Greetings, Jays fans! Week two was a success as the Blue Jays finished with a respectable, if not surprising 6-4 record to remain “in the hunt” for a wild card position. It’s a bit early in the season to be thinking playoffs, so let’s press pause on discussing where the Jays fit into the grand scheme of playoff bids for now. Here were the standings as of April 9th:
Once again, it is very early in the season, but to be above the Yankees is a testament to how clutch the late inning hitting has been for the Blue Jays so far. How good are they, you ask? Here’s an infographic that shows that as of the Jays’ 4/13 game, they were the best in the business:
That is so some good company to be in, given the outstanding start the Angels have had to date. Let’s see how the Jays fared in week three of the MLB season.
Game Eleven: Beatdown in Baltimore
Ah, yes. That other bird team in the American League East. The one we did this to:
Or maybe Buck Showalter did to his own team. We’ll never know beyond what happened, which was a thrilling Blue Jay victory in front of an electric home crowd.
If I’m living in the past too much, let’s talk about the present. Specifically, the contest on 4/9 where the Toronto Blue Jays hammered the Baltimore Orioles 7-1 thanks largely to some excellent pitching from J.A. Happ and a five-run ninth inning that must have stung after a very competitive pitching duel.
That grand slam probably caused a lot of televisions to turn off abruptly. The Toronto bullpen was excellent, giving up four hits and zero runs across three innings, which meant there was no need for Roberto Osuna in the ninth with that lead. It’s nice to have confidence any member of your bullpen can go out and close out a game…right, Buck?
Game Twelve: Pitching Matters
This was another remarkable duel between two pitchers hitting their stride. Aaron Sanchez went eight innings, giving up just three hits, five walks (yikes) and one earned run for the 2-1 win. His competitor for this game, Andrew Cashner, was technically better than Sanchez, going seven deep while giving up four hits, three walks, and zero runs. Once again, the bullpen let Baltimore down. The Jays got solid pitching of their own as well as clutch hitting. Curtis Granderson smacked a ninth-inning home run that was just too sweet for words.
The no-hitter attempt for Sanchez went all the way to the eighth inning. Osuna came out and continued his 0.00 ERA season with another save. Yet another series goes by in 2018 and the Jays win another one.
Game Thirteen: Don’t Get Cocky
The magical late inning hitting ran out as the Orioles manage to hold on to a win in a tight 5-3 affair. Marco Estrada did not fare well in this game, only making it to four innings before getting yanked. For whatever reason, the walks keep piling up for the Jays and Estrada’s six hits allowed didn’t help matters. Kevin Gausman didn’t look much better for Baltimore, but he was good enough to get the win as the Orioles bullpen got it right for once.
Thus concludes the first series between the Jays and their third most relevant rival in the AL East. Getting the series win is great, but I would have been happier with the sweep to really push the point that the Jays are good.
Game Fourteen: Cleveland Rocked
Friday the 13th proved very unlucky for the Cleveland Indians as the Jays came to town and hammered their pitchers, doubling up on them 8-4. Marcus Stroman was again bad, giving up four runs in five innings. Danny Barnes got the win and Roberto Osuna continued his zero ERA season in a non-save situation. Teoscar Hernandez hopped into the lineup with ease with two hits and two RBIs. Aledmys Diaz was also great, belting a home run in a three RBI effort.
The win comes on the down note that third baseman and all around Superman Josh Donaldson was placed on the 10 day Disabled List retro to April 11th. Solarte will step in as third baseman while the Bringer of Rain heals up an arm that’s been giving him trouble since spring training. As tough as this new is, the Jays did get a little bit of relief as the week continued…
Game Fifteen: Cancelled
No game due to poor weather.
Game Sixteen: Cancelled Part Two
Again? Two in one series? I guess this means the Jays once again finish the week without having lost a series. These two games were bumped to a doubleheader on May 3rd, smack dab in the middle of a set between the surging Twins and the hapless Rays. On one hand, I’d have preferred that not happen because it’s a lot of games in a row and their next day off would be May 7th. On the other hand, every game they don’t have to play with Donaldson on the DL is a good thing.
The Donaldson injury sucks and apparently so does Marcus Stroman so far this season. Going 3-1 for the week with two cancellations does not. The standings look promising in this very young season. Let’s have a gander:
Wow. The Red Sox are certainly looking like the team to beat so far, but you can’t say you expected the Jays and Yankees to be where they are. Timely hitting and a strong bullpen are keeping the Jays competitive in a month where they traditionally struggle. Some of the players on the team (Stroman, Grichuk, Travis, Martin) are struggling tremendously at one component of their jobs, but hitting is coming from the new additions (Diaz, Solarte) to make up for their woes. Next week should be interesting with a three game set at home against a terrible Kansas City team and a four game road trip to Yankee Stadium. Ideally, the Jays sweep the Royals and split a very difficult road set with the Yankees to finish the week 5-2. Can they do it? See you on the field!