A little less than 36 hours after Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins swapped Ben Revere for Drew Storen, Adkins made an appearance on MLB Network Radio’s Front Office show Sunday morning and had some interesting things to say about the futures of both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Atkins says that he has met with Encarnacion and plans to meet with Bautista within the next week. He also added that he wants to extend both Bautista and Encarnacion but haven’t made them any offers. Can’t say I’m overly surprised that Atkins would say that because he wouldn’t be winning himself any favors with the fan base, who seem to have been out for blood after a rather quiet off-season, I will consider this news when it comes out that offers are actually being offered across the table to them.
We still don’t totally know whether Aaron Sanchez will be back in the bullpen or used in the rotation as Atkins said that they want to be flexible and not paint themselves into a corner just in case of depth issues. He also didn’t commit to either Roberto Osuna or Storen as the Blue Jays’ closer when the season starts.
When it came to the R.A Dickey trade rumors that started to surface after the Storen trade late Friday night Atkins said that while they are willing to listen on anyone, they are not actively shopping Dickey. I would hope if they were that Dickey’s personal
caddy catcher Josh Thole goes with him, in a related note, Buster Olney (subscriber only) believes that he doubts the Jays would get an offer that would be good enough, claiming that there are better options out there in the Free Agency/trade market for starting pitching. Although according to a Jeff Blair tweet late Friday night it seems like there is interest in Dickey. I would find it really hard to fathom that the Blue Jays would be shopping Dickey with the shape of their starting rotation, the thought of letting a guy who pitches 200 innings get away almost seems absurd. For what Dickey makes compared to what the going rate is for starting pitching right now it’s almost safe to say that his deal is a bargain for the Blue Jays. I guess time will tell if there is anything more to this story other than rumor.
To end off our weekend roundup, Blue Jays play-by-play man Buck Martinez is releasing his newest book called “Change Up: How to Make the Great Game of Baseball Even Better” It is published by Harper Collins and due out March 15th. The book is described as;
In the spirit of Moneyball, the voice of the Toronto Blue Jays offers cutting insights on baseball
Buck Martinez has been in and around professional baseball for nearly fifty years as a player, manager and broadcaster. Currently the play-by-play announcer for the Toronto Blue Jays, Martinez has witnessed enormous change in the game he loves, as it has morphed from a grassroots pastime to big business. Not all of the change has been for the better, and today’s fans struggle to connect to their on-the-field heroes as loyalty to club and player wavers and free agency constantly changes the face of every team’s roster.
In Change Up, Martinez offers his unique insights into how Major League Baseball might reconnect with its fanbase, how the clubs might train and prepare their players for their time in “The Show,” and how players might approach the sport in a time of sagging fan interest. Martinez isn’t shy with his opinions, whether they be on pitch count, how to develop players through the minor-league system, and even if there should be a minor-league system at all. Always entertaining, ever insightful, Martinez shares brilliant insights and inside pitches about summer’s favourite game.
Well, that felt like a kick in the gut.
These emotions go along with the time of year, it’s what happens in a pennant race. You win some, you lose some. It’s all apart of the process, enjoy it for what it is because for the last 22 years you weren’t able to say that the Blue Jays were in a pennant race.
The biggest thing is how does a team and more importantly Roberto Osuna and Aaron Sanchez bounce back from this. Sanchez who suffered the loss in Tuesday nights game pitched a scoreless inning in last nights game, so take from it what you will. Osuna, who bounced back nicely from blowing a save at the end of August, and had looked really good his last few outings should be fine as well. Remember, he has pitched in many big spots and has come up big. It’s one game, better they have a game like this now instead of against the Yankees or in a playoff game.
The other thing to take away from the loss was the fight to the end that the Blue Jays put up. It would have been easy to throw in the towel but thanks to a Jose Bautista two run homer and a Matt Hague pinch hit double hit to the deepest part of the ball park the Blue Jays had the tying run in scoring position at the end of the game.
Really like the way John Gibbons managed the game today, yeah it didn’t work out but sometimes that is going to happen. Although maybe next time he brings Sanchez in to a game maybe the bases should be empty, Sanchez hasn’t done a great job of stranding inherited runners. Some of the comments I read after the game about Gibby from the so called Bandwagon fans were annoying, some calling for Gibby’s head.
I suppose a game like this points out the lack of another left handed pitcher that can be used in a high leverage spot. It would have been nice if Gibby could have gone to a left hander to face David Ortiz in the ninth inning instead of using Sanchez there. But when your only left handed options are Aaron Loup and Jeff Francis in that spot then you stick with Sanchez. Remember Sanchez is a young pitcher and as he gains experience he will only get better. I still think he is better served being used out of the bullpen than in the rotation, I said it last winter and I’m still sticking to that statement now.
Lastly, to all the fans that were overreacting to the loss today, relax, it’s one game. It’s late in September and the Jays are up 3.5 in the AL East and have a magic number of six! And this team is a ton of fun to watch as well.
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.
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.
The Blue Jays kicked off their nine game homestand with a 5-3 win. The win moves the Blue Jays back to 16 games above 500 at 72-56. The Jays send Drew Hutchison to the mound tomorrow afternoon to face the Tigers Buck Farmer. The Blue Jays optioned Josh Thole to single A Bluefield after the game to make room on the roster for Hutchison. The reason Thole was sent to Bluefield was because their season ends September 1st and he can be called back up once their season ends.
Edwin Encarnacion was 1 for 2 with a pair of walks to extend his hitting streak to 23 games. Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson sparked the Blue Jays offence with back-to-back homers in the fourth inning, Jose Bautista added his 31st home run in the fifth inning. Kevin Pillar was 2 for 4 and had a stolen base. Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Smoak teamed up on one of the best plays of the night as Tulowitzki fielded an Ian Kinsler ground ball deep in the hole in short and was able to make a throw to first that Smoak made a great pick to record the first out of the eighth inning. Speaking of the eighth inning Aaron Sanchez only needed five pitches to retire the meat of the Tigers order, Roberto Osuna followed that up by striking out the side in the ninth inning. R.A Dickey had a good bounce back effort tonight pitching into the seventh allowing three runs both of which came via the long ball.
Chris Collabello was 0 for 4 with a pair of strikeouts, Josh Thole was the only other Blue Jays starter that didn’t record a hit.
When the team is rolling the way they have, well, it doesn’t give much ugliness to write about. However, there are some that keep wanting to see Tulo dropped from the lead-off spot in favour of Ben Revere, I may be in the vocal minority of leaving Tulo in the leadoff spot because I believe your better off to have your best hitters at the top of the line-up to give them more at bats and as it unfolded on Tuesday night in Texas it gets the top of the order up when it matters in the ninth inning. Sure, Tulo has had his struggles to start his time in Toronto but once he heats up it’ll make the top of the Blue Jays line-up even more dangerous.
The Blue Jays finished off a weekend sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a 12-5 win. The win puts Toronto in first place in the AL East a half game ahead of the Yankees who lost to Cleveland on Sunday 4-3. The Blue Jays finish off their eight game road trip with a three game series in Texas starting Tuesday night.
The offence all weekend was on fire as they set a new franchise record for runs scored in a three game series with 36. The 2-3-4 of Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion were 9-15 in the game. Bautista and Encarnacion also added back to back home runs in the fourth inning. Encarnacion has extended his hitting streak now to 20 games. Troy Tulowitzki had a pair of hits on the afternoon and hopefully it’s the start of Tulo starting to get the bat going. Ben Revere had another great day at the plate as well as he had a pair of hits, giving him seven for the weekend. Kevin Pillar also added three hits on the day. The Bullpen did their usual bang up job today as Brett Cecil, Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna with the latter striking out the side to end the game in the ninth. Troy Tulowitzki’s heads up play on David Murphy’s double, keeping the tag on Murphy as his feet lost contact with the base, the safe call that was made on the field was overturned on replay, turning the double into a single.
R.A Dickey’s first inning was, well, awful as he got touched up for six hits and five runs in the first inning and for a time looked like he may not survive the inning as the bullpen was warming up. Once he got out of the first inning he was excellent as he was able to give the Blue Jays five shutout innings the rest of the way. Josh Thole was 0 for 3 in his return to the big leagues, with the Jays now carrying three catchers on the rosters Thole will probably on catch on days when Dickey is pitching chances of Thole getting any kind of regular at bats will be slim so I don’t expect much from his bat.
The only ugly today was the Angels defence which looked bad all weekend and I would imagine drove Angels Manager Mike Scioscia nuts.