Saturday, December 30, 2023

Year-End Saturday Night Spanish Guitar AKA WTFJITH


It's Saturday, you know what that means! It's the last one of the year so make it count.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Gratitude post


I get that last season was a big gut punch and the Ohtani bullshit was another one but can we take a bit of a break about bitching about the offseason moves until we get to mid-January and there's a clearer picture? I was in a good mood until I swung by the site.

Anyway, 900 comments yesterday calls for a new thread. And in an attempt to shift the energy, I challenge everyone to come up with things about the past season that they are grateful for. I'm grateful that Jose got on the Level of Excellence and I got to see a game in the TD Clubhouse. What are yours?

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Let the Holiday Party continue! (Even if you have to go back to work)


Betcha never thought you'd see this graphic again!

First off, thanks to the JITH community, $675 was raised for the fund. After fees that means there was $653 dollars to distribute. Thanks to all of you for your generosity. 

Been nice seeing everyone share their holiday booty and chat with each other. Hope to see that spirit continue even as some people go back to work today. (Suckers!) Let's have a bit of fun. Post your favourite song of 2023!

Friday, December 22, 2023

Happy Holidays and Last call for JITH fund

This is your last chance to donate to help fellow JITHers in need or to request help from the JITH fund.

To donate:

To request assistance from the fund:

The donations from the beginning of the week have now cleared and are ready to be distributed this weekend, with a second distribution next week of anything that comes in now. 

Thank you, JITHers, for your generosity during a tough year. May you have a great holiday season, no matter how you celebrate. And enjoy the cute AI (I'm pretty sure) generated fawn at the top of this post.

Monday, December 18, 2023

It's that time again! The JITH Annual Holiday Assistance Fund

It's been a hard year. Not just in being a fan (there's been a lot of heartbreak) but in just getting through. We've had people fleeing wildfires, having large unexpected expenses, struggle to find housing (or maybe that's just me), and other challenges. So I'm not sure how much capacity the community has to give but the consensus was to go anyway.

Click this link to donate. I'm using the same setup as the last couple of years, which means the goal doesn't reset. It is starting at $3,325 so you can do the math to figure out where we are this season. I can do updates if people want. 

You can be completely anonymous, either requesting or donating. For fraud reasons, GoFundMe shows me the name but I won't tell. I also have the ability to turn donations anonymous so if GoFundMe won't let you, just let me know. I figure we run it until the 24th, as most people will have gotten a paycheque by then. (Bi-weekly pay periods pay out on the 22nd.)

If you are in need and can use some financial assistance, email me at by Friday so I can add you on the distribution list.

Thanks in advance for anything you can contribute. And thanks to those who are brave enough to ask for help.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

The Blue Jays Franchise is in Trouble!

 The Blue Jays Franchise is in Trouble!!!!!

Lord Voldemort Performing the Avada Kedavra Curse on Ross Atkins

These are dark and dangerous times for the Toronto Blue Jays franchise.  General Manager Ross Atkins, having missed out on signing Shohei Ohtani (in fact, being used as a stooge, a patsy) now has nothing left that he can do to improve the ballclub.  

It is clear to those of us who closely study the game of baseball that the window for contention is now over.  Star players have underperformed and are on the way out of town.  The 2024 season promises to be the worst in the history of the club.  

How I long for the good old days:

Jays Legend Charlie Montoyo

Sadly, all we have left is the hope that the other Toronto-based sports franchises provide us:

I will continue to collect vintage sports cards, as the current day squads I cheer for never win, never have competent management, never have anything good happen to them, never have luck, and are always doomed to fail, forevermore!

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Winter Meetings Wrapup


Apologies to Bill Shakespeare, and our resident bard, nocramps, but the madness of unrelenting refreshes of MLB Trade Rumors, and Toronto Blue Jays Rumors hath broken me:

Monday, November 13, 2023

Most memorable game that had nothing to do with the game

Photo by Mike Bowman on Unsplash

Going back through ye olde drafts and found this: 

Stealing the idea from this post. What is yours?

For me, it's now the game I went to at the beginning of the year where I got a chance to thank Jamie for talking to my dad during the pandemic. That meant a lot.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

The heart and soul of the Toronto Blue Jays is missing!


Something has been wrong with the Toronto Blue Jays ball club all year.  We have endlessly debated the underlying reasons and tried to come up with the ultimate answer.  Some suggest the hitting coach is at fault while others believe the overly large and complex hitting "department" confuses the hitters with too much data.

Some say Schneider has been a poor field manager.  Others have had enough of Shapiro and Atkins, who have had no playoff success in their 8 year run with the club.  There are those who argue that the stadium renovations didn't work as intended and have sapped the home run power from the club. 


When the Blue Jays parted ways with legendary broadcaster Pat Tabler (Tabby!), they lost their heart, their very soul!  Many didn't initially realize that this was the main problem facing the club and may even have applauded the decision makers for moving Tabby along.  However, they felt it deep down and knew, in their heart of hearts, that it just wasn't the same and nothing would ever feel right again.  Sitting down to watch a nice afternoon of baseball requires the voice of Blue Jays baseball - Pat Tabler!!

Tabby has always been a "treemendous" broadcaster with schtrong skills at calling the game.  He understands the nuances of the game of baseball in a way that nobody else does.  I feel deep pain at the loss of Tabby's presence, his calls, and the lack of heart that pervades the club now that he is gone.

I hereby and officially call for Tabby to be reinstated to his position without further delay, at a higher salary, on a lengthy term.  Should the club elect not to follow my suggestion on this matter, I will never again watch Blue Jays baseball, nor will I listen to or stream it....or be involved in any way again.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Ten Random Thoughts: A recap of the 2023 MLB season


As the 2023 season draws to a close after an anticlimactic sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Twins, who snapped an 18-game losing streak in playoff games and won a playoff round for the first time in 21 years. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays playoff game losing streak extended to 7 games, dating back to the 2016 loss to the eventual world series runner-ups Cleveland Indians. They will have at least 8 years between winning a playoff round. The tale of the tape from the regular season: 89 wins, 73 losses, 30 series wins (9 of which were sweeps), 19 series losses (five of which were sweeps), 2 series splits, 17 season series wins (five of which were sweeps), 10 season series losses (including all 4 AL East opponents), and 2 season series splits. The biggest thing the Blue Jays need to improve is their play against their own division. Losing the season series against their AL East opponents meant that the Mariners and Rangers held the tiebreaker over the Blue Jays and the Blue Jays only held the tiebreakrer over the Astros after winning the season series, The new outfield dimensions after phase 1 of the major renovations has proven to be a DISADVANTAGE to Blue Jay hitters - less home runs. 

This final random thoughts post will examine the reasons why the Blue Jays are  eliminated, injuries this season and their impacts, three Blue Jays who succeeded and more (we'll even look at the changes to be made. Here are ten random thoughts from the 2023 MLB season.

1. As per usual, we will start with the injuries that the Blue Jays endured this season and their impact on the team. The Blue Jays were largely able to avoid a major injury to a key player, other than Danny Jansen, who missed missed the last month of the season with a fractured middle finger off a foul ball that deflected off his exposed finger. He narrowly avoided missing significant time in early August after he left a game after getting hit by a pitch on the same hand. Jansen missed a few days with that injury. Jansen also missed a few weeks at the end of May/beginning of June with a groin strain suffered running to 1st base. Jansen finished the year batting. 228 with 17HR and 53 RBI. The Blue Jays definitely need to look at signing a 3rd catcher to play in the minors and be competent in the majors in case Kirk or Jansen go down. The Blue Jays got a big scare on July 31st when star shortstop Bo Bichette had his right knee buckle on him when he slammed on the brakes when trying to stretch a single into a double. Luckily, the MRI showed no significant damage and he missed 3 weeks with a grade one patellar tendon strain. A week and change later, Bichette landed back on the IL with a right quad strain and missed the minimum 10 days. Matt Chapman was placed on the 10-day IL with a finger sprain after a freak accident in the weight room where he inadvertently dropped a dumbbell on his middle finger. He tried to play through the injury but in the end could not. Even after being activated, Chapman still apprared to be playing through the injury.. Even the all-star game wasn't a safe place for the Blue Jays. Closer Jordan Romano injured his back warming up to go into the all-star game.. He made a couple of appearances post-all-star break then went on the 15-day IL to take care of the injury once and for all. Setup man Erik Swanson missed a couple of weeks in September with thoracic spine injury

A couple of pitchers, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Chad Green, made returns from Tommy John surgery. Ryu made his successful return first, making his 2023 debut August 1st against the Orioles. Ryu gave up 4 runs on 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out 3 over 5 innings in that game. In 11 starts, Ryu was 3-3 with a 3.46 ERA. The Blue Jays won 6 of the games he started. Ryu was not selected to be a part of the playoff roster and has likely played his last game in a Blue Jays uniform. He is a free agent and should be getting some calls sincce he showed he can still be effective as a starter. A month after Ryu's return, reliever Chad Green made his Blue Jays debut. Signed in the off-season with hopes of making a seconf half impact, Green had a rough first appearance, giving up 4 runs on 4 hits and a walk over 0.2 of an inning. In 12 regular season appearances, Green was 3-0 with a 5.25ERA. He threw a clutch 1.1 shoutout innings in game one of the wild card series. He'll be coveted in free agency  due to being able to use him in a variiety of situations.

The biggest injury concern the Blue Jays are dealing with is to sidewinder Adam Cimber, who made just 22 appearances this season and none after June 18th. He landed on the IL twice this season, missing a month late-April to late-May with a back injury. A month later and Cimber was put back on the IL with a right shoulder impingement. Cimber finished the season 0-2 with a 7.40 ERA over 22 apearances. He'll want a bounceback season since free agency is looming large in a year. 

2. A big reason why the Blue Jays barely squeaked into the playoffs was intradivisional play vs. AL East opponents. They lost the season series to every AL East opponent, doing the worst against the eventual division champs Orioles, winning just 3 of 13 games and getting outscored by the Orioles and getting outscored 75-40. The quirkiest season series was vs. the Red Sox, with every series resulting in a series sweep. Here's another quirky stat: the Blue Jays outscored the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays by a combined 198-169, yet the three teams both won the season series 7-6. While there are fewer intradivision games with the MLB going with a balanced schedule with every team facing each other for at least a 3-game series and teams seeeing every team at least once every other season, intradivisional record remains the 2nd tiebreaker.. Because of their record against AL East opponents, the Blue Jays narrowly made the playoffs and nearly had to use Kevin Gausman in game 162 just to secure a playoff spot. Had the Mariners won game 162, the Rays surely would have relished the opportunity to eliminate a division rival.. One only needs to examine the last week of the season to see the impact of their subpar play against divisional opponents - they lost 4 of their last 6 games and were forced to play their best lineup up until the lsst game of the season. Would an extra day of rest for players like Vladdy and Bo Bichette have made any difference in the outcome? Debatable, but a few more wins would have perhaps given them the tiebreaker against a few more teams and maybe they would even be hosting the Rays in this key wild card series.

3. Two other big factors into why the Blue Jays are going home early and holding a 6-game playoff losing streak is the inability to drive in runners in scoring position and poor base running errors. Take the last game of the wild card series: Vlad got picked off 2nd base to end the 5th inning and Matt Chapman grounded into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded the next inning. In the 1st game, Bo Bichette made a poor choice in trying to score a batted ball that never left the infield. In the way back machine, the Blue Jays directly lost a game to the Red Sox on Canada Day because Bichette tried to score from 2nd base on a hit to left and was out by a mile. John Schneider stressed the importance of the little details. Well, it was a lack of attention to those details that cost the Blue Jays this wild card series, in particular, Vladdy getting picked off at 2B. 

4. Three Blue Jays who impressed:

  • Bo Bichette - the star SS for the Blue Jays absolutely lived up to expectations and then some. Bichette led the team in batting average (.306), hits (175) and was 2nd in RBI (73). Out of the core Blue Jays batters, Bichette was by far the most dangerous batter. He is making his father (ex-MLB star Dante Bichette) proud. Bichette has improved defensively too, making just 8 errors all season.
  • Jose Berrios - It was a comeback season for Jose Beriios, who was inconsitent in 2022, from an ugly opening day start where he recorded just one out to an 8-inning gem June 10th, 2022. This season, Berrios was 11-12 with a 3.65ERA in 32 starts. Really tough the way his season ended with John Schneider pulling him after 3 innings plus a batter when he was dealing. You KNOW he'll be hungry for a strong 2024 season.
  • Kevin Gausman - the ace of the pitching staff, Kevin Gausman was excellent, going 12-9 with a 3.16ERA in 31 starts. His lone postseason start was less than stellar, allowing 2 home runs off the bat of Royce Lewis, fitting since the Blue Jays didn't give him much run aupport all season. He will all but certainly be the opening day starter next year (does he want to be after seeing Manoah and Berrios have rough seasoms after getting the opening day nod)?

5. Three Blue Jays who disappointed:

  • Alek Manoah -As mentioned above, the opening day start has been a bit of a bad omen the last two years. Manoah had a disastrous year, being demoted twice. In one of his last pitches of the season, Manoah ended the season of Angels outfielder Taylor Ward, who suffered several facial fractures. It's kind of sad how far Manoah has fallen from a 3rd place finish for the Cy Young award and an all-star appearance to 2022 to a ton of questions about his future. Manoah was 3-9 with a 5.87ERA over 19 starts. Perhaps the biggest factor in his tough year was the pitch clock. Manoah could not adjust to the clock. His command bad too, walking a career 59 batters. Manoah's off-season training program needs to have an emphasis on physical fitness (he needs to lose some weight and be in better shape if he wants to succeed). Further, Manoah needs to take care of any nagging injuries and get healthy and revamp his delivery.
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. -  For the second straight season, Vlad has regressed with his stats, batting .264 with 26HR and 94RBI in 602AB over 156 games. He made a costly blunder in the 5th inning of the 2nd WC game when he was picked off 2nd base, nullifying a potential tying run with Bo Bichette at the plate (Bichette struck out to start the next inning). Guerrero Jr's ptoduction was likely effected by a nagging wrist injury that caused him to miss several games. Like Manoah, Vlad's off-season training program needs to include an emphasis on fitness. 
  • Adam Cimber - The sidewider endured the worst season of his career, going 0-2 with a 7.40ERA in just 22 appearances. The two injuries he dealt with (sore back in April and shoulder impingement that ended his season in June) were major factors. It's difficult to see a role for him in the bullpen, bit he'll be given a long look in spring training next season.

6. Now for a look at who will win baseball's annual awards:

  • AL MVP - this is a tough one with Shohei Ohtani out of the running due to not playing since Sep 3rd due to a 2nd Tommy John surgery. I give this award to ex-Blue Jay Marcus Semien, who led the AL in hits, runs scored, plate appearances and at-bats. For those who like advance stats, he led the AL in WAR for position players. Corey Seagar will also get some votes (2nd in batting average (.327), WAR (6.9), slugging% (.623) OPS+ (.1.103)) and 1st in doubles (42). Bo Bichette should garner some votes too (he was 3rd in batting average (.306), 4th in hits (175).
  • NL MVP - This award is a coin flip between teammates Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson, who lead all the major offensive categories. I give the edge to Acuna Jr., who is 1st in offensive WAR (8.5), on-base% (.416), OPS+ (1.102), AB (643), PA (735), runs scored (149), hits (217), total bases (383) and stolen bases (73) and 2nd in batting average (337). This vote shouldn't be that close, although Freddir Freeman will get some votes for being right behind Acuna in most of the above categories and 1st in doubles (59).
  • AL Cy Young - Gerrit Cole and it's not close. He absolutely locked up the Cy Young with a near flawless complete game shutout in his final start against a Blue Jays team looking to lock up a wild card spot. He led the AL in WAR for pitchers (7.5), ERA (2.65) Win-loss% (.789), WHIP (.981), Hits/9IP (6.761), IP (209) and shutouts (2). Cole was tied for 3rd in wins (15) and was 3rd in strikeouts (222). He was also one of only 5 AL starting pitchers to throw multiple complete games (he threw 2. Jordan Lyles led the AL with 3 complete games. Mike Clevinger, Nathan Eovaldi and Framber Valdez also threw 2 complete games this season. Chris Bassit was the only Blue Jays pitcher to throw a complete game).
  • NL Cy Young: Blake Snell wins the Cy Young for leading the NL in WAR for pitchers (6.0) ERA (2.25), and hits/9IP (5.750). Spencer Strider will get some votes for leading the league in wins (20), win-loss% (.800), 2nd in WHIP) (1.074), 1st in strikeouts (281) and strikeouts/9IP (13.548). The Cy Young race in the NL is definitely not as cut and dry as the AL.
  • AL rookie of the year: Masataka Yoshida - a bright light on a Red Sox team that finished 4th in the AL East and had an impact on the wild card race. Yoshida batted .289 with 15HR and 72RBI. He was also a perfect 8 for 8 in stolen bases.
  • NL Rookie of the year: NYM Pitcher Kodai Senga - 12-7 in 29 starts, 2.98ERA, 202 strikeouts while playing on a team that missed the playoffs
  • AL Manager of the Year - Balrimore Orioles manager Brandon Hyde - hands down. In just two seasons, the Orioles have gone from losing 100+ games to winning 100+ games. The Orioles are a favorite to win the world series with a strong pitching staff and several players in their lineup who can do damage. Their biggest question mark heading into the ALDS is who closes with Felix Bautista done for a year with Tommy John surgery. Nonetheless, the Orioles will be a tough out in the playoffs.
  • NL Manager of the Year - Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker - The Atlanta Braves have made the playoffs in 6 of the 7 years Snitker has been manager (the franchise is alsio led by Alex Anthopolus and ex-Blue Jays trainer George Poulis. Coincidence?). Sure, playoff results are lacking, but they have won a world series (2021) and made the ALCS 2 years in a row (2020 and 2021). They have won the NL East division title 6 years in a row. By comparison, the Blue Jays made the playoffs three times in the same time frame, getting swept in the WC round all three times. Their best season was 2022 when they grabbed the 1st WC spot and lost at home to the Mariners after a spectacular collapse in the 2nd WC game. Perhaps the Blue Jays might want to consider the Braves model for winning and look at how the Braves shaped their team.

7. With a losing season there will be changes and that is guaranteed to happen with third base coach Luis Rivera retiring after a decade of waving runners home/putting up the stop sign. Could it be that Rivera saw the writing on the wall and decided to jump before he was fired? The Blue Jays directly lost one game due to confusion over whether Rivera put up the stop sign (Canada Day against the Red Sox) and in the elimination game, Vlad was picked off because he could not hear Rivera yelling at him to get back to the base. Other players have blown through stop signs and his calls at 3rd base on hitting strategy have been suspect. Hitting coach Guillermo Martinez is likely gone since the offense is the single biggest reason why the Blue Jays were eliminated. They scored 1 run in 2 games in the wild card series with some terrible at-bats. It's inconceivable that virtually every batter in the lineup had a supar season. Bo Bichette was the only batter who played up to expectation (batted .306 with 20HR and 73 RBI.) Matt Chapman had a hot April, but was subpar the rest of the year. What about manager John Schneider? He made a critical mistake in the elimination game by removing starter Jose Berrios. To be frank, his bullpen management has been suspect all season, not to mention his lineup choices. The argument for keeping him is he was signed to a 3-year deal at the end of last season. The argument for letting him go are the critical mistakes he made in the WC game, including using the same lineup as the 1st game and who started the 2nd game. The argument to fire Schneider will be made stronger if the Blue Jays decide that Ross Atkins has had enough time to build a winner - surely the new GM will want to hire his own manager/coaching staff.

8. Let's have a look at the Blue Jays pending free agents. There are six Blue Jays who are set to hit free agency this winter: Matt Chapman, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Jordan Hicks, Brandon Belt, Jordan Hicks and Kevin Kiermaier. Brandon Belt is contemplating retirement and the Blue Jays may want to go in another direction for DH/backup 1st baseman. Cavan Biggio was steady and came up with some clutch hits for instance. I don't see Merrifield returning either with the utility fielder likely to have mutltiple interested  teams. Hicks is also almost certainly gone, especially after seeing Berrios pulled in the 4th inning of a game he was dealing. It is interesting that Hicks became the closer the last few games. Could being offered the role of closer sweeten the pot for him to re-sign? Rumor has it, Hicks wants to be a starter again. Matt Chapman is also very likely gone since he will be one of the best players available on the free agent market in a key position to boot.  Ryu should garner some interest after making 11 starts and showing he is recovered from Tommy John surgery. The Blue Jays will be banking on Alek Manoah having a bounceback year so will likely let him go. Kiermaier is the most likely to re-sign and will be a relatively cheap option, though will covet more $$ after a solid season hitting at the no. 9  slot and his elite defense will be attractive. The Blue Jays will likely make offers to all pending free agents but Ryu.

9. Finally, we'll end things by looking at the free agent targets and needs for the Blue Jays. The biggest need positionally is some bats that can deliver some clutch hits. Two positions of need will be the hot corner (with Matt Chapman likely leaving) and 2nd base where there was no stable starter. A platoon of Cavan Biggio and Whit Merrifield played the bulk of the innings. The Blue Jays are pretty set with their starting pitchers, but they may want to sign another starter in case Manoah can't bounceback after a disastrous season. Could the Blue Jays throw a bunch of money at Shohei Ohtani to be a full time DH? He would certainly solve the problem of driving in runners in scoring position and the Blue Jays have batters who could protect him in the lineup so pitchers can't just intentionally walk him. The trouble is, Ohtani may want to stay west and there are days where the Blue Jays would need to DH Vlad and George Springer to keep them fresh. Maybe Joey Votto decides to finish his career in Canada. He would be a good target since he can play 1st base and DH. As far as a potential fifth starter, the Blue Jays could target former Blue Jays Marcus Stroman and Ross Stripling (Stroman would be game to return to Toronto but it may not be mutual). Cody Bellinger and Evan Longoria are a CF and 3B the Blue Jays could target. To be sure, the lineup could well be substantially different, but the pitching staff could be just a pitcher or two different. The Blue Jays will also take a longer look at some of the prospects who did well this season, and in particular Davis Schneider, Cam Eden and Spencer Horwitz.

10. Blue Jay of the year: There were a few worthy candidates here (Bichette was excellent and has turned out to be the best of the three that graduated to the majors in 2019, Kevin Gausman turned into the ace of the staff after Alek Manoah imploded, Yusei Kikuchi and Jose Berrios both had bounceback seasons after subpar 2022 seasons). However, Chris Bassitt gets the nod as Blue Jay of the year. It had to be a pitcher since the offense was blah. Bassitt led the Blue Jays in starts (33), wins (16) and complete games (1). His best starts came on the night his wife gave birth and and the start after. Quite frankly, he should have relieved Berrios or even started the elimination game since clearly the team did not trust Berrios. Thank you all for reading all the game recaps and random thoughts posts and I'll catch you all next year.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Wild Card series 2023 game #2 - Tornto Blue Jays (0-2) @ Minnesota Twins (2-0) - game recap.


Jose Berrios allowed one run in three innings in a 2-0 shutout loss to the Twins The Blue Jays playff game losing streak extended to 6 games with today's loss

After dropping the first game of the wild card series that snapped an 18 game playoff losing skid, the Blue Jays were looking to snap their own 5- game playoff skid. The exact same lineup as yesterday, except Jose Berrios was on the bump. Could the Blue Jays even the wild card series and snap the 5-game losing streak in playoff games? Here is today's game recap. 

ALWC Game #2 Toronto Blue Jays (0-1) @ Minnesota Twins (1-0)


Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Wild Card series 2023 game #1 - Tornto Blue Jays (0-1) @ Minnesota Twins (1-0) - game recap.


Kevin Kiermaier drove in the only run for the Blue Jays in a 3-run loss to the Twins

After 162 games, the Blue Jays begin their 2023 postseason run after barely nabbing a playoff spot thanks to the Mariners losing to the Rangers in game 161.The fact that the Blue Jays had to rely on another team to clinch a playoff berth says a lot about how the season went. Pitching is perhaps the teams greatest strength and this series and the playoffs success/failure will be dictated by an offence that struggled mightily for much of the seasonwith driving in runners in scoring position.The Blue Jays sacrificed offence for defense with off-season trades of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez for Daulton Varsho and Erik Swanson. They also signed Kevin Kiermaier, who came up with several big plays in CF this season. The Blue Jays will be a bit weaker at the catcher position with Danny Jansen not ready to play after breaking his hand. He may be able to return should the Blue Jays advance as far as the ALCS or perhaps the world series. They say defense (and pitching) wins championships - we're about to find out how true that is with the Blue Jays trotting out a very strong quadrant of starters that starts with ace Kevin Gausman, who should get some Cy Young votes to Yusei Kikuchi, who had a rebound season after a disastrous 2022 season.

The Blue Jays will face the Minnesota Twins, the  winners of the AL Central. The Blue Jays and the Twins split the 6 games in the season series with the Twins outscoring the Blue Jays 28-26. Kevin Gausman got the start with Alejsandro Kirk behind the plate. George Springer was in his traditional leadoff spot and in RF. Kevin Kiermaier was in CF and Daulton Varsho was in LF. Vladdy was at 1B, Cavan Biggio got the start at 2B, Bo Bichette was at SS and Matt Chapman was at the hot corned. Brandon Belt served as DH.  We will soon see if this talented lineup can snap the five game playoff losing streak that dates back to 2016. The Twins have not won in 18 playoff games dating back to 2004. Someone's drought will be snapped and the other team will have to wait at least a day to snap the skid. Could the Blue Jays snap their five game playoff skid?  Here is today's game recap

ALWC Game #1 Toronto Blue Jays (0-0) @ Minnesota Twins (0-0)


Sunday, October 1, 2023

Game #162 - Tampa Bay Rays (99-63) @ Toronto Blue Jays (89-73) - game recap


Tyler Heineman drove in 3 runs and scored once in a 12-8 loss to the Rays to end regular season play

After clinching a playoff spot thanks to a Mariners loss, who were eliminated from the playoffs thanks to the Astros winning their game last night, the Blue Jays were looking to end the regular season with a win and botch their 31st series win of the season. Righty Wes Parsons was recalled from AAA-ball and made the last start of the season with Tyler Heineman behind the plate. Jay Jackson was DFA'd to make room on the roster. Vlad and George Springer got the compete day off with Cavan Biggio at 1B and white Merrifield in RF. Daulton Varsho was in CF and Cam Eden was in LF. Santiago Espinal was at the hot corner. Davis Schneider got the start at 2B. Could the Blue Jays end the regular season with a win and notch their 31st series win of the season? Here is today's game recap. 

Game #162 Tampa Bay Rays (98-63) @ Toronto Blue Jays (89-72)

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Game #161 - Tampa Bay Rays (98-63) @ Toronto Blue Jays (89-72) - game recap


Daulton Varsho drove in 3 runs and scored a run in a losing effort as the Rays came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 7-5 in 10 innings

After a resounding win over the Rays,  the Blue Jays were looking to punch their ticket into the postseason with a win.  Also,  they were looking to extend the win streak to 3 and notch their 31st series win of the season. Hyun Jin Ryu got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. George Springer got the half day off as DH with Cavan Biggio in RF.  Whit Merrifield got the start at 2B.  Could the Blue Jays extend the win streak to 3 games,  notch their 31st series win of the season and clinch a spot in the post season? Here is today's game recap. 

Game Highlights:

  • The Rays opened the scoring in the top of the 1st as Isaac Paredes singled scoring Randy Arozarena
  • Shawn Armstrong pitching line: 1IP 0H 0R 2BB 0K 23 pitches (12 for strikes)
  • The Rays added a run in the top of the 3rd as Josh Lowe doubled scoring Harold Ramirez
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the bottom half of the inning as Daulton Varsho hammered a solo bomb to the second deck in right
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu pitching line: 3IP 7H 2R (both earned) 0BB 1K 52 pitches (37 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays took the lead in the bottom of the 4th as Varsho singled scoring Alejandro Kirk and Kevin Kiermaier 
  • A batter later, George Springer singled home Whit Merrifield
  • The Rays tied the game in the top of the 5th as Ramirez smashed a 2-run jack to left-center; also scoring Arozarena
  • The Rays took the lead in the top of the 10th as Taylor Walls singled scoring Oslevis Basabe and Lowe 
  • A batter later, Junior Caminero legged out an infield singled that plated Raimel Tapia
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the bottom half of the inning as Bo Bichette doubled scoring Cavan Biggio
  • Final score: Rays 7 Blue Jays 5

My Take:

  • Hyun-Jin Ryu battled through 3 innings, giving up a pair of runs on 7 hits while walking none and striking out 1. In what was likely his last appearance in a Blue Jays uniform, Hyun-Jin Ryu  was knocked around by the Rays, who got three straight hits in the 1st inning for a 1-0 lead before Ryu retired the next two batters to escape the jam. If this was his last appearance for the Blue Jays, Ryu finishes with a 24-15 regular season record and a solid 3.95 ERA over 59 starts. His lone postseason start for the Blue Jays was a disaster, lasting just 1.2 innings against the Rays, allowing 7 runs (3 earned). He has shown enough in the last month of the season that some team will tajke a chance on him. 
  • The bullpen gave up 5 runs (4 earned) on 5 hits while walking 3 and striking out 4 over the last 7 innings. Interesting move swapping the two Jordans (typical closer Romano came in for the 8th inning and Jordan Hicks was tasked with trying to give the Blue Jays a chance to walk it off in the 9th and 10th innings). Romano did his job and Hicks did in the 9th too, but not the 10th inning. Also Hicks threw a lot of pitches and now may not be available in what could be a must win regular season finale..
  • Offensively, the Blue Jays came back and took the lead thanks to Daulton Varsho, who drove in 3 runs and scored one on a solo bomb to the second deck in right. Unfortunately, the Blue Jays weren't able to tack on any insurance runs or take the lead in the bottom of the 9th. Bichette did knock one in with an RBI double in the 10th, but the Blue Jays could not come any closer.\
  • The Blue Jays were 3-13 with runners in scoring position
  • In terms of the WC race, the Mariners lose tonight and the Blue Jays clinch a playoff spot. If the Mariners and Astros win, the Astros and Rangers would be tied for top spot in the AL West and the Mariners would be a half game behind for the last WC spot.
  • Up next, the last game of the regular season. If the Mariners win, Kevin Gausman would start. The Rays have not named their starter either.

Game #161 Tampa Bay Rays (97-63) @ Toronto Blue Jays (89-71)


Game #160 - Tampa Bay Rays (97-63) @ Toronto Blue Jays (89-71) - game recap


Alejandro Kirk drove in 3 runs and scored once in an 11-4 rout over the Rays

After a shutout win over the Yankees, the Blue Jays were looking to make it two straight wins and inch ever closer to clinching a wild card spot. They were taking on the Rays with whom they split the first 10 games of the season series, outscoring the Rays  63-47. Yusei Kikuchi got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. The rest of the lineup was the same as last night. Could the Blue Jays make it 2 straight wins.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Game #158 - New York Yankees (81-77) @ Toronto Blue Jays (87-71) - game recap


Brandon Belt had both Blue Jays hits in a 6-0 shutout loss to the Yankees

After dropping one late yesterday,  the Blue Jays were looking to even both the series and season series tonight. Jose Berrios got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Whit Merrifield was in LF and the rest of the lineup was the same as last night. Could the Blue Jays even the series and set up a runner match for basing rights next season? Here is tonight's game recap.