Tigers Pounce on Jays, End Consecutive Streaks

DETROIT, MI - JUNE 7: Russell Martin #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays gets caught leading off third base as Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Detroit Tigers makes the throw to third baseman Nick Castellanos #9 during the sixth inning of the game on June 7, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

                        (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Heading into the weekday series against the Detroit Tigers, the Toronto Blue Jays were looking to continue their streak of consecutive series won. The Jays have won 5 pervious series, and on Monday, they would send J.A. Happ to the mound in hopes of starting off the three game set with a victory. The Tigers would send Michael Fulmer to the hump in attempts to get the first win on their side at Comerica Park.

Things would get started off early for the Tigers ad they managed to score four runs in the bottom of the second inning, as James McCann would get the ball rolling. After Nick Castellanos and Justin Upton got on base, McCann would homer on a 1-2 count. Followed shortly after, Ian Kinsler would single to left, then move to second on a balk by Happ. After a passed ball, which would move him to third, Happ would throw a wild pitch scoring Kinsler. After just five innings of work and six earned runs batted in, Happ would be pulled in relief of Gavin Floyd. Floyd would let in three runs of his own in the sixth, and in the eighth, Storen would allow two, making Monday night’s game a blowout one for the Jays, as the blue birds would lose 11-0.

On Tuesday, and in this second game of the series, the Jays would look to rebound as they would look upon Aaron Sánchez to have another stellar performance and be in search of his sixth win of the year. Facing off against the Jays on the hill would be former Blue Jay, Matt Boyd. It was a much smaller affair of hits for the Tigers as the Jays would score first, but not until the fifth. The earned run would be brought upon center fielder Kevin Pillar. Looking ahead to the seventh inning, Pillar would be the help they needed once again, as he would score the second run off a fielder’s choice. Just three batters away from a win, Roberto Osuna would come in as relief, and would find himself in a bit of trouble as he would allow the Tigers to score a couple of runs, tying the game that would send this one into extras. In the tenth, Joe Biagini would give up a single to Justin Upton, and after a single to left, Upton would score, taking game two of the series, and just one game away from a sweep. Throughout the game though, the story wasn’t the runs or the lack of, but it would be on the Jays Sánchez. In just his tenth pitching performance of the 2016 year, the young right hander would see himself going 8IP, giving up only 2ER, walking 1, and striking out a season high 12.

The Jays would now find themselves staring a sweep down the tunnel. R.A. Dickey would be the man the Jays would be looking at to shut down the tigers and salvage a win before heading home to face off against the Baltimore Orioles. Jordan Zimmerman would be the man for the Tigers, as he had hopes of helping his team get a sweep. Both clubs would score a pair of runs to start off the game. Justin Smoak and Nick Castellanos would both hit home runs respectively, helping their clubs. Entering the third inning, the bats would start to come alive for the Blue Jays as Josh Donaldson would hit a three run home run scoring Josh Thole and Jose Bautista, now making it a 5-2 ballgame. Two more runs would score in the top of the fifth, and that’s all that would take place as the Jays would salvage their much needed win. Dickey would wind up going 5.1IP, giving up only 2ER while Zimmerman went 4.2IP giving up all 7ER.

The Blue Jays 32-39 will now head back home to Toronto to get ready for a four game match-up against the Orioles. Marcus Stroman (5-2) will start Thursday evening as his counterpart will be Tyler Wilson (2-5). The home town club of Toronto will look to continue their winning streak and get back on pace to winning series.

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Estrada Keeps Jays Playoff Hopes Alive

during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 21, 2015 in Toronto, Canada.

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Jays would see themselves with their backs against the wall once again. The Toronto ball club would be looking to get into the Kansas City Royals team who have been so dominate this post-season and force a game six back at Kauffman Stadium. Marco Estrada would be sent to the hill in hopes of keeping the season alive; as it would be a rematch of game one, Edinson Volquez would be sent out for the Royals.

In the second inning, Chris Colabello would help get the ball rolling, as he would launch a shot into left center field to strike first, making it a 1-0 game. Marco Estrada would do his part defensively sitting down the first nine batters he faced. He would start the nine batters by sitting down Alcides Escobar who would not reach base in the first inning for the first time in five games. In the sixth, after Revere and Donaldson would reach base safely, Bautista would battle Volquez through ten pitches, but would ultimately walk loading them for Edwin Encarnacion. Volquez would continue the trend by walking Encarnacion making it a 2-0 game.

Volquez would get pulled as Kelvin Herrera came in as relief. Troy Tulowitzki would make Herrera pay. Tulowitzki would crank a double to center field scoring all three runners on base, now a 5-0 contest. Tulo would set franchise history with the double as he now leads the Jays in RBI’s during the ALCS with 7. Candy Maldonado (6, 1992) and Paul Molitor (5, 1993) follow behind.

In the last six games when the Jays have scored five or more runs, they have won all six of those match-ups. Heading into the eighth, Estrada would still be on the mound, which would help with Toronto’s already depleted bullpen. He would only give up 1 hit through the first six innings. However, Estrada would give up a home run to Salvador Perez in the top of the eighth, and then followed by a single. That would wind up being the end of Estrada’s night. When Gibbons came to take the ball, you could read his lips saying wow. He was truly amazed with his performance in this crucial match-up. “He’s a master at what he does” Gibbons said about Estrada. “The fans game me all the energy I needed. We’re not done” said Estrada on the fan support from the over 49,000 blue jays faithful. Estrada would end up going 7.2IP, giving up only three hits, while striking out five.

In the end, the Jays would go on to win 7-1 over the Royals, forcing a game six Friday night in Kansas City. Tonight would be the fourth elimination game the Jays have won and they hope to continue that trend. David Price will take the hill in what we will see as a game two rematch as Yordano Ventura will be sent to the rubber for the Royals.

Jays Fall To Royals, Face Elimination

during game four of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 20, 2015 in Toronto, Canada.

                     Harry How/Getty Images

Things got off to a rough start for the Toronto Blue Jays who were trying to tie up the series with the Kansas City Royals Tuesday afternoon at the Rogers Centre. The Jays would have the knuckleballer R.A. Dickey take the mound. Chris Young would be his counter part in today’s contest.

The game would start off with a leadoff bunt from Alcides Escobar. Escobar would be the first player to leadoff the first inning with a hit in four straight games of a series. Ben Zobrist would then step to the plate, and on a 0-1 count Zobrist would launch a shot to right field scoring both himself and Escobar making it a 2-0 game. That would open the floodgates for the Royals, as they would score two more runs before the half inning would conclude. After giving up a home run to former Jay Alex Rios, Gibbons would come to the mound and send Dickey to the bench. Dickey would only go 1.2IP giving up 4ER off 4 hits. It would be the shortest outing in post-season history. In his last eight starts, Dickey posted a 1.94 ERA striking out 35 batters with a WHIP of only 0.84. In today’s matchup, the numbers would be quite different, as he would leave with a 21.60 ERA striking out only one and holding a WHIP of 3.61.

Liam Hendricks would enter the game. In the bottom of the third, Donaldson would hit a ground-rule double, scoring Ryan Goins cutting the Royals lead to four. Jose Bautista would then ground out, but score Ben Revere, as they would only trail by three, winding right back up into the matchup. In the seventh, LaTroy Hawkins would come in, in hopes of ending the flood that was taking place. That would not be the case though as Hawkins night would be over at the start of it, as Hawkins would load the bases before being pulled in relief of Ryan Tepera. With the bases loaded, Tepera would see four additional runs score, now making this a 9-2 game.

Trying to save their bullpen for what could be the last game of the 2015 season for the Toronto ball club, Gibbons would go to position player Cliff Pennington in the ninth to pitch. On his first throw in his career, he would throw a 91 MPH fastball for a strike. By the end, two runs would score and the game would end, as the Royals would dominate a night of quiet bats, taking the game 14-2.

The Jays will have their backs up against the wall for the second time this post-season, facing elimination on home turf. They will send Marco Estrada to the mound in a game one rematch, as Edinson Volquez will be the starter for the Royals as he hopes to guide his team to a World Series appearance for the second year in a row. Estrada is hoping to be the speed bump on that journey as he will throw out the first pitch at 4:07EST,

Jays Take Crown From Royals

Toronto Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar, left, dives for home plate as he scores in front of Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez during second inning game three American League Championship Series baseball action in Toronto on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

             THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Game three. Down 2-0 in the ALCS series against the Kansas City Royals. The Toronto Blue Jays were looking to get a win in hopes of staying alive in the series in hopes of going back to Kauffman Stadium to clinch down the road. For now, the Jays needed to take it game by game and tonight they sent Marcus Stroman to the mound to compete against Johnny Cueto who would be sent to the rubber for the Royals.

Things would get on a roll early as the Royals would strike first off Stroman as Alcides Escobar would manage to get home. It would also be the third game in a row where Stroman has given up the lead run in the first inning. Luckily, there were eight more innings for the Jays bats to wake up and go on display, and that they did.

The Jays would score three runs in the second thanks to Troy Tulowitzki going deep scoring Encarnacion and Colabello. After Russell Martin would come in thanks to a double from Kevin Pillar, MVP Candidate Josh Donaldson would step up to the dish and he would not disappoint. He would go long making it a 9-2 game. After just two innings, Cueto would get pulled with chants filling the Rogers Centre “We Want Cueto”.

Heading into the fifth, Ryan Goins would score his first post-season home run of his career. Marcus Stroman pitched into the seventh, as he would be in search of his first post-season win as well. He would go 6.1IP, giving up only four runs on eleven hits. In the eighth, Tulowitzki would complain about the strike zone, as he would eventually get ejected after continuing to chirp the home plate umpire, as he would go out to play defensively. After the game and evaluating the situation, a lot thought that Tulowitzki was selfish as he got ejected in what could have been an extra innings game.

Top of the ninth though, the Jays would be looking to close it out, however the Royals put all the nitro in their tank in hopes of coming back. They would score five runs, but would fall short, losing 11-8 to the blue birds. The team would be able to breath a bit of relief as they now have one win under their belt, and hoping for a second one Tuesday afternoon. Game 4 of the ALCS will take place Tuesday with first pitch at 4PM. R.A. Dickey (11-11) will be sent to the hill as he will be countered by Chris Young (11-6).

Royals Keep The Crown in Game 1 of ALCS

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                        Rob Carr/Getty Images

The ALCS would begin in Kansas City as the Royals ball club gained control of the top spot in the American League during the regular season. Playing at home in game one, the Royals would look to take an early lead to gain control of the best of seven series. They would send Edinson Volquez to the mound as the Toronto Blue Jays would send Marco Estrada to the hill. Estrada would only let in one run in his start against the Texas Rangers during the ALDS.

The Royals would get things started in the third, as they would score two and take the lead. Salvador Perez would then step to the plate in the fourth and launch a home run off the first pitch. Volquez would toss six shutout innings, giving up only two hits, walking four and striking out five that would be the key behind the victory and the first win of the series. Estrada would go 5.1 innings giving up three runs on six hits with six strikeouts.

In the eighth inning, Edwin Encarnacion would leave the game to receive a precautionary X-ray on his middle finger of the left hand. He would later be diagnosed with a ligament sprain and is currently listed as day to day. During the regular season, Encarnacion would miss two days of the season with the same issue. The club will announce Saturday whether or not he will be in the line-up, but look for Justin Smoak to be his replacement for the time being.

The Jays won’t have long to wait to try and tie up the series before heading back to Toronto. David Price (1-1, 7.20 ERA) will be sent to the mound, while the Royals will counter with right-hander Yordano Ventura (0-1, 7.71 ERA).

Jays Write History with ALCS Berth

TOM SZCZERBOWSKI/GETTY IMAGES

TOM SZCZERBOWSKI/GETTY IMAGES

It was a winner take all night at the Rogers Centre Wednesday evening. The Jays won game four, being able to bring the deciding game back to Toronto with a chance to clinch an ALCS berth in front of their home crowd. Going into the game, everyone knew it was going to be an exciting and electrifying night as it would be the same match-ups as game two, in hopes for the Jays the ending would be different.

Marcus Stroman would be sent to the hill as Cole Hammels was sent to the bump in hopes to end the fairy tale story. To start the game, Texas got on the board early scoring one run thanks to Delino DeShields. All of a sudden, memories of game two started to come to focus. All 52,000 people in the dome became steadily nervous, knowing this was going to be a tight game. The Jays would get on the board however in the bottom of the third by Bautista hitting a double, scoring Ben Revere.

Heading to the seventh inning, the emotions and intensity of the game would reach its peak. In the top of the seventh, Texas would get a man on but would get the next two out. Odor would then score after Russell Martin would throw the ball that would hit Choo’s bat. The Toronto faithful would show their displeasure by throwing beer cans on the field, which would hold the game for 18 minutes.

In the bottom of the seventh, Martin would get on first off an error by Andrus. Pillar would get on first, getting Martin on second as Mitch Moreland would commit a throwing error. Dalton Pompey would come into the game to pinch run for Martin, who would get to third off a bunt by Ryan Goins and would be called safe after Texas would commit their third error in a row. The Rangers were not being able to handle the ball to get any outs. After Ben Revere would reach first with a fielders choice as Moreland would throw the ball home to get Pompey out, Donaldson would step up to the dish and deliver a bloop single that would tie the game by scoring Kevin Pillar.

Bautista would follow, and on a 1-1 count, Jose would launch his 2nd postseason home run off Sam Dyson scoring three runs to take a 6-3 lead. Afterwards before Edwin would step to the plate, he would try to settle the crowd down. Sam Dyson took exception thinking he was trying to pump them up, and benches would clear. Tulo would strike out to end out the seventh, Dyson would then head to Tulo, slapping him on the butt. The two would exchange words, as the benches would clear once more. He would come out for the ninth as well, sitting all five players that came to the plate down to the pine, as Osuna would get his first career postseason save.

The City of Toronto would go insane. Their Toronto Blue Jays would be heading to the ALCS to face the Kansas City Royals. The Jays won the season series against the Royals 4-3, and there has been a lot of bad blood between the two clubs. In this writer’s opinion, I would not be surprised if both benches get warnings before game one, which will take place Friday night in Kansas City. Marco Estrada has been chosen to take the rubber, as Edinson Volquez will counter him. First pitch is set to begin at 8:07PM EST.

Jays Put Tigers To Sleep with 9-2 Victory

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(Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

The Jays headed into Sunday afternoon’s game looking to sweep the Tigers out of the Rogers Centre before welcoming their new guests, the Cleveland Indians on Monday. Well, they got things started right away, wasting little time.

Josh Donaldson would take the first ball deep by launching a rocket over the left field wall on a 3-1 count. Shortly after, Edwin Encarnacion would take his own over the right field wall. This would not only be his 30th home run of the season, but it would be his 25th straight game with a hit.

With Encarnacion launching yet another bomb in so few games, he would do so in historic fashion setting another record. Eddie’s run in would set a franchise record for most RBI’s in a single month at 35. He has the opportunity to add a few more on when the Jays wrap up August, Monday night when they face the Indians.

Things would then continue however into the second at Kevin Pillar would go deep, followed by Russell Martin in the fourth. It was truly a spectacular scene as the first six runs for the Jays came off home runs by four different players. The Tigers would add a pair later in the game during the sixth and seventh innings, but that’s all they would get.

The home team would score three more runs in the eighth to finish the Tigers off with a 9-2 win. Mark Buehrle would get his fourteenth win of the season going six innings giving up only 2 runs, 1 earned, walking 2, and striking out 2. It was truly remarkable to see a weekend full of runs, as the Jays would outrun the Tigers 29-6. The defense was also a key part in the victories as the team gelled so smoothly, it was a sense of a feeling, similar to what some would say playoff baseball may feel like.

Russell Martin spoke post-game on this team on their recent success. “If this isn’t the feel of a championship team, I don’t know what is. I feel like we’re great offensively, we’re great on defense. We’re pitching great and our bullpen has depth”. Buehrle would also add that if the team doesn’t score eight runs, they feel like they’ve had a bad game. Considering their recent success and the final scores, that hasn’t been a feeling in the clubhouse as of late.

The Jays will now turn their attention to the Cleveland Indians who arrive in town Monday night for a three game series. The Indians are coming off a three game sweep of their own over the LA Angels. The opening series starters will see David Price (13-4) take the mound for the Blue Jays as he will be countered by Danny Salazar (11-7). There will definitely be some stat watching as Edwin will be going for his 26th straight game with a hit as well as Ryan Goins will be going for his tenth straight game with a hit. First pitch at 7:07PM est.