Sunday, April 21, 2024

Game #22 - Toronto Blue Jays (12-10) @ San Diego Padres (12-12) - game recap

 

Davis Schneider hit a solo HR and drove in a second run in a losing effort as the Padres came from behind to double up the Blue Jays 6-3
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After a solid win by the Blue Jays thanks to a three-run HR and key insurance run from the red-hot Daulton Varsho, as well as lights out pitching from ace Jose Berrios and closer Jordan Romano, the Blue Jays were going for their 3rd straight win and 1st series sweep of the season. Chris Bassitt got the start with Danny Jansen behind the plate. Ernie Clement was at the hot corner and Davis Schneider got the start at 2B. Could the Blue Jays extend the win streak to three games and complete their first sweep of the season? Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Padres opened the scoring in the bottom of the 1st as Manny Machado singled scoring Jake Cronenworth. George Springer was charged with a fielding error on the play
  • The Blue Jays tied it up in the top of the 2nd as Davis Schneider belted a solo jack to left-center
  • The Blue Jays took the lead in the top of the 3rd as Ernie Clement hammered a solo bomb to the second deck in left
  • The Padres tied it up in the bottom half of the inning as Xander Bogaerts whacked a solo blast to left-center
  • The Padres took the lead in the bottom of the 6th on a bases loaded walk to Luis Campusano that forced in Jurickson Profar
  • A batter later, Ha-Seong Kim scored on a catcher's interference call against Danny Jansen on a ball hit by Tyler Wade
  • Chris Bassitt pitching line: 5.1 IP 6H 4R (3 earned) 3BB 4K 93 pitches (56 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the top of the 7th on a ground out hit by Schneider that scored Justin Turner
  • Joe Musgrowe pitching line: 7IP 5H 3R 0BB 3K 99 pitches (67 for strikes)
  • The Padres added a run in the bottom of the 8th on a bases loaded walk to Bogaerts that forced in Profar
  • A batter later, Kim scored on a sac fly by Fernando Tatis Jr.
  • Robert Suarez pitched a scoreless 9th for his 7th save of the season
  • Final score: Padres 6 Blue Jays 3

My Take:

  • Chris Bassitt battled through 5.1 innings, giving up 4 runs (3 earned,  and 2 after he left the ball game) on 6 hits while walking 3 and striking out 4. He got himself out of a bases loaded jam in the 1st inning by picking off Jurickson Profar at 2nd base. That started a streak of five straight outs that ended when Xander Bogaerts took him yard in the 3rd inning. Bassitt got fortunate to escape a second bases loaded jam in the 5th inning when Davis Schneider made a great leaping grab on a liner that had two runs written all over it. Unfortunately, Trevor Richards allowed both inherited runners to score. It seems like this then through the rotation will feature starters battling to pitch with less than their best stuff. 
  • The bullpen was unable to do its job today.  It started with Trevor Richards allowing both inherited runners to score when he gave up two walks. To be fair,  he should have been out of the inning with just a one run deficit but Danny Jansen got a bit too close to the batter and was called for catcher interference. Nate Pearson was fortunate this one didn't turn into a blowout. After he walked in a run,  Pearson left a pitch right down the middle and Fernando Tatis Jr. just missed a grand slam. Instead, it went for a loud out and an easy sac fly. Pearson and Richards walked a  combined 6 batters over the last 2.2 innings. Both the threw over 30 pitches and likely won't be available for the series opener in Kansas City tomorrow
  • Davis Schneider was the offensive hero today, driving in two, including himself on a solo HR. Ernie Clement gave the Blue Jays a brief lead in the 2nd inning with a no-doubter. After that home run, ten of the next twelve Blue Jays were retired and Musgrowe faced the minimum in that time span thanks to Bo Bichette getting caught stealing and Vlad hitting into an inning ending double play
  • The Blue Jays were 0-2 with runners in scoring position
  • Up next, the Blue Jays continue the road trip in Kansas City. The Blue Jays win 6 of the 7 games in last year's season series, outscoring the Royals 33-20. Yusei Kikuchi starts against Royals righty Brady Singer.

Game #22 Toronto Blue Jays (12-9) @ San Diego Padres (11-12)

 

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Game #21 - Toronto Blue Jays (12-9) @ San Diego Padres (11-12) - game recap

 

Daulton Varsho hit a 3-run HR in the 1st innung and later scored an insurance run to lead the Blue Jays to a 5-2 win over the Pardres

After a solid win yesterday thanks to 4-run 2nd inning and a solid pitching performance from Yariel Rodriguez, the Blue Jays were going for two straight wins, their 3rd series win and 2nd season series win/. The Blue Jays traded Mitch White, who was DFA'd a few days ago, to the San Francisco Giants for cash consideration. White ends his Blue Jays career with a 1-6  record and a 7.26 ERA in 24 games (8 starts) over parts of three seasons. Nate Pearson was recalled with Chad Green headed to the 15-day IL with a right teres major strain. Ace Jose Berrios got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. George Springer was back in the lineup and in RF after a complete daty off yesterday. Cavan Biggio was at 2B. Could the Blue Jays make it two straight wins and notch their 3rd series win and 2nd season series win of the season? Here is tonight's game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the top of the 1st as Daulton Varsho drilled a 3- run bomb to right; also scoring Vladimir Guerrero Jr.  and Bo Bichette
  • Padres LF Jurickson Profar and Padres manager Mike Shildt were both ejected at the end of the 1st inning after Rofar was tossed for an angry outburst where he threw his bat to the ground after being rung up on a borderline strike.  
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 2nd on a wild pitch by Randy Vasquez that scored Kevin Kiermaier
  • Randy Vasquez pitching line: 5IP 5H 4R (1 earned) 1BB 3K 97 pitches (59 for strikes)
  • Jose Berrios pitching line: 6IP 5H 0R 2BB 6K 91 pitches (63 for strikes)
  • The Padres got one back in the bottom of the 7th on a ground out hit by Xander Bogaerts that scored Luis Campusano
  • The Padres got one back in the bottom of the 8th as Ha-Seong Kim singled scoring Jose Azocar
  • The Bue Jays added a run in the top of the 9th as Ernie Clement singled scoring Varsho
  • Jordan Romano threw a perfect 9th for his 2nd save of the season
  • Final score: Blue Jays 5 Padres 2

My Take:

  • Jose Berrios not at his best is still the best pitcher in the game bar none. He threw 6 shutout innings tonight, giving up 5 hits and walking 2 while striking out 6. He got out off three separate jams with multiple base runners on, including the 5th inning when the Padres had the bases loaded with 2 outs. Berrios retired seven in a row at one point. He's been the team's best pitcher by far. 
  • The bullpen had some mixed results. Genesis Cabrera was only able to retire one of the three batters he faced and ceded a run.Yimi Garcia and Jordan Romano were both excellent, retiring every batter they faced. Erik Swanson got into a jam and had a run scored on him on 3 hits. Swanson and Romano are both fresh off the IL and Romano looks like he is getting back in form, while Swanson is trying to work through some things.
  • Daulton Varsho remains red hot. He gave the Blue Jays an early lead in the 1st inning, going yard to right for three runs. He later scored to add a key insurance run. Here's hoping he's not this season's Matt Chapman (the ex-Blue Jays third baseman is notorious for hitting well in April, not not so much in the other months of  the season) Vlad was the only other Blue Jay with multiple hits tonight
  • The Blue Jays were 2-10 with runners in scoring position
  • Up next, the Blue Jays try to extend the win streak to 3 games and complete their 1st sweep of the season. Chris Bassitt starts against Padres righty Joe Musgrove

Game #21 Toronto Blue Jays (11-9) @ San Diego Padres (11-11)


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Game #19 - New York Yankees (13-6) @ Toronto Blue Jays (10-9) - game recap

 

Daulton Varsho hit a pair of HR for three runs in a losing effort as the Yankees came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 6-4

After a solid win yesterday thanks to some timely hitting by Vlad, timely baserunning by IKF and stellar pitching from Yusei Kikuchi, the Blue Jays were looking to make it 5 straight wins and complte their 1st series sweep of the season. Kevin Gausman got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Kevin Kiermaier was in CF and Daulton Varsho was in LF. Ernie Clement was at the hot corner, while Davis Schneider got the start at 2B. Could the Blue Jays make it 5 straight wins and complete their 1st sweep of the season? Here is today's game recap.

Game #19 New York Yankees (12-6) vs Toronto Blue Jays (10-8)

 

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Game #18 - New York Yankees (12-6) @ Toronto Blue Jays (10-8) - game recap

 

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove in a pair of runs in a 5-4 comeback win over the Yankees

After a solid win yesterday thanks to the the offensive efforts of Alejandro Kirk and stellar pitching, the Blue Jays were looking for their 4th straight win and 3rd series win of the season. Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson were reinstated from the 15-day IL. Mitch White was DFA'd and Nate Pearson was optioned back to AAA-ball to make room on the roster. It may be the end of the road for White as a Blue Jay. If so, he finishes his Blue Jay career wuth a 1-6 record and a 7.26ERA in 24 games (8 starts) over parts of 3 seasons. Yusei Kikuchi got the start with Danny Jansen behind the plate, who was making his regular season debut after coming off the IL yesterday. Daulton Varsho was in CF and Davis Schneider was in LF. Ernie Clement got the start at the hot corner and Isiah Kiner-Falefa was at 2B. Could the Blue Jays make it 4 straight wins and 3 series wins? Here is tonight's game recap

Game #18 New York Yankees (12-5) vs Toronto Blue Jays (9-8)

 

Monday, April 15, 2024

Game #17 - New York Yankees (12-5) @ Toronto Blue Jays (9-8) - game recap

 

Alejandro Kirk scored a run and drove in a run in a 3-1 come-from-behind win over the Yankees

After a solid weekend set against the Rockies, the Blue Jays were looking to make it three straight wins as the Bronx Bombers rolled into town for a three-game series to wrap up the first homestand of the season. The Yankees took two of three from the Blue Jays a week ago, outscoring the Blue Jays 17-14. Danny Jansen was activated from the 10-day IL and Brian Serven was optioned back to AAA-ball. Chris Bassitt got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Daulton Varsho was in LF, Isiah Kiner-Falefa was at the hot corner and Cavan Biggio was at 2B. Could the Blue Jays make it three straight wins? Here is tonight's game recap. 

Game #17 New York Yankees (12-4) vs Toronto Blue Jays (8-8)

 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Game #16 - Colorado Rockies (4-12) @ Toronto Blue Jays (8-8) - game recap

 

Justin Turner drover in three runs in a 5-0 shutout win over the Rockies

After a solid in thanks to a 5-run effort in the 1st inning by the offence yesterday, the Blue Jays were looking for their 2nd straight win, 2nd series win and 1st season series win of 2024. Ace Jose Berrios got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Kevin Kiermaier was back in CF after a day off yesterday. Justin Turner served as DH. Ernie Clement was at the hot corner and Isiah Kiner-Falefa was at 2B. Could the Blue Jays make it two straight wins, 2 series win and a season series win? Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the bottom of the 1st as Justin Turner singled scoring George Springer.
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the bottom of the 3rd as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled scoring Kevin Kiermaier 
  • Two batters later, Turner doubled home Guerrero Jr. 
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the bottom of the 5th as Turner singled scoring Springer
  • Kyle Freeland pitching line: 5IP 7H 4R (all earned) 2BB 3K 95 pitches (56 for strikes)
  • Jose Berrios pitching line: 7IP 2H 0R 2BB 7K 100 pitches (66 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the bottom of the 8th as Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled scoring Ernie Clement
  • Final score: Blue Jays 5 Rockies 0
My Take:

  • Jose Berrios was excellent today, throwing seven shutout innings, allowing 2 hits, 2 walks and striking out 7 (he also hit a couple of batters). Berros has established himself as the Blue Jays best starter. He is also one of the best pitches in the game period and should be a contender for the Cy Young award if he continues his dominance - three wins, three quality starts.
  • The bullpen threw 2 shutout innings and Nate Pearson struck out the side in the 9th
  • Offensively, Justin Turner did the damage, driving in three runs. By far, he was the best signing by the Blue Jays to date.
  • Every Blue Jays starter except Davis Schneider had a hit 
  • The Blue Jays were 5-13 with runners in scoring position
  • Up next, the Blue Jays go for three straight wins. The Yankees took two of three from the Blue Jays a week ago, outscoring the Blue Jays 17-14. Chris Bassitt gets the start against Yankees righty Luis Gil

Game #16 Colorado Rockies (4-11) vs Toronto Blue Jays (7-8)

 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Game #15 - Colorado Rockies (4-11) @ Toronto Blue Jays (7-8) - game recap

 

Daulton Varsho hit a grand slam in a 5-3 win over the Rockies

After a disasatrous game yesterday thanks to ugly pitching, the Blue Jays were looking to snap the 2-game skid.. Cuban import Yariel Rodriguez was recalled from AAA-ball and became the first Cuban-born pitcher to start an MLB game (Righty Paolo Espino was optioned to AAA-ball) with Brian Serven behind the plate. Daniel Vogelbach served as DH. Daulton Varsho was in CF and Davis Schneider was in LF. Could the Blue Jays even the series, snap the 2-game skid and set up a rubber match Sunday? Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the bottom of the 1st on a bases loaded walk to Davis Schneider that forced in George Springer
  • A batter later, Daulton Varsho hammered a grand slam to right-center and into the Rockies bullpen; also scoring Schneider, Bo Bichette and Daniel Vogelbach
  • The Rockies got one back in the top of the 3rd as Brenton Doyle smashed a solo bomb to the second deck in left
  • Yariel Rodriguez pitching line: 3.2IP 4H 1R (earned) 2BB 6K 68 pitches (44 for strikes)
  • The Rockies got a pair back in the top of the 6th as Brendan Rodgers singled scoring Elias Diaz and Nolan Jones
  • Dakota Hudson pitching line: 6IP 5H 5R (all earned) 3BB 5K 102 pitches (58 for strikes)
  • Yimi Garcia threw a perfect 9th for his 1st save of the season.
  • Final score: Blue Jays 5 Rockies 3
My Take

  • Yariel Rodriguez gave up a run on 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 6 over 3.2 innings. e was perfect in the 1st inning and got into a bit of a jam in the 2nd inning, which he escaped. Third inning, he was taken deepand walked a batter before escaping the inning. One concern is he has a personality similar to Manoah. He needs to let his play do the talking.
  • The bullpen gave up 2 runs on3 hits while walking 2 and striking out 3 over the last 5.1 innings. It was really encouraging to see Tim Mayza have a clean inning.
  • Offensively, the Blue Jays took advantage of a shaky Dakota Hudson, putting 5 runs on the board in the 1st inning, capped off by a Daulton Varsho grand slam.
  • Every Blue Jays starter but Brian Serven reached base at least once
  • The Blue Jays were 1-7 with runners in scoring position
  • Up next, the Blue Jays try to extend the winning streak to 2 games and notch their 2nd series win and first season series win. Ace Jose Berrios starts against Rockies righty Kyle Freeland

Game #15 Colorado Rockies (4-10) vs Toronto Blue Jays (6-8)

 

Friday, April 12, 2024

Game #14 - Colorado Rockies (4-10) @ Toronto Blue Jays (6-8) - game recap

 

Daulton Varsho hit a solo HR in a losing effort as the Rockies came from behind to rout the Blue Jays 12-4

After an off day yesterday, the Blue Jays continued the home stand with a weekend set against the Rockies, their first National League opponent of the season. The Blue Jays won the season series against the Rockies 2-1, outscoring the Rockies 27-22. Kevin Gausman got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plste. Vlad was back in the field after DH'ing Wednesday (Justin Turner served as DH tonight). Isiah Kiner-Falefa was at the hot corner and Cavan Biggio got the start at 2B. Could the Blsue Jays start the weekend with a win? Here is tonight's game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Blue jays opened the scoring in the bottom of the 1st as Cavan Biggio singled scoring Bo Bichette
  • The Rockies tied it up in the top of the 2nd as Brendan Rodgers doubled scoring Elias Diaz
  • The Blue jays retook the lead in it the bottom half of the inning as Daulton Varsho whacked a solo blast to right
  • The Rockies tied it up in the top of the 3rd as Ryan McMahon doubled scoring Ezequiel Tovar
  • Two batters later Diaz singled home McMahon
  • A batter later Nolan Jones doubled scoring Diaz
  • The Rockies added a pair of runs in the top of the 4th as Kris Bryant doubled scoring Brenton Doyle and McMahon
  • Kevin Gausman pitching line: 3.2IP 10H 6R (all earned) 0BB 4K 78 pitches (54 for strikes)
  • The Rockies added a run in the top of the 5th as Jones hammered a solo bomb to right
  • Ryan Feltner pitching line: 5IP 8H 2R (both earned) 2BB 4K 94 pitches (60 for strikes
  • The Rockies added a run in the top of the 6th a Torvar drilled a solo jack to left
  • The Rockies added a run in the top of the 7th as Doyle doubled scoring Rodgers
  • A batter later, Michael Toglia scored on a sac fly by Tovar
  • The Rockies added a run in the top of the 9th on a sac fly by Jake cave that scored Rodgers
  • Three batters later, McMahon doubled home Doyle
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the bottom half of the inning as Isiah Kiner-Falefa went yard to left-center
  • Final score: Rockies 12 Blue Jays 4

My Take:

  • For the third straight game,  embattled Blue Jays ace Kevin Gausman was roughed up as he continues to try and find for his form after an abbreviated spring training due to a shoulder injury. Tonight, Gausman was lit up for 6 runs on 10 hits while walking none and striking out 4 over 3.2 innings.  It speaks volumes about the Blue Jays lack of depth for starting pitching. At this point, they can trust Jose beeps Berrios, who has been the Blue Jays best and most consistent pitcher and lefty Yusei Kikuchi, woo has also been solid and added a changeup to his bevy of pitches. Chris Bassitt has been average so far and bowden Francis, who was stretched out to be a starter this season after being a reliever his whole career. Alek Manoah is on a rehab assignment, but has been a disaster in every appearance this season. Manoah needs to earn his way back to the majors and shouldn't just be handed the job based on past performance in 2021 and 2022. Rickey Tiederman could be an option sooner than later.  Don't be surprised if Gausman heads back to the IL when Danny Jansen, Erik Swanson and Jordan Romano return from their IL stunts because something is clearly off with him and very likely physically. 
  • The bullpen didn't fare much better today, giving up a further 6 runs on 10 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5 over the last 5.1 innings. Genesis Cabrera was the only pitcher to retire every batter he faced. 
  • Offensively, believe it or not, three Blue Jays managed to take the lead twice.  Unlikely sources provided the offense today. Cavan Biggio got a base hit to drive in Bo Bichette.  Daulton Varsho and Isiah Kiner-Falefa each went deep for a run each. For Kiner-Falefa, it was his first HR in a Blue Jays uniform
  • Every Blue Jays starter except Alejandro Kirk reached at least once and all but Kirk and Vladimir Guerrero Jr had a hit
  • You know things are going bad when Kevin Kiermaier misses a catch that goes for a triple
  • The Blue jays were 1-6 with runners in scoring position
  • Up next, the Blue Jays try to snap the 2- game skid and avoid their 3rd series loss and 1st season series loss. Yariel Rodriguez makes his big league debut against Rockies righty Dakota Hudson

Game #14 Colorado Rockies (3-10) vs Toronto Blue Jays (6-7)

 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Game #13 - Seattle Mariners (5-8) @ Toronto Blue Jays (6-7) - game recap

 

Yusei Kikuchi threw 6.2 strong innings in a 6-1 loss to the Mariners

After another solid win over the Mariners thanks to  some clutch hitting, including a 2-run jack from Bo Bichette and 6.2 strong innings from Chris Bassitt, the Blue Jays were looking to extend the win streak to 3 games and complete their first series sweep of the seeason. The Blue Jays traded righty Wes Parsons to the Cleveland Guardians for International Signing Bonus Pool Space. Parsons made 2 appearances this season for the Blue Jays and gave up 6 runs on 6 hits while walking 2 and striking out 2 over 5 innings. He was DFA'd April 4. Back to today's game. Yusei Kikuchi got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Vlad got the half day off as DH with Justin Turner at 1B. Daulton Varsho was in LF. Ernie Clement was at the hot corner. Could the Blue Jays make it three straight wins and complete their 1st sweep of the season? Here is today's game recap.

Game #13 Seattle Mariners (4-8) vs Toronto Blue Jays (6-6)


Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Game #12 - Seattle Mariners (4-8) @ Toronto Blue Jays (6-6) - game recap

 

Bo Bichete hit a 2-run HR in a 5-3 win over the Mariners

After a solid win thanks to 6.2 shutout innings from Jose Berrios and some timely hitting, the Blue Jays were going for their 1st series win and first multi-game win streak. Chris Bassitt got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Davis Schneider was in LF. Could the Blue Jays make it two straight wins and notch their 1st series win of the season? Here is tonight's game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the bottom of the 3rd as George Springer singled scoring Daulton Varsho (this was made possible due to a disengagement violation that put Springer on 2B
  • Two batters later, Bo Bichette hammered a 2-run bomb to the second deck in left-centerl; also scoring Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the bottom of the 4th as Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled scoring Cavan Biggio 
  • Two batters later, Springer singled home Kiner-Falefa
  • Kirby George pitching line: 4IP 8H 5R (all earned) 0BB 3K 87 pitches (54 for strikes)
  • The Mariners got one back in the top of the 7th as Dominic Canzone whacked a solo blast to the opposite field in left-center
  • Chris Bassitt pitching line: 6.2 IP 5H 1R (earned) 4BB 8K 115 pitches (72 for strikes)
  • The Mariners got a pair back in the top of the 8th as Mitch Haniger whacked a solo blast to the opposite field in left; also scoring Julio Rodriguez
  • Chad Green got the last 4 outs for his 2nd save of the season
  • Final score: Blue Jays 5 Mariners 3

y  Take:

  • Chris Bassitt had his best start of the season, giving up a run on 5 hits while walking 4 and striking out 8. The lone run he gave up was in his final inning. It is interesting that John Schneider and co. are letting the starters pttch deeper in games. A lack of trust in the bullpen may be a factor. Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson can't come back soon enough.
  • The bullpen gave up a pair of runs (given up on a 2-run HR by Trevor Richards) on 1 hit while walking 2 and striking out none over the last 2.1 innings. The team is definitely missing Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson. The bullpen has been forced to play out of their optimal roles with the Blue Jays closer and primary setup man rehabbing injuries. Swanson is a bit ahead of Romano, having pitched an inning in Single A a couple of days ago.
  • The offence jumped on Mariners starter George Kirby, scoring 5 runs on him through 4 innings on 8 hits. George Springer drove in a pair and Bo Bichette went yard for 2 runs.
  • The Blue Jays were 3-10 with runners in scoring position
  • Up next, the Blue Jays try for their 3rd straight win and to complete their 1st series sweep of the season. Yusei Kikuchi faces his former team. The Mariners will counter with righty Logan Gilbert.

Game #12 Seattle Mariners (4-7) vs Toronto Blue Jays (5-6)

 

Monday, April 8, 2024

Game #11 - Seattle Mariners (4-7) @ Toronto Blue Jays (5-6) - game recap

 

Jose Berrios threw 6.2 shutout innings in a 5-2 win over their expansion cousins, the Seattle Mariners in their2024 home opener at the newly renovated Rogers' Centre

After a tough ten game road trip that saw a mostly subpar offence,  2 series losses and a miraculous series split, the Blue Jays limped home to begin the home portion of their schedule against expansion cousins Seattle Mariners. The Blue Jays come home to the completed renovation project that included improved menu items, more comfortable seats with cup holders and more. The players will have a better training facility and family/friends of the players will see an improved place to hang out while their spouses/fathers play ball. The Mariners and Blue Jays split the season series with the Mariners outscoring the Blue Jays 27-26. Ace Jose Berrios got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. George Springer was back in the field after DH'ing yesterday (Justin Turner served as DH tonight). Davis Schneider was in LF. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was at the hot corner and Cavan Biggio was at 2B. Could the Blue Jays snap the two game skid and start the home portion of the schedule with a win? Here is tonight's game recap.

Game #11 Seattle Mariners (4-6) vs Toronto Blue Jays (4-6)

 

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Game #10 - Toronto Blue Jays (4-6) @ New York Yankees (8-2) - game recap

 

Vladimmimr Guerrero Jr. scored a run and drove in a run in a losing effort as the Blue Jays fell to the Yankees 8-3

After a Valient effort last night that fell just short, the Blue Jays were looking for their first series win of the season. Bowden Francis got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate.  George Springer got the half day off as DH with Cavan Biggio in RF. Ernie Clement was at the hot corner and Isiah Kiner-Falefa was at 2B. Could the Blue Jays end the road trip with their first series win of the season? Here is today's game recap. 

Game #10 Toronto Blue Jays (4-5) @ New York Yankees (7-2)


Saturday, April 6, 2024

Game #9 - Toronto Blue Jays (4-5) @ New York Yankees (7-2) - game recap

 

Justin Turner scored twice and drove in a run in a losing effort as the Yankees held on to edge the Blue Jays 9-8

After a miraculous 3-0 shutout win to ruin the Yankees home opener thanks thanks to stellar pitching, a clutch pinch hit home run from Ernie Clement and two insurance runs off wild pitches in the 9th, the Blue Jays were looking for their 1st multi-game win streak and 1st series win of the season. Ace Kevin Gausman got the start with backup catcher Brian Serven behind the plate. Kevin Kiermaier was back in CF after being a late scratch yesterday due to lower back spasms.That put Daulton Varsho back in left field. Justin Turner was at the hot corner and Ernie Clement was at 2B. Daniel Vogelbach served as DH.  Could the Blue Jays make it two straight wins and notch their 1st series win of the season? Here is tonight's game  recap.

Game Highights:

  • The Yankees opened the scoring in the bottom of the 1st as Aaron Judge hammered a 2-run bomb to left-center; also scoring Juan Soto
  • A batter later, Giancarlo Stanton whacked a solo blast to the opposite field in right-center and just over the wall
  • The Yankees added a run in the bottom of the 2nd on a sac fly by Gleyber torres that scored Anthony Volpe
  • A batter later, Austin Wells scored on a wild pitch by Kevin Gausman
  • Same batter, Soto singled home Oswaldo Cabrera
  • Kevin Gausman pitching line: 1.1IP 4H 6R (5 earned) 2BB 0K 51 pitches (29 for strikes)
  • The Blue jays got one back in the top of the 3rd on a sac fly by Justin Turner that scored Kevin Kiermaier.
  • The Blue jays got one back in the top of the 4th on a fielder's choice hit by Kiermaier that scored Ernie Clement
  • Clarke Schmidt pitching line: 4.1IP 6H 2R (both earned) 3BB 4K 91 pitches (58 for strikes)
  • The Yankees added a pair of runs in the bottom of the 5th as Anthony Rizzo whacked a 2-run Jack just inside the right foul pole: also scoring Judge
  • The Yankees added a run in the bottom of the 6th as Soto singled scoring Torres
  • The Blue jays got one back in the top of the 7th as Vladimir Guerrero Jr smacked a solo blast to the opposite field in right-center
  • Three batters later, Daniel Vogelbach doubled scoring Bo Bichette
  • A batter later, Turner scored on a sac fly by Clement
  • The Blue jays got one back in the top of the 9th as Davis Schneider doubled scoring Turner
  • A batter later, Clement scored on a groundout hit by Alejandro Kirk
  • A batter after that,  Cavan Biggio singled home Schneider
  • Clay Holmes got the last two outs for his 4th save of the season
  • Final score: Yankees 9 Blue Jays 8

My Take:

  • Kevin Gausman had a rough start tonight, giving up 6 runs (5 earned thanks to a wild pitch) on 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out none.  The bigger concern has to be that his velocity was down a tick today.  Gausman was going to be on a restricted pitch count tonight since he wasn't fully stretched out. Now the question has to be if he is healthy. There's no question the Blue Jays will monitor how he is feeling tomorrow. He had his pitching arm wrapped up between innings in the top of the 2nd.  Then again, a lot of pitchers do that.
  • The bullpen gave up three runs (all charged to mitch White) on 6 hits while walking 5 and striking out 5 over 6.2 innings. The Blue Jays may need to call someone up in case tomorrow's starter, Bowden Francis, struggles against an equally potent lineup to the one he faced in Houston. 
  • That was an encouraging effort by the offense that fell just short of coming all the way back in spite of the big hole the pitching put the Blue Jays in.  
  • Every Blue Jays starter except Daulton Varsho reached base at least once and all but Varsho and Brian Serven had at least one hit
  • The Blue Jays were 4-17 with runners in scoring position
  • Up next, the Blue Jays go for their first series win of the season.  Bowden Francis starts against Yankees righty Luis Gil

Game #9 Toronto Blue Jays (4-4) @ New York Yankees (6-2)

 

Friday, April 5, 2024

Game #8 - Toronto Blue Jays (4-4) @ New York Yankees (6-2) - game recap

Ernie Clement hit a clutch go ahead HR in the top of the 7th of a 3-0 shutout win

 

After an off-day yesterday, the Blue Jays opened a weekend series against the Yankees, who won the season series 4-3, but the Blue Jays outscored the Yankees 47-37. Wes Parsons was DFA'd with righty Paolo Espino getting the call-up. Yusei Kikuchi got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Kevin Kiermaier was a late scratch with lower back spasms so Daulton Varsho got the start in CF and Davis Schneider was in LF. Cavan Biggio was at 2B. Could the Blue Jays ruin the Yankees home opener and get back to .500? Here is today's game recap. 

Game #8 Toronto Blue Jays (3-4) @ New York Yankees (6-1)


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Game #7 - Toronto Blue Jays (3-4) @ Houston Astros (2-5) - game recap

 

Daulton Varsho got the only hit for the Blue Jays in an 8-0 shutout loss to the Astros

After a huge comeback win on the backs of a clutch go-ahead HR from Davis "Babe" Schneider, the Blue Jays were going for their first multi-game win streak and first series win of the season. Chris Bassitt got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Daulton Varsho was in LF and Kevin Kiermaier in CF. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was at the hot corner and Cavan Biggio was at 2nd base. Could the Blue Jays make it two straight wins and notch their first series win of the season? Here is tonight's game recap.

Game #7 Toronto Blue Jays (3-3) @ Houston Astros (1-5)

 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Game #6 - Toronto Blue Jays (3-3) @ Houston Astros (1-5) - game recap

 

Davis Schneider hit a clutch 2-run HR with the Blue Jays down to their last strike in a 2-1 come-from-behind win over the Astros

After a horrendous showing yesterday in a 10-0 no-hit loss, the Blue Jays were looking to bounce back and continue their trend of winning one, losing one, etc. Ace Jose Berrios got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Bo Bichette was back in the lineup at SS after missing the last couple of days with neck spasms. Ernie Clement remained in the lineup and was at the hot corner tonight. Davis Schneider got the start in LF. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was at 2B. Could the Blue Jays even the series? Here is tonight's game recap.

Game #6 Toronto Blue Jays (2-3) @ Houston Astros (1-4)

 

Monday, April 1, 2024

Game #5 - Toronto Blue Jays (2-3) @ Houston Astros (1-4) - game recap

 

George Springer drew a pair of walks and was the only Blue Jay to reach base in a 10-0 no-hit shutout to the Astros

After wrapping up the season opening series in Tampa Bay with a respectable series split, the Blue Jays moved onto Houston to take on the Astros as they continued their 10 game road trip to start the season. The Astros will be a hungry team after gettig swept at home to the surging Yankees. The Blue Jays won the season series last yea 4-2, but the Astros outscored the Blue Jays 35-22. Bowden Francis got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plat. Bo Bichette is still dealing with a stiff neck and was out of the lineup with Ernie Clement at SS. George Springer was back in the field after a half day off as DH yesterday (Justin Turner served as DH tonight). Kevin Kiermaier was in CF and Daulton Varsho was in LF. Cavan Biggio got the start at 2B. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was at the hot corner. Could the Blue Jays get their first multi-game win streak of the season? Here is tonight's game recap.

Game #5 Toronto Blue Jays (2-2) @ Houston Astros (0-4)

 

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Game #4 - Toronto Blue Jays (2-2) @ Tampa Bay Rays (2-2) - game recap

Justin Turner drove in 4 runs and scored twice, finishing a triple shy of the cycle in a 9-2 rout over the Rays


After a second straight loss to the Rays on a mediocre start from Yusei kKikuchi, the Blue Jays were trying to snap the 2-game skid and escape Tampa Bay with a series split.  Ace Kevin Gausman got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. George Springer gor the half day off as DH with Cavan Biggio in RF.  Daulton Varsho was in CF and Davis Schneider was in LF. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was at 2B. SS Bo Bichette was a late scratch with neck spasms. Ernie Clement started at SS instead.  Justin Turner was at the hot corner. Could the Blue Jays snap the 2-game skid and escape Tampa Bay with a series split? Here is today's game recap

Game Highlights:

  • The Blue jays took the lead in the top of the 1st as Justin Turner singled scoring George Springer
  • Two batters later, Alejandro Kirk singled home Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 
  • The Rays got one back in the bottom half of the inning as Randy Arozarena belted a solo jack to the opposite field in right-center
  • Shawn Armstrong pitching line: 1IP 3H 2R (1 earned) 1BB 1K 26 pitches (16 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays added a pair of runs in the top of the 2nd as Turner doubled scoring Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Springer)
  • The Blue jays added a run in the top of the 5th as Turner hammered a solo bomb to left
  • Two batters later,  Davis Schneider smacked a 2-run jack to left; also scoring Ernie Clement
  • Kevin Gausman pitching line: 4.1IP 2H 1R (earned) 0BB 6K 69 pitches (48 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 7th on a fielder's choice hit by Clement that scored Turner. Rays SS Jose Caballero was charged with a throwing error on the play
  • Two batters later,  
  • Cavan Biggio singled home Clement
  • The Rays got one back in the bottom of the 9th as Isaac Paredes whacked a solo blast to left
  • Final score: Blue Jays 9 Rays 2

 My Take:

  • Kevin Gausman made his first start of the season 2-3 days later than expected after missing most of spring training with a cranky shoulder. In some ways, pitching him 4th in the rotation could be very advantageous for the Blue Jays since their opponent will likely be running out their 5th starteron the days Gausman starts.  It certainly turned out that way today.  Gausman was solid today, giving up a run on 2 hits while walking none and striking out 6 over 4.1 innings.  He was on a strict pitch limit since he didn't throw for a couple of weeks and wasn't fully stretched out to the 90-100'pitches he'll throw in a typical start.  
  • The bullpen gave up a run on a hit while waking 2 and striking out none in the last 4.2 innings. Mitch White, who threw three shutout innings was credited with the win
  • Justin Turner (Matt Chapman who?) absolutely dominated today's game. He drove in four runs, scored twice and finishes a triple shy of the cycle. Turner is proving there is still some pop in the old bat. 
  • Every Blue Jays starter reached base at least once and all but Daulton Varsho and Vladimir Guerrero Jr had at least one hit
  • The Blue Jays were 4-11 with runners in scoring position
  • Up next,  the Blue Jays head west to start a three game series in Houston as they continue their ten game road trip to start the season as the Blue Jays wind up their t two year renovation project at the Roger's center. The Blue jays edged the Astros 4-3 in the season series last year, but the Astros outscored the Blue Jays 35-22. No doubt the Astros,  who were just swept at home by the mighty Yankees, will be a hungry team. Bowden Francis starts against Astros righty Ronel Blanco.
  • Justin Turner absolutely dominated the game today (Matt Chapman who?) Driving in 4 runs and scoring twice. He's proving early that there's still some pop in that old bat. Maybe Joey Votto will do the same after he recovers from the ankle injury caused by stepping on a loose bat in the dugout after his first and only AB of spring training
  • Every Blue Jays starter reached base at least once and all but Daulton Varsho and Vladimir Guerrero Jr had at least one hit
  • The Blue jays were 4-11 with runners in scoring position
  • Up next,  the Blue Jays continue the 10-game road trip to start the season as the two year renovation project at the Roger's center winds down.  They start a three game set in Houston against the winless Astros, who were just swept at home by the mighty Yankees.  The Blue jays edged the Astros 4-3 in the season series last year,  but he the Astros outscored the Blue Jays 35-22. No doubt the Astros will be hungry, having just been swept by the mighty Yankees. Bowden Frances starts against Astros righty Ronel Franco.

Game #4 Toronto Blue Jays (1-2) @ Tampa Bay Rays (2-1)


Saturday, March 30, 2024

Game #3 - Toronto Blue Jays (1-2) @ Tampa Bay Rays (2-1) - game recap

 

Cavan Biggio drove in the Blue Jays only run in a 5-1 loss to the Rays

After a beat down at the hands of the Rays, who got to Chris Bassitt and took advantage of some shoddy defense, the Blue Jays were looking to retake the series lead in the season opening series. Yusei Kikuchi got the start with backup catcher Brian Serven behind the plate. Daniel Vogelbach got the start at DH and was batting cleanup. Ernie Clement was at tbe hot corner. Could tbe Blue Jays bounce-back after a tough loss? Here is today's game recap. 

Game #3 Toronto Blue Jays (1-1) @ Tampa Bay Rays (1-1)

 

Friday, March 29, 2024

Game #2 - Toronto Blue Jays (1-1) @ Tampa Bay Rays (1-1) - game recap

 

George Springer hit a solo HR in an 8-2 loss to the Rays

After a convincing win over the Rays thanks to a big 6th inning and some solid pitching from Jose Berrios, the Blue Jays were looking to start the season with 2 straight wins. A won would guarantee them a series split in a stadium that has given them trouble in the past.  Chris Bassitt got the start with the Blue Jays fielding the same lineup as opening day yesterday.  Could the Blue Jays make it two straight wins? Here is tonight's game recap. 

Game #2 Toronto Blue Jays (1-0) @ Tampa Bay Rays (0-1)


Thursday, March 28, 2024

Game #1 - Toronto Blue Jays (1-0) @ Tampa Bay Rays (0-1) - game recap

 

Cavan Biggio was 1-2 with 2 runs scored and an RBI in an 8-2 rout over the Rays to open the 2024 season.

At long last, baseball is back! Your Toronto Blue Jays opened the season in their house of horrors, Tropicana Field. Jose Berrios got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate.The Rays edged the Blue Jays in the season series last year, but the Blue Jays outscored the Rays 87-70. Jose Berrios got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Newcomers Justin Turner (served as DH, batted cleanup) and Isaiah Kiner-Falefa (played the hot corner, batted 8th) got their first regular season action in a Blue Jays uniform. Cavan Biggio, who will likely see action at 2B, 3B and RF, got the start at 2B today. Grorge Springer was back in his customary leadoff spot in the lineup. One big change in the lineup saw Bo and Vlad switch spots in the batting order with Vlad batting 2nd and Bo batting 2nd. Could the Blue Jays srart the 2024 season with a win? Here is tonight's game recap.

Game #1 Toronto Blue Jays (0-0) @ Tampa Bay Rays (0-0) Opening Day

 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Ten Random thoughts: a look back at the off-season that was (or not...) and a look ahead to the 2024 MLB season



As the calendar turns to April, the 2024 MLB season kicks off this week. With the return of baseball, comes the return of the 10 random thought posts and in two days the daily game recaps. The 2023 season ended in anticlimactic fashion with the Blue Jays getting shut out 2-0 to the Minnesota Twins after pulling starting pitcher Jose Berrios. Predictably, the Twins immediately scored a pair of runs off of reliever Yusei Kikuchi, who was arguably the Blue Jays comeback player of the year in 2023. The obvious need heading into the off-season was upgrade the offense, which consistently failed to drive in runners in scoring position through the 2023 campaign. This random thoughts post will examine the Blue Jays home run swing at attempt to snag the biggest fish in free agency, Shohei Ohtani, who created a buzz a tweet came out December 12th that the modern day Babe Ruth was on a plane to Toronto to sign a record deal with the Blue Jays. a day later, he announced on his Instagram page that he had instead signed with the LA Dodgers and choose to remain in LA, but more on that later. We'll also look at injury concerns heading into the season and more. Here are ten random thoughts from around the MLB. 

1. As per usual, we will begin this post current injury concerns heading into the season. Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen will begin this season the way he ended last season, rehabbing from a broken bone in his throwing hand. On September 1st last season, Jansen broke a bone in his middle finger of his throwing hand when a pitch was deflected by a batted ball. He missed the rest of the regular season, as well as the two wild card games of the abbreviated postseason. Fast forward six and a half months, and Danny Johnson was back at square one after getting hit by a fastball, breaking the pisiformis bone in his throwing hand. It's incredible how often the Blue Jays catcher finds himself dealing with an injury. He's hit frequently by deflected balls due to his poor positioning of his throwing hand when receiving a pitch. Most catchers are smart enough to position their catching hand behind their back when receiving a pitch, However, Jansen tends to leave his hand exposed. Jansen also does not wear batting gloves when batting, perhaps something that will change after a stint on the shelf after getting hit by a fastball. In his absence, what the Blue Jays are hoping will be relatively short-term, Alejandro Kirk the bulk of the starts with Payton Henry backing him up. The Blue Jays rotation will be a man short with Kevin Gausman expected to miss at least the first turn through the rotation as he ramps back up after he didn't bounce back very well after his first spring training appearance. An MRI show no major structural damage thankfully, but the Blue Jays will certainly be cautious with their ace. Another pitcher who didn't bounce back from his first spring training appearance was Alek Manoah. the Blue Jays right-hander who really needs a strong showing after a disastrous 2023 season where he was demoted twice after several subpar starts. Manoah spent the offseason focusing on his physical fitness as well as revamping his delivery. his spot on the team, never mind the rotation, was something that he had to earn. Now, Bowden Francis has the opportunity to take that spot in the rotation for the season with Manoa likely to start in the minors, once he is healthy of course. Jose Berrios is lined up to get the opening day start with Chris Bassitt, Kikuchi, Francis and newcomer Yariiel Rodriguez to follow. the Blue Jays largely avoided a major core player missing significant time. Closer Jordan Romano is dealing with inflammstion in his throwing elbow. It is hoped that an injection will settle the issue. The backup closer Erik Swanson is dealing with forearm tightness too. Here's hoping both pitchers come  back in a timely manner. Like last season, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and George Springer will get some games as DH. Justin Turner will get the bulk of the Reps as DH, along with potentially Joey Votto, should he make the team. 

2. A major need for the Blue Jays in the off-season to improve the offense. They chose to do so in two different ways: restructuring the coaching staff and through a couple of free agent signings. The inability to score runs was why today's word eliminated from the playoffs. The Blue Jays window to win the World Series will be as short as season with Guerrero Jr and Bichette heading for free agency after the 2025 season. Jansen becomes a free agent after this season. Hitting coach Guillermo Martinez remains in charge of dolphins the offense. Don Mattingly will have an expanded role as offensive coordinator. Minor league coach Matt Hague was promoted assistant hitting coach alongside fellow assistant heading coach Hunter Mense. Veteran 3rd base coach Luis Rivera retired at of the 2023 season and was replaced by Carlos Febles. Some of the runs not scored were due to some poor calls to send or not send baserunners. Bichette was throwing out at home a couple of times late in the season and in the postseason. Guerrero Jr. picked off second base in a key play in the elimination game. There are two thoughts that come to mind with the structuring of the coaching staff. Frst, will the different coaches be on the same page with respect to the strategy for the offense? Second, that's a lot of different opinions that players are going to have to consider when they are at the plate. Third, who is really in charge of hitting? Is it Martinez? Is it Mattingly, the offensive coordinator? Is it John Schneider, manager of the whole team? The past several years, the Blue Jays offense has largely been All or Nothing. they have players who can hit home runs, but they aren't very good at driving in runners when pictures are able to eliminate the home run through their pitch selection. The Blue Jays had one of the highest rates of leaving in scoring position in the first half of last season. They improved over the second half, but they couldn't drive in a run when it counted in fact, the Blue Jays had the bases loaded one out the sixth inning of game 2 of the Wild Card series and a single would have tied the game. Instead, Matt Chapman grounded into an inning-ending double play. In the final inning of the same game, the Blue Jays got a runner on first base with one out and couldn't advance him passed second base. The Blue Jays must change the approach at the plate if they are going to be successful in 2024. There is definite concern that there are no too many cooks in the kitchen with the restructuring of coaching staff. time will tell if the offseason changes improved the offense. 

3. In terms of free agency, the Blue Jays put all their proverbial eggs in one basket, taking run at signing top free agent Shohei Ohtani, who would have how old is the Blue Jays both offense and pitching (in 2025 after he recovers from his second Tommy John surgery. The 2024 free agent class was pretty weak overall with Chapman and Ohtani the clear best players available. things got interesting in mid-December when it was tweeted out Ohtani was on a plane to Toronto. That rumor ended up being false and Ohtani signed the biggest contract the MLB history the next day, with the vast majority of the contract deferred until the final years of the deal. After six seasons of futility with the Angels, Ohtani wanted a change of scenery, but evidently didn't want to venture very far. The Ohtani saga dragged out a couple of months and as a result Blue Jays lost out on a few other strong players who could have improved their lineup, Lourdes Gurriel Jr, Cody Bellinger and Juan Soto among others. They did manage to retain center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who saved a few runs with outstanding defense ;last season. Sidewinder Adam Cimber, third baseman Chapman, and second baseman Whit Merrifield chose to leave as free agents. None of them were happy how last season ended. Chapman in particular, had a public spat in the dugout with manager Schneider, after the Blue Jays chose to pitch to Ohtani in a game against the Angels. The void at third base will be filled by committee with free agent signings Justin Turner and Isaiah Kiner-Falefa getting the bulk of the reps. Veteran utility infielder Cavan Biggio will also get some starts. Turner is coming off a solid season where he batted .276 with 23HR and 96RBI. Kiner-Falefa hit .242 with 6HR and 37RBI. An intriguing minor-league signing two weeks ago was to Canadian Joey Votto, who is in the twilight of his career and is just 25 hits shy of the Canadian MB record for career hits. He would add a left-handed option to the line up and could back up Laddy at first base. The Blue Jays are largely banking on the fact that so many players underperformed. they are hoping that Guerrero Jr bounces back to his 2021 season, had career high numbers and finished 2nd in AL MVP voting. Of course, Guerrero Jr. benefited from playing in minor league ballparks for much of the season with the Blue Jays unable to play in Toronto with covid restrictions. The MLB has to revamp its free agency rules. The Dodgers should not have been able to defer that much money Ohtani's record $700 million dollar deal to avoid the luxury tax and allow them to sign more players. Also, free agency is far too long. The MLB should adopt NFL's rules where teams have 5 days to negotiate with free agents. This makes for a much more robust off-season and it would take away the control the player agents have to drag out the process and manipulate things as happened with the Blue Jays and Ohtani where a rumor was started that had Ohtani on a plane to Toronto only for him to sign in LA after the Dodgers sweetened the deal a bit more. The MLB is the only league without a hard salarry cap. Instead there is a luxury tax that is applied to teams after they go over a certain payroll limit. This creates an environment where teams like Dodgers, Yankees and Padres can sign all the best players and create super teams. 

4. Moving on, Blue Jays fans will be able to enjoy the completed renovations that started at the end of the 2022 season. the first part of the renovations that were completed for the 2023 season focused on changing the outfield dimensions, raising the bullpens and knocking out the 500 level creating fan zones to watch the game. Last season's renovations focused on creating a new 100 level that bring the fand closer to the field (the seats in the new 100 level have adjustable armrests and cup holders). As a result of the renovations, the Blue Jays will begin their regular season on the road with a ten game trip. They will open the home portion of their schedule on April 7th against their expansion cousins Seattle Mariners. 

5. Like there is every year, there are going to be some rule changes MLB this season. One major new rule is the base runner is now going to be considered as being in the base path if they have both feet on the dirt. Up to this season, base runners had to run the last half of the distance between home and first base between the foul line and a 3-foot line drawn on the right hand side of the dirt. This move was made to prevent from blocKing bases. The pitch clock is also seeing a change decreasing from twenty seconds to eighteen seconds with runners on base. Pitchers will also have one less mound visit with the total allowed decreasing from five to four. An extra mound visit will be allotted to the defensive team after the 8th inning if that team is out of mound visits. Pitchers are still able to reset the clock by stepping off twice per plate appearance. Defensive players will be able to for a mound visit without actually visiting the mound. One delay tactic for the pitchers is being removed since the time clock operator will reset the clock after a dead ball and not after the pitcher has climbed the mound. A final rule change for this season is that pitchers warming up in the bullpen for the next inning will be required to phase one batter. Reducing the pitch clock and mound visits is going to be an effective way to decrease the time of games. However, it will not help slow pitchers like Alek Manoah, who struggled mightily to adjust to the pitch clock, and as a result had a disastrous 2023 season. as far as the reduction of mound visits. Not one team has reached the limit of mound visits since mound visits were introduced several seasons ago. A couple of thoughts come to mind with regards to batter limits for pitchers that are warming up in the bullpen. First, if it is a left-handed pitcher warming up in anticipation of facing a left-handed batter, the opposing team is almost certainly going to pull the batter in favor of either a switch hitter or a right-handed batter. Also, what if there are two pitchers warming up in the bullpen. Would it be okay to announce one pitcher into the game, remove them once the other team pinch hits and then use the other pitcher. Both pitchers will surely be ready, so it will not decrease the warm up time or add three minutes to the game. 

6. Is this going to be the last season in the Blue Jays competitive window? if the season really goes off the rails and the Blue Jays are out of contention around the All-Star break, the Blue Jays could explore trading players who will be up for free agency at the end of the 2025 season or even this season. it is going to be important that the team advance past the Wild Card round to show Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. that the team is serious about competing. Blue Jays have some intriguing prospects be ready to join the team full time very soon. David Schneider real promise in his cup of tea last season. Can he repeat what he did after he was called up or was it just a hot streak? Ernie Clement and Nathan Lukes are also viable options will have big league experience. The Blue Jays cut ties with utility man Santiago Espinal, trading him to the Cincinnati Reds for minor league pitcher Chris McEvian after Espinal was clearly out played by Clement and Schneider in spring training this year. Espinal hit .273 with 11HR and 99RBI over 4 seasons with the Blue Jays. Ricky Tiederman is quickly rising through minors and is the Blue Jays top prospect. Guillermo Martinez is likely on a short leash after the disastrous season last year where the Blue Jays struggled mightily with runners in scoring position. The bottom line is the Blue Jays need success now. 

7. Three Blue Jays that need to impress: 
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. -Three years removed from his career high in pretty much every offensive category call, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.will be looking to show that 2022 and 2023 were anomalies and not his true self. Another thing Guerrero Jr. needs to show is that he is serious about the game (and I'm not talking about him fun in the dugout celebrating when good things happen. Guerrero Jr is prone to mental lapses that lead to errors. Case in point, game two of the wild-card series in October. Vlad was picked off second base with one out and the Blue Jays to score a run. He has also had lapses in the field which led to errors that put runners scoring position or worse. free agency is coming up fast for Guerrero Jr. and he's going to want to showcase himself to the league. Should this season goes sideways, it is possible that Guerrero Jr, will be traded at the trade deadline to gain assets as opposed to losing him for basically free in two year's time.
  • Danny Jansen - And now we come to the perennially injured Danny Jansen. Every season it seems like the veteran Blue Jays catcher misses time for one at least one injury (although usually he has more than one stint on the IL). As mentioned above, one major factor in Jansen's unfortunate injury history is where he positions his hand when receiving a pitch. Catcher is the most physically demanding position on the field and catchers do get banged up as the season progresses. However, some of the injuries could be prevented if he would just put his hand behind his back when receiving a pitch. When he is at bat, Jansen also seems to be a magnet for getting hit by a pitch. He also doesn't work batting gloves, which makes him more at risk of getting injured, not only getting hit by a ball. but due to the vibrations of ball hitting bat. When Jansen is healthy, he is amoong the top catchers defensively and can contribute to the offense. Did I forget to mention that Jansen will be a free agent after this season. Are the Blue Jays going to commit to him long-term? Certainly he will be coveted in the offseason by teams looking to upgrade at catcher.
  • Alek Manoah - Finally, there's Alek Manoah. Drafted in the first round of the 2019 amateur draft, Manoah made his big league debut two years later against the Yankees. He was solid in both 2021 (9-2, 3.22ER over 20 starts) and 2022 (16-7, 2.24ERA in 31 starts). Last season was a different story. Manoah came into spring training last year having gained weight in the off-season, and was out of shape. He also had to adapt to some major changes in the rules, in particular the pitch clock and rules around delay tactics. Manoah is among the slowest pitchers to pitch. it seemed that he was rushed a lot of times and as a result he was hitting batters and walking batters. The pitches he did get over the plate often caught too much of the plate and were hit hard. Manoah was demoted twice last season, June 6th to the Florida development league, which is the lowest rank in the minor league system. The thought was to do a Roy Halladay style reset. The Blue Jays deceased ace went through a similar reset after struggling in the higher level. The day before that demotion, Manoah didn't even get out of the first inning and gave up a grand slam home run. A month later after two starts in the minors, neither of which were very good, Manoah was back in the bigs. after 6 more start where Manoah continued to struggle with his command, Manoah was sent back the minors, this time the Triple-A level. He would not throw another pitch and did not report right away to Buffalo. the team also took time to examine him to rule out physical injury impacting his picture. Factors on why Manoah struggled so mightily include adjusting to the pitch clock, his physical fitness, players adjusting to his pitching after facing him for a couple of seasons, and his attitude (Manoah wasn't afraid to trash talk the other players while on the field. Manoah came into spring training visibly in better shape. However, he made only one spring training start due to tightness in his right shoulder. The first appearance wasn't exactly encouraging multiple walks. Maybe starting in the minors might be a good thing for Manoah, build up some confidence against weaker batters. If Bowden Francis throws well to start the season, Manoah may have to wait for an injury before he gets an opportunity for the Blue Jays again.
8. Here are some individual award predictions:
  • AL MVP:  Marcus Semin - he led the league in games played (162), at bats (670), runs (122) and hits (185), Semien also 3rd in RBIs (100) and 12th in home runs (29). Also, Shohei Ohtani is now in the National League.
  • NL MVP: Freddie Freeman - finish third in MVP voting last season and now has better protection line up with Shohei Ohtani, meaning he should see better pitches.
  • AL CY YOUNG: Kevin Gausman - led the league in strikeouts last season and finished third in AL Cy Young voting. With last year's Cy Young winner, Gerritt Cole expected to miss the first month or two of the season with a forearm strain, the competition for the Cy Young Award is wide open.
  • NL CY YOUNG:Spencer Strider - led both leagues in wins (20) and strikeouts (180) and finished 4th in NL Cy Young voting last season. With Blake Snell also likely missing month or so of the season, since he did not sign until March 19th with the San Francisco Giants, unless he has a stellar season, the NL Cy Young Award will likely see a new winner.
  • AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Evan Carter - he made the Texas Rangers late in the season and ended up being on the playoff roster. He looked great in the 23 games played in the regular season last season, batting .306 with 5HR and 12 RBI. He also hit.300 with a home run and 6 RBI in the postseason.
  • NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Yoshinobu Yamamoto - coming over from Japan, Yamamoto Boutique the majors by storm. Sure he had a rough outing in his first regular season start, but he's going to bounce back and dominate.
9. Here are my predictions of who makes the playoffs and the world series winner:
AL EAST DIVISION WINNER: Baltimore Orioles
AL CENTRAL DIVISION WINNER: Minnesota Twins
AL WEST DIVISION WINNER: Texas Rangers
AL WILD CARD TEAMS: Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Guardians
NL EAST DIVISION CHAMPIONS: Atlanta Braves
NL CENTRAL DIVISION WINNER: Milwaukee Brewers
NL WEST DIVISION WINNER: LA Dodgers
NL WILD CARD TEAMS: San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, Philadelphia Phillies
WORLD SERIES WINNER: Dodgers over Rays

10. Blue Jays player of Spring traning: Ernie Clement. Signed as a free agent by the Blue Jays a year ago, Clement was called up a few times in the 2023 season. While he got a few games in his brief stints in the first half of the season and August, he became a regular in the lineup when he was recalled at the end of August. Clemente showed that he had potential be an asset as a utility infielder. He batted .380 with a home run and 10 RBI over 29 games and 50AB last season. In spring training, Clement was outstanding, hitting .380 with 3 HR and 8 RBI. in fact, his play was so good, along with Davis Schneider, that the Blue Jays traded Santiago Espinal to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a minor league pitcher late in spring training.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Friday Night Spanish Guitar (AKA WTFJITH)


 Rejoice! This is the last WTFJITH thread for a while.

So let's go back to where it all began.