan Davis in the 8th and drove in the game-tying run
  • Jonathan Davis pinch ran for Kendrys Morales in the 6th and did nothing consequential on the base path.
  • Richard Urena started at SS today. He was 1-4 with a double in the third inning. He scored the Blue Jays 1st run. He made two plays in the field today.
  • Mark Leiter Jr. pitched a scoreless 8th to set things up for Giles in the 9th.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays head to Baltimore, where they will attempt to snap a three game losing streak against the bottom-feeders that are the Orioles. Ryan Borucki gets the start against an unannounced Orioles pitcher

#149 - Toronto Blue Jays (66-82) at New York Yankees (91-57)



Sunday, September 16, 2018 | 1:05 pm
Yankee Stadium | New York, NY

Thomas Pannone (2-1, 4.13, 1.13) vs. Lance Lynn (9-10, 5.01, 1.55)


PREAMBLE:

After just managing to hold on to win Game 2 despite a leaky bullpen, the Blue Jays look to grab a series win in today's matinee.  It'll be an accomplishment if the Jays can avoid getting beaten to a pulp into the ground as the Yankees look to get back on track to securing home field advantage for the wild card game.

Thomas Pannone takes the ball on the mound today against Lance Lynn.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Game #148 Toronto Blue Jays (66-82) @ New York Yankees (91-57) - game recap

Aledmys Diaz was 2-4 with 3RBI as the Blue Jays edged the Yankees 8-7

After a slaughtering from the Yankees last night, the Blue Jays were getting ready for round 2. Today they were up against the big lefty CC Sabathia. The Yankees have an outside chance of getting 100 wins, but they have to go 9-6 in their final 15 games to hit the century mark in wins. Even crazier, the Rays have an outside chance of passing the Yankees and knocking them out of the playoffs. More likely is the A's passing the Yankees and making the Yankees head west for a wild card game. Here's hoping Toronto wins the next 2 games to make NY travel west. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights

  • The Blue Jays took the lead in the top of the 2nd as Randal Grichuk homered to left-center
  • Four batters later, Aledmys Diaz singled, scoring Teoscar Herrnandez
  • Two batters later, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. singled home Danny Jansen
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 3rd as Grichuk hit his second solo HR of the game to left
  • A batter later, Kevin Pillar homered just inside the left foul pole
  • CC Sabathia pitching line: 2.1IP 7H 5R (all earned) 0BB 2K 50 pitches (37 for strikes)
  • Sean Reid-Foley pitching line: 5IP 2H 0R 4BB 10K 92 pitches (55 for strikes)
  • The Yankees got one back in the bottom of the 6th as Didi Gregorius hit an opposite-field shot to right.
  • The Blue Jays added a pair of runs in the top of the 7th as Diaz singled home Pillar and Grichuk
  • A batter later, Richard Urena singled, scoring Hernandez
  • The Yankees got one back in the bottom of the 7th as Giancarlo Stanton led off with a HR to left
  • Two batters later, Gregorius hit a solo HR to right-center
  • Five batters later, Miguel Andujar hit a grand slam to get the Yankees within one; also scoring Gleyber Torres, Neil Walker and Luke Voit
  • Ken Giles saved his 9th game as a Blue Jay, 21st of the season, getting the final 4 outs of the game
  • Final score: Blue Jays 8 Yankees 7
My Take

  • Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was ejected in the bottom of the 2nd inning for arguing balls and strikes. It was his 7th ejection of the season.
  • Luke Maile was also ejected by HP umpire Roberto Ortiz
  • Sean Reid-Foley is slowly looking like a bonafide major league pitcher. Today, he held the desperate Yankees off the scoreboard, allowing 2 hits and walking 4. He struck out 10 Yankee batters, which tied his career-high (he also had 10 K's vs. the Marlins. SRF needs to work on his command a bit. It's generally not a good idea to walk four batters. Reid-Foley might only have one start left as the Blue Jays may consider shutting him down early to preserve his innings.
  • This one was much closer than it should have been. The Blue Jays were up 8-1 going into the bottom of the 7th, but Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes and Tyler Clippard combined to give up 6 runs on 4 hits (three of them home runs, including a grand slam) and 2 walks. The Yankees threatened in the 8th when Clippard walked Aaron Hicks and threw a wild pitch. Luckily Ken Giles came in and retired the next 4 batters to end the game.
  • Danny Jansen allowed 2 more wild pitches today. The Yankees did not attempt to steal a base today. Jansen was 1-5 at the plate and scored a run
  • Richard Urena was at 2B today. He was 1-4 with an RBI single and did fine defensively
  • Up next, the Blue Jays go for their first series win over the Yankees since September 22-24, 2017. The last time the Blue Jays won a series in NY was July 3-5, 2017. JA Happ won the second game of that series, he will not be starting tomorrow. Instead, the Blue Jays will face Lance Lynn and send lefty Thomas Pannone to the mound.

#148 - Toronto Blue Jays (65-82) at New York Yankees (91-56)



Saturday, September 15, 2018 | 4:05 pm
Yankee Stadium | New York, NY

Raw Rookie (SRF, 1-3, 6.86, 1.32) vs. Future Yankee Hall of Famer (CC, 7-6, 3.54, 1.32)


PREAMBLE:

The blood-letting continues in game 2 of the series where the Blue Jays are making the Yankees seem like the 1927 Murderer's Row version.

Fresh meat, in the form of Sean Reid-Foley, is being thrown out onto the mound to get chewed up by the Yankees, while the grizzled old vet, CC Sabathia takes the ball for the home team.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Game #147 Toronto Blue Jays (65-82) @ New York Yankees (91-56) - game recap

Andrew McCutchen was 3-3 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored as the Yankees shut out and routed the Blue Jays 11-0

This is the first of three series down the stretch where the Blue Jays could play spoiler. At the moment, the Yankees sit 1.5 games up on Oakland for home field advantage in the wild card game. The other two series where the Blue Jays could play spoiler are a home and home (with a series vs. the Astros sandwiched between) series vs. the Rays. It's very possible the Blue Jays could lose all 9 games as they have a combined 7 wins in 28 games vs. the Rays and Yankees this season. Tonight, the hurting Marco Estrada gamely tried to battle against the Yankees facing Blue Jays killer Masahiro Tanaka. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights

  • The Yankees took the lead in the bottom of the 1st as Aaron Hicks singled, scoring Andrew McCutchen
  • Two batters later, Giamcarlo Stanton scored on a Didi Gregorius ground out 
  • A batter later, Gleyber Torres singled home Hicks
  • Two batters later, Luke Voit doubled scoring Torres and Gary Sanchez
  • The Yankees added a run in the bottom of the 3rd as  Brett Gardner singled home Gregorius
  • Two batters later, Gardner singled scoring Voit and Gardner
  • Marco Estrada pitching line: 2.2IP 6H 8R (all earned) 3BB 2K 55 pitches (34 for strikes)
  • The Yankees added a run in the bottom of the 5th as McCutchen homered to right-center
  • Masahiro Tanaka pitching line: 6IP 4H 0R 2BB 8K 90 pitches (64 for strikes)
  • The Yankees added a run in the bottom of the 8th as Gregorius homered to right
  • Four batters later, Kyle Higashioka scored on a rare sac fly double play
  • final score: Yankees 11 Blue Jays 0
My Take

  • It was not a good night at all for Maarco Estrada. He was lit up for 8 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks. It is a well-known fact that Estrada is not healthy. He missed close to a month with a glute strain. He had 2 strong starts since where he pitched into the seventh inning, but the last month he has been laboring. With 2 weeks left in the season and maybe a start or two left, why not shut him down? You can always have a bullpen day if there aren't enough starters. 
  • The Yankees definitely played like a team that doesn't want to travel west for a wild card game. Offensively, they exploded for 11 runs on 14 hits and 7 walks.
  • The Blue Jays were 0-7 with runners in scoring position tonight.
  • Reese McGuire pinch hit for Devon Travis in the 9th and popped out
  • Richard Urena pinch hit for Aledmys Diaz in the 9th and hit a single
  • Rowdy Tellez started at first base and was 1-4 at the plate (a rare single).
  • Taylor Guerreri took over for Marco Estrada in the bottom of the 3rd. He gave up three hits and walked 2 batters, while striking out 1 in 1.1 innings tonight.
  • Justin Shafer pitched 2 innings today, giving up a pair of hits (one a home run) and a walk
  • David Paulino pitched the 8th inning and gave up a pair of hits and a pair of runs (only one was earned due to a fielding error by Lourdes Gurriel Jr.) and struck out a batter 
  • Luke Maile had a perfect night at the plate with a pair of hits. He also drew a pair of walks.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays try to even the three game series as they send rookie Sean Reid-Foley to the mound facing the big lefty CC Sabathia, who is in the twilight of his career.

no.147 - Toronto Blue Jays (65-81) at New York Yankees (



Friday, September 14, 2018 | 7:05 pm
Huge-Airstream-to-RF Stadium | New York, NY

Marco Estrada (7-11, 5.32, 1.40) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (11-5, 3.61, 1.09)


PREAMBLE:

The Blue Jays, licking their wounds after being swept by the Red Sox, fly to New York for a series against the slumping Yankees, who have just returned from a 9-game road trip on the other coast.  The Yankees are just a game-and-half ahead of the Athletics for the right to host the wild card game.  Can the Jays play spoiler and force the Yankees to fly all the way to Oakland for a 1-game, winner-take-all matchup?

Marco Estrada looks to build upon his solid outing last time against the Clevelands, while the Yankees counter with Masahiro Tanaka, whose arm apparently is no longer hanging by a slight thread.

Game #146 Toronto Blue Jays (65-81) @ Boston Red Sox (101-46) - game recap

Xander Bogaerts scored the game winning run on a fielding error by Yangervis Solarte as the Red Sox edged the Blue Jays 4-3

The good news is this is the last meeting of the season between the Blue Jays and Red Sox. This series, the Blue Jays hung in with the Red Sox for good chunks of the game. Tuesday, Ryan Borucki matched the Red Sox bullpen pitch for pitch and it was only after he left after 7 innings that Boston put the game away with 7 runs over two innings off Jake Petricka and Ryan Tepera. Yesterday, the game was scoreless through 4 innings and Aaron Sanchez and David Price were matching each other pitch for pitch through 7 innings. It was the one mistake by Aaron Sanchez, a wild pitch, that was the difference in the game. Tonight, Sam Gaviglio was hoping to make it three stellar starting pitching performances in a row. Could the Blue Jays steal a game from Boston? Here is tonight's recap.

Game Highlights

  • The Red Sox took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd as JD Martinez homered into the Red Sox bullpen
  • The Blue Jays tied it in the top of the 3rd as Justin Smoak singled scoring Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
  • The Red Sox took the lead in bottom of the 3rd as Jackie Bradley Jr. scored on a sac fly by Ian Kinsler
  • Sam Gaviglio pitching line: 3.1IP 6H 2R (both earned) 1BB 1K 53 pitches (32 for strikes)
  • The Red Sox added a run in the bottom of the 6th as Rafael Devers homered to right
  • Eduardo Rodriguez pitching line: 6IP 5H 1R (earned) 0BB 7K 78 pitches (52 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays got within one in the top of the 8th as Gurriel Jr. crushed a moonshot off one of the light stantions atop the green monster
  • Five batters later, Jonathan Davis was forced in as Kevin Pillar was hit by a pitch
  • The Red Sox took the lead in the bottom of the 8th as Bogaerts scored on a fielding error by Yangervis Solarte 
  • Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect 9th for his 40th save of the season
  • Final score: Red Sox 4 Blue Jays 3
My Take

  • Sam Gaviglio was definitely on a short leash tonight. He was removed after 3.1 innings having given up 2 runs on 6 hits and a walk. I actually thought he was pitching better than in previous outings where he was done before completing 6 innings. Gaviglio has been an enigma of sorts. Acquired for cash considerations from KC March 21, Gaviglio was recalled from the minors May 11. He last won August 21 when he threw 7 strong innings. He has been a completely different pitcher at home vs. away (2-2 with a 3.23 ERA in 12 appearance, 10 starts; on the road he has won just once in 10 starts heading into tonight's start in Boston and lost 6 times and had a mediocre 8.10ERA). At one point, his spot in the rotation looked in doubt, but the Blue Jays opted to move Jaime Garcia, who struggled just as bad, to the bullpen and eventually he was DFA'd. It will be interesting to see if the Blue Jays try to move Sammy G in the off-season
  • Today's loss really defined the season. The winning run, scored after the jays worked hard to come back by scoring two runs in the top half of the inning, was scored on a fielding error by Yangervis Solarte. A number of times this season, needless runs have been scored off misplays by the defense that frankly shouldn't happen. Many of the errors can be attributed to inexperience and taking bad routes to balls. Next season could see more of the same, hopefully fewer, as the team will be a year more experienced
  • One more loss and the Blue Jays will be guaranteed to finish with a losing record. If they go on a crazy streak starting tomorrow and win out, they will finish .500 (chances of that happening 0.000000001%)
  • Jonathan Davis came in as a pinch runner for Justin Smoak and scored the tying run at the time, when Kevin Pillar was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded 
  • Rowdy Tellez came in as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the 8th and fielded one ball (a throw from Yangervis Solarte) on a ground out. He did not get an at-bat tonight\
  • Reese McGuire started the game and caught the first 7 innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the 8th. He was 0-2 at the plate. Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez stole second base off McGuire and Tim Mayza in the 6th
  • Danny Jansen pinch hit for McGuire in the 8th. He was 0-2 on the night. Defensively, he had a rough inning as Xander Bogaerts and Blake Swihart both stole bases off him and he also had a wild pitch against him.
  • Dwight Smith Jr. pinch ran for Justin Smoak in the 8th. Nothing consequential happened when he was on the basepaths, except for advancing to second and third on the consecutive hit by pitches
  • Jose Fernandez retired all four batters he faced.
  • Mark Leiter Jr. pitched an inning giving up a run on 2 hits and striking out 3
  • Up next, the Blue Jays head to the Bronx to take on a Yankees team that is fighting for home field advantage in the wild card game. They are currently 1.5 games up on Oakland and 8 games ahead of the third place in the WC race and AL East standings, Tampa Bay Rays. Marco Estrada takes on Blue Jays killer Masahiro Tanaka. It was almost a year ago that the Yankees Japanese import struck out 15 Blue Jays in the second to last game of the 2017 season. Hopefully the Blue Jays have better success this time around.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

#146 - Toronto Blue Jays (65-80) at Boston Red Sox (100-46)



Thursday, September 13, 2018 | 7:10 pm
The Pahk wit the Green Monstah | East Massholia, Mass.

Sam Gaviglio (3-8, 5.25, 1.42) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (12-4, 3.64, 1.24)


PREAMBLE:

Phase 2 of the Beantown Beatdown is complete and the Red Sox are going for a sweep in tonight's game against the Blue Jays.

Sammy G takes the mound ... there ought to be a mercy rule for starters who have had their asses kicked all over the diamond for 2+ months now.  Tonight should probably go according to form. *sigh*   There's a slight sliver of hope - remember when Dustin Pedroia got attacked by a swarm of Blue Jays in 2015?  That was during an Eduardo Rodriguez start, the guy who's on the mound tonight for the Red Sox.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Game #145 Toronto Blue Jays (65-80) @ Boston Red Sox (100-46) - game recap

David Price threw 7 strong innings as the Red Sox shut out and edged the Blue Jays 1-0

The Blue Jays had one task tonight and that was to beat Boston and prevent them from winning their 100th game. Aaron Sanchez was on the mound tonight, looking to continue gaining confidence to leave 2018 feeling good about himself. Russell Martin was placed on paternity leave as his wife is scheduled to give birth to their first child. The offence was in tough vs. David Price, who has been a thorn in the side of Toronto batters his entire career, except for the couple of months he was a Blue Jay. Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights

  • The Red Sox opened the scoring in the bottom of the 6th as Rafael Devers scored on a wild pitch by Aaron Sanchez
  • David Price pitching line: 7IP 3H 0R 0BB 7K 92 pitches (63 for strikes)
  • Aaron Sanchez pitching line: 7IP 3H 1R (earned) 3BB 6K 91 pitches (57 for strikes)
  • Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless 9th for his 39th save of the season
  • Final score: Red Sox 1 Blue Jays 0
My Take

  • This one was a pitcher's duel as the two teams combined for 7 total hits and one run through the first 7 innings. Aaron Sanchez was excellent tonight, allowing just one run (on a wild pitch), 3 hits and he walked three batters. Sanchez had perfect innings in the 3rd, 4th (yes Xander Bogaerts singled but he was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double so he faced the minimum three batters that inning), 6th and 7th innings. 
  • Both starters were removed after seven innings having thrown 92 and 91 pitches each. Price's second to last pitch registered 94.4MPH on the radar gun. He was not laboring a bit when he finished the inning. In both cases, pulling the starting pitcher was a costly move. The Blue Jays nearly tied the game in the top of the 8th as Rowdy Tellez led off with a double, Danny Jansen walked on four pitches and at one point, there were runners on first and third with 2 outs. Only a nice catch by Mookie Betts prevented this one from being a completely different outcome. Tyler Clippard loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning but managed to escape the jam without allowing a run. I think it's silly that there are such strict pitching limits in today's game. In both cases, I would have let David Price and Aaron Sanchez start the inning. Go ahead and have a reliever warming up, but when both pitchers are dealing let them keep going.
  • Jonathan Davis got the start in center field today. He was one of only two blue Jays to get a hit off David Price today. He fielded three balls today.
  • Danny Jansen had a rough night behind the plate. Three Red Sox stole bases off him and he allowed two wild pitches, the second one led to the game's only run. At the plate, Jansen was 0-2 but he drew a four pitch walk.
  • Rowdy Tellez had another extra base hit in a 1-3 effort tonight. He was fine defensively.
  • Richard Urena pinch ran for Justin Smoak. He didn't get to do anything as Dwight Smith Jr. struck out to end the game
  • As mentioned above, Dwight Smith Jr. pinch hit for Teoscar Hernandez and became the game's final out.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays try to avoid the series sweep as Blue Jays righty Sam Gaviglio takes on Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez