Marcus Stroman made his highly anticipated home debut tonight and didn’t disappoint as he allowed a run on six hits in seven innings of work he walked a batter while striking out three. In the inning that the Red Sox did score their run they had two bloop hits and infield single and a sac-fly so it’s not like they had hard hit balls that led to their lone run. The defense behind Stroman tonight was once again top notch as they turned 2 double plays to get out of innings and the only blip on the night defensively was a Justin Smoak error on a ground ball.
The crowd tonight was electric and was just as loud as they were for David Price’s debut start with the Jays last month. Honestly though the crowds have been amazing the last month and a half and with the Blue Jays magic number to clinch a playoff spot down to seven I can only imagine what the crowd reaction will be when they do clinch a playoff spot during the homestand.
The Blue Jay bats didn’t hit a home run tonight which is hasn’t happened much this season, they did however pounce on Red Sox mistakes. With a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, Edwin Encarnacion hit what should have been a double play to third baseman Brock Holt. Holt had the ball go off his glove and go into left field. The next batter Justin Smoak would hit a two run double and Ryan Goins would bring Smaok in when he hit a triple making it a 4-0 game.
Perhaps one of Alex Anthopoulos most important acquisitions wasn’t made at the deadline. Cliff Pennington was picked up during the Blue Jays early August series in New York and ever since he’s been a Blue Jay he has come up with great defence and some timely clutch hitting and more importantly professional at bats. Pennington in his first plate appearance had a sac bunt up the third baseline allowing Kevin Pillar to advance to third base, and in his at bat in the sixth inning he hit a sac-fly to score Ryan Goins with the Blue Jays sixth run. What’s been even more impressive is how he has contributed to the line-up playing everyday while Troy Tulowitzki is out.
John Gibbons used Aaron Sanchez in the ninth inning with a five run lead, it did seem like an odd move to use your set up man in that spot but I do kind of see the reasoning behind the move. Much like using Roberto Osuna in the ninth last night in Atlanta, Gibby probably wanted to get Sanchez some work since he hadn’t pitched since Tuesday’s loss in Atlanta. And if they need to go to someone in then pen tomorrow to set-up they could again use Sanchez or use Mark Lowe, who has been seeing more outings in higher leverage spots in which he has passed with flying colours.
The Blue Jays finished off their 10 game road trip with a 5-0 win in Atlanta, with the win the Jays extend their lead to three and a half over the Yankees. The Blue Jays start their final homestand of the regular season tomorrow night as they host the Boston Red Sox. Marcus Stroman will make his Rogers Centre debut while the Red Sox will send Rick Porcello to the mound.
Marco Estrada was brilliant tonight throwing eight shutout innings allowing three hits walking two while striking out four. Roberto Osuna finished it up with a scoreless ninth inning, it was his first appearance since the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader in the Bronx. Cliff Pennington had himself a night with a 2 for 4 night which included a three run home run in the Blue Jays four run fourth inning. Edwin Encarnacion joined the Blue Jays 30-100 club with a solo homer in the fourth inning, it was his 33rd home run of the season and it gave him 100 RBI on the year. Dioner Navarro and Ryan Goins had a pair of hits on the evening, Navarro’s one hit was a double that would have been a home run in most parks. Josh Donaldson, who had been struggling at the plate, hit home run number 39 on the season in the ninth inning.
The top of the Blue Jays line-up went 1 for 12 on the night, Jose Bautista had a pair of walks and Ben Revere led the game off with a walk. Kevin Pillar was the only other Blue Jay not to join the hit club.
I got nothing. It was one of those games. Although I suppose the mostly empty stands created for one helluva quiet listless ballpark. I can’t wait to see the Blue Jays back at the Rogers Centre in front of a sold out stadium.
The Blue Jays snapped their two game losing slide with a big win in Atlanta on Wednesday night. The Blue Jays lead in the AL East remains at three games and the Blue Jays will have a chance to extend that lead to three and a half games tonight as the Blue Jays close out a ten game road trip in Atlanta. Marco Estrada will take the ball for the Blue Jays as the Braves counter with Matt Wisler.
The offence looked much better on Wednesday night as Edwin Encarnacion made his successful return to the lineup by going 3 for 3 with a pair of walks. Russ Martin was 2 for 5 on the night and drove in four runs one of the hits was Martin’s 20th homer of the season. Ben Revere was 2 for 4 with a pair of runs batted it, Kevin Pillar also had a pair of hits on the evening. David Price was great once again as he allowed one run on six hits in seven innings work while allowing three walks and striking out nine picking up his 16th win of the season. Ryan Goins was 1 for 2 on the night but once again his defence stood out as he made a couple of great plays in the field. The first play was a play he made on a ball that was deep in the hole and he did his best Derek Jeter impression by making a strong throw to get the runner at first. The second play was a heads up throw to third on a play where Cliff Pennington missed making the catch on a ball hit to shallow right, Pennington made a heads up throw to Goins at second to get the runner going into second and then Goins made a great throw to third where Josh Donaldson made the tag on the runner, it was one of the more strange double plays one will see.
Pennington and Price were the only Blue Jays starters not to record a hit on the night. Aaron Loup walked the only batter he faced in the bottom of the eighth inning, it’s probably not the best thing in the world to do for a pitcher trying to play himself onto a potential playoff roster to be walking guys with a six run lead.
It’s surprising to me that in the year 2015 that the Braves still play their “Chop” chant during their games. There was a lot of people on twitter surprised that they would continually play it during the game and quite frankly I was surprised that it got as much play as it did.
That didn’t exactly go as planned, but thanks to old friend J.P Arencibia and his Tampa Bay teammates the Blue Jays still have their three game lead atop of the AL East. The Blue Jays magic number stands at 16. The Blue Jays continue their three game set with the Braves Wednesday night as they send David Price to the mound, the Braves counter with Shelby Miller.
Mark Buehrle who had struggled in his last outing in Boston, had a Buerhle like outing allowing two runs, only one earned, in five innings. He allowed six hits and worked in and out of trouble a few times during the night. Justin Smoak hit his 16th home run on the season which tied the game in the fifth inning. Cliff Penington had himself another great night at the plate going 2 for 3 with a walk. The bullpen was great yet again, Brett Cecil had another excellent outing tossing a scoreless inning striking out a pair of hitters. Mark Lowe worked a scoreless seventh inning. The Blue Jays defence had a good night for the most part as they were able to turn four double plays on the night.
John Gibbons made some head scratching moves, the first one was having Ryan Goins face a lefty in the top of the eighth inning, at the time it seemed off, and it was made to look even worse when he was taken out in the bottom of the eighth in a double switch for Darwin Barney. I’m not going to kill Gibby for going to Aaron Sanchez for a second inning, at the time it seemed like a good move at the time, but after having it blow up on the Blue Jays the last two times they’ve tried it, I wouldn’t try going back to Sanchez for two innings anytime soon. I’m also not going to kill Gibby for not walking Simmons in the ninth, with Bourn due up it would have been a tough chore to double him up, and there is no guarantee he keeps the ball in the infield to have a shot at getting the runner at home. Smoak, who has been great defensively at first, didn’t have such a great night he made an error in the third which led to a Braves run and then couldn’t come up with the scoop on a throw from Barney in the ninth.
The top three hitters in the Blue Jays lineup went 0 for 13. The Jays also failed to get a hit off of the Braves bullpen which is the 30th best bullpen in Baseball. Here is a worrying stat about Aaron Sanchez, after tonight’s game in his last 106 pitched thrown he has only had two swinging strikes. I know that his command is off at times but he needs to trust his stuff a little more and start locating his fastball and stop falling in love with his breaking pitches.
The Blue Jays had to go ten innings but in the end they were victorious with a 5-1 win in Boston. The Blue Jays, thanks to the Yankees loss to Baltimore, upped their lead in the AL East to a game and a half over the Yankees. The Blue Jays play the rubber match of this three game set Wednesday night as they send Drew Hutchison to the mound to face the Red Sox Joe Kelly.
Josh Donaldson, who again continues to solidify his case for American League MVP came up big when the Blue Jays needed him to hitting a lead off triple, which everyone but the replay officials in New York thought was a home run. in the top of the tenth inning, Troy Tulowitzki drove in Donaldson on a single, making up for his strikeout in the top of the eighth inning when the Jays had runners in scoring position. Tulo ended up with a pair of hits on the evening. Chris Collabello was 2 for 4 including a RBI single in the tenth inning which made the game 3-1. Edwin Encarnacion was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning making it his 38th straight game that he has reached base safely tying the franchise record held by Jose Bautista and Carlos Delgado. The Blue Jays got superb pitching tonight, R.A Dickey had a great outing going six strong innings only allowing a Travis Shaw home run in the second inning. Brett Cecil faced four batters and struck out three of them, it was his 25th straight scoreless appearance which tied his own club record he set back in 2013. Mark Lowe followed up and got the final two out in the eighth. Aaron Sanchez worked around a David Ortiz walk in the ninth to record a scoreless ninth. Sanchez got some help when pinch runner Rusney Castillo was gunned out trying to steal second base for the second out of the inning. Roberto Osuna pitched a scoreless tenth inning to finish it up.
Cliff Penington was 0 for 5 and amazingly wasn’t pinch hit for when he came up in the ninth inning, not sure John Gibbons reason for not doing it, but really, you can’t have Cliff Pennington bat in a tie game late. Jose Bautista was 0 for 4 tonight but he did draw a walk. Josh Thole was hitless in a pair of at bats, but the only reason he is on the team is to be R.A Dickey’s personal catcher so I really don’t expect much from his bat. The review in the tenth on what should have been a Donaldson homer, it took forever, but really the Red Sox watched the replay of the Donaldson slide at third for damn near five minutes and still challenged?
Prior to the tenth inning the Blue Jays couldn’t buy a hit with runners in scoring position, it wasn’t for lack of chances as they were 0 for 12 entering the tenth inning. They recorded two in the tenth to finsh 2 for 15 on the night. It sure wasn’t pretty but the Blue Jays will take it.