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 finished off their nine game homestand with a 10-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles. The Jays finished their homestand 7-2 and head to Boston to kick off a 10 game road trip which includes a four game series in the Bronx against the Yankees, which the Blue Jays hold a game and a half lead over in the AL East. The Blue Jays are also eight games clear of the Minnesota Twins for the final Wild Card spot, but we all know the Jays are only looking at winning the division.
The Blue Jays offence scored 10 or more runs for the 21st time this season, Ben Revere paced the offence going 3 for 5 while scoring three times. Jose Bautista had another big day at the plate going 2 for 3 driving in three runs while scoring three times and belting his 33rd home run of the season. Troy Tulowitzki was only 1 for 5 but that one hit was his fifth home run as a Blue Jay, a two run shot in the third inning to make it a 5-0 game at the time. Kevin Pillar was 1 for 3, with his lone hit being his 10th home run of the season which made it 6-0 and sending Orioles starter Chris Tillman to the showers. Edwin Encarnacion went 2 for 5 getting his first hit since his hitting streak ended on Tuesday night. Josh Donaldson was 2 for 3 while driving in a pair of runs on the day. Dioner Navarro was 2 for 4 on the day and did a masterful job working with Marco Estrada as he didn’t best stuff but still managed to only allow a pair of runs over five innings.
Estrada walking four batters today, like I said in the Good column he was able to gut out five innings without breaking or giving up the lead. LaTroy Hawkins allowed a run on two hits and a walk. Roberto Osuna came on in a non save situation in the ninth and for the second straight outing allowed a home run, I guess with a seven run lead a run or two wasn’t going to hurt and the main thing a manager and pitching coach want to see from a pitcher with a big lead is pound the strike zone which Osuna did throwing 10 of 14 pitches for strikes.
The Tampa Bay Rays with Chris Archer on the mound blowing a 3-0 lead and dropping a 6-4 decision to the Yankees, It would have been nice to head out on the road trip up two and a half games.
Of all the possible Blue Jays to play hero, perhaps the least likeliest would be Ryan Goins. Goins hit a walk-off two run homerun in the bottom of the tenth inning to give the Blue Jays a 5-3 victory keeping them a game and a half ahead of the Yankees. The Blue Jays will finish off their three game series with the Indians Wednesday night sending R.A Dickey to the mound to face the Tribe’s Trevor Bauer.
What more can be said about the second half that Ryan Goins has had? If you had told me in April that he would be hitting a walk-off bomb to win a big game in a pennant race in September I would have told you that you’re crazy. Yes it’s been that type of run for this team in the second half of the season. Goins did extend his career high hitting streak to 11 games. Goins also made a Roberto Alomar type play making a tremendous diving grab in foul territory in the second inning. Dalton Pompey who made his return to the big club was the main reason the Jays got their third run in the bottom of the seventh, pinch running for Justin Smoak, he didn’t waste any time stealing second, and then stealing third and scoring on Kevin Pillar’s sac-fly. Marco Estrada was great again, going seven strong innings allowing two runs which were both home runs. Brett Cecil had another scoreless outing, which was his 23rd straight which is two of the franchise record which is held by Cecil.
Despite a walk and a sac-fly Edwin Encarnacion’s hit streak came to an end at 26 games which falls two games short of the franchise record held by Shawn Green. Roberto Osuna blew only his second save of the year allowing a home run to ex Jay Yan Gomes. Dioner Navarro who finally got a hit in the tenth inning, but he had some ugly at bats earlier in the game, in the seventh inning after Smoak had walked Navarro flew out on the first pitch of the at bat. it wouldn’t have killed him to take a pitch or two in that at bat.
Josh Donaldson bunting in the third inning, he’s a power hitter he should be trying to drive the ball not bunting. Fans at the Dome doing the Wave, it’s seriously time to kill the wave. The Dome is the only ball park that I’ve seen it at and there really is no reason for it. We’re in a pennant race pay attention to the game not do the wave.
Marco Estrada deserved a better fate than what he got on Thursday. Estrada pitched six innings of one run ball giving the Blue Jays every chance to stay in the game. It went for naught as the Jays stranded the tying run on third in the sixth and seventh innings before Liam Hendricks came in and had his worst outing of the year with some help from Jose Bautista who over ran a ground ball and resulting in a 3 base error which at the time turned a 1-0 deficit into a 4-0 hole that proved too much for the Blue Jays to climb back from.
The Blue Jays did get on the board in the eighth as Edwin Encarnacion doubled home Jose Bautista for the lone Jays run and ran his hitting streak to 22 games. The Jays were an out away from bringing the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Rangers Closer Shawn Tolleson was able to get Troy Tulowitzki to line out to short with Ryan Goins at third base to end the game.
If some one had told me at the beginning of this road trip that the Jays would win 6 of 8, with six of those games against teams in the second wildcard spot I would have gladly signed up for it. So despite today’s setback the road trip was a successful one considering how the Jays usually fare on these Western road swings.
With the road trip out of the way, the Blue Jays will open up a nine game homestand Friday night against the Tigers who will send former Blue Jay Matt Boyd to the mound while the Blue Jays will counter with R.A Dickey. Drew Hutchison will make his return to the Blue Jays rotation on Saturday, and Mark Buehrle goes Sunday afternoon. The Tigers starters for the weekend will be Buck Farmer on Saturday and Alfredo Simon on Sunday. To be totally honest I really like the match-ups for the Blue Jays in this series.
As for the rest of the homestand the Jays will host Cleveland starting Monday night and then after an off-day on Thursday the Orioles come into town for Labour Day weekend.
Lastly if you’re into the magic numbers in the pennant races, The Blue Jays who are up a game and half on the Yankees for top spot in the East now have a Magic Number of 35 for the Division, and for a playoff spot the Magic Number stands at 30. The Blue Jays are six games clear of both Minnesota and the Los Angeles Angels who both sit at a half game back of the second wild card spot which is held by Texas.
The Blue Jays avoided arbitration with pitcher Brett Cecil on Thursday signing the left-hander to a one-year 2.475 million deal. The Blue Jays still have four players that are arbitration eligible, Danny Valencia, Marco Estrada, Josh Donaldson and Micheal Saunders. The deadline for arbitration is noon on Friday, and even if the Jays don’t reach agreements with all four by tomorrow’s deadline they could still reach agreements ahead of the arbitration hearings February 2nd to the 20th. The last time the Blue Jays actually went to an arbitration hearing with a player was in 1997 with Bill Risley.
The Blue Jays also signed Outfielder Andy Dirks to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. Dirks was claimed off waivers early in the off-season but was non-tendered in December. Dirks could be in the mix for the fourth outfield spot with Kevin Pillar looking for a spot on the Opening Day roster as well. In three seasons in Detroit Dirks batted .276 with a .332 OBP and a .413 slugging percentage.
With new turf going in before the start of the season, The Blue Jays and the Rogers Centre used this past weekend’s coaches clinic as the final farewell for the old turf. Having taken part in the past two clinics on the turf it doesn’t take long before it feels like your walking on cement. Here’s hoping the new turf is a heck of a lot softer than the old turf was and hopefully won’t look as atrocious as the old turf did.
LATEST ON DUQUETTE
Buster Olney had some interesting tweets today about the Blue Jays’ pursuit of Baltimore GM Dan Duquette.
Interesting that the point man on the Blue Jays end is Ed Rogers who has an ownership stake but since Guy Laurence took over as CEO hasn’t had a role on the Rogers board, which makes me wonder just how much clout he has within Rogers. To have gotten to this point it would seem to me that Ed Rogers has a helluva lot of clout. The biggest thing that scares me is the compensation that Orioles owner Peter Angelos is asking for is too rich for a guy who has never actually been a president of a baseball team before. Ken Rosenthal was on Prime Time Sports on Thursday night and said at this point it would seem that it’s 100 percent that Duquette ends up as President of the Blue Jays.
It should also be said that Rogers has really dropped the ball in this whole ordeal, to let Paul Beeston twist in the wind the way they have is just flat out wrong. For all that Beeston has done for the Blue Jays he deserves better than what he’s gotten since the end of the season.