Jays Fall to Rangers in Round Three

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                   (AP / Richard W. Rodriguez)

In the last meeting of 2016 between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers, a massive controversial event took place in Arlington. Things started to get heated Sunday night when the Rangers Matt Bush hit Jose Bautista to start of the eighth inning.

During Bautista’s last plate appearance, the Rangers decided it was time to get back at the creator of the bat flip. Originally Bautista would walk to first and not react. Once on base however, that’s where things began to escalate. When Justin Smoak grounded out to Adrian Béltre, who would flip the ball to Rougned Odor, Bautista would slide into second base hard almost taking out Odor. With a quick step, Odor managed to dodge what could have been a devastating slide, but he wouldn’t step down and move on. What took place next is what people will be talking about at the water coolers at work tomorrow morning.

Odor would shove Bautista and throw a massive punch right square into Bautista’s jaw that started an all out bench clearing brawl. When Josh Donaldson came out to support his teammate, he almost received the same fate as Bautista as Odor tried to punch him in defense. Once the smoke cleared, we could see John Gibbons, who had already been ejected from the game, come back onto the field to help provide some guidance to his team and separate them so they could go back to the game. On his way out, he would have some words for the Rangers bench boss Jeff Banister. Both managers would see themselves to the clubhouse for the rest of the game which a suspension looming on Gibbons for coming back out to the field.

Jose Bautista said after the game, “I had a hard slide at 2B. I could have injured him, I chose not to…tried to send a message that I didn’t appreciate getting hit.”

Once things settled, and both clubs and their fans just wanted the game to end before more wood was put into the fire, Jesse Chavez would hit Prince Fielder on the first throw. Chavez would automatically get ejected from the game and the benches would clear once more. This time there were no punches thrown, and players went back to their respective dugouts quite quickly.

Now comes the question for the night. Will both Bautista and Odor get suspended for their actions? Bautista with the illegal slide and Odor for the punch to the face. Some could argue that Bautista was trying to intentionally take out Odor and end his season. On the other side, Odor could have put Bautista on the DL with a broken jaw as he became very aggressive and clocked Jose in the face. How will one determine who should get suspended and if so, how long?

Yes, Bautista’s revenge wasn’t within the new guidelines the MLB put out this year in regards to sliding to prevent injury, but this is baseball. If Bautista and the Jays wanted to get revenge, they should have done it on the scoreboard, winning the game. Instead, they fell 7-6 after all was said and done. The Jays had a big sixth inning thanks to Jose, but would still fall short.

It will be interesting to see who the manager will be for Monday night’s game as I’ve said, Gibbons will be suspended for his re-appearance on the field in Arlington. First base coach Tim Leiper may also face suspension as he popped up into the dugout to witness the brawl, but was smart enough to not run onto the field. The Blue Jays will now head back to Toronto for a series against the Tampa Bay Rays starting Monday. J.A. Happ will face off against Drew Smyly.

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Jays Offence Comes Alive, Takes Series Against The A’s.

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                 Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Friday night the Toronto Blue Jays would welcome in the Oakland Athletics for a three game series. Prior to the start of Friday’s game, news would break that 1st baseman, Chris Colabello, has been suspended for 80 games for breaking MLB’s policy on the usage of PED’s. With news hitting the teammates and fans around the arena as they flowed into the Rogers Centre, the Toronto team would look to get past the news and focus on the series, against the Athletics.

The Blue Jays would send Aaron Sanchez to the mound to face off against Oakland’s young gun, Sonny Gray. Sanchez would get shaken up early, as the Athletics would score four runs in the first two innings. The Jays would be unable to catch up, even after a late inning effort. To start the bottom of the sixth inning, three Jays would walk to first and after a couple hits; the blue birds would only get a run in. They would manage three more hits within the next couple of innings, but would eventually fall in game one, by a score of 8-5. Sanchez would only go 4.1 innings giving up 6ER, striking out only 3. His opponent Gray would go 7 innings, giving up only 3 runs, striking out 7.

Saturday’s matchup would feature J.A. Happ on the mound for the blue birds, as he was looking to improve on his 2-0 starts. The Athletics would send right-hander Chris Bassitt to the bump in efforts to get another win. Oakland would strike first as Mark Canha would homer on a 2-0 count to right field. It was then the Jays turn to respond. The entire Jays line-up with the exception of Kevin Pillar would see the plate in the bottom of the first inning, managing only two runs. Happ would silence the A’s bats in the top of the second, allowing the floodgates to open up once again, as three runs crossed the plate thanks to a home run from Donaldson, scoring Pillar and Carrera.

The Athletics would be unable to produce more then a pair of runs the rest of the game, which was of no notice to the Toronto club as they would score one run in, for four consecutive innings. Happ would go seven strong innings, giving up only 3ER off 7H, only striking out 1. His counterpart Bassitt would allow 6ER over 9H through 5 innings pitched, striking out 5.

Sunday would be the rubber match between the two clubs on former Oakland Athletic, Josh Donaldson bobblehead day. In front of a near sold out crowd of 46,300, the Jays would look to get back to .500 before welcoming the Chicago White Sox into the Rogers Centre Monday night. The fans in attendance were expecting to see Marcus Stroman pitch, however they would see a familiar face in Drew Hutchison. The feeling was split mutual on Hutchison taking the mound. He went 13-5 last season, but spent some of the time in Buffalo, pitching for the AAA Bisons’. Prior to the game, Josh Donaldson would receive his 2015 Silver Slugger & Players Choice awards. You could say he was having a day, he wont soon forget.

When it came to time to play the game, just like Saturday, Oakland would get on the board first scoring a run in the second, as Khris Davis would knock one out to center off a 1-1 count. Hutchison would then settle down and only give up another earned run in his 5.2 innings of work. He would have the run support behind him early, as the boys in blue would score four runs in the third, and two in the fourth. Carrera, who was in the lead off position in replace of Michael Saunders, would homer on a full count. Through some light singles into shallow center field, Donaldson would see his way home as well as Tulowitzki soon after.

In the fourth, Jose Bautista would take his turn and score a two-run home run, scoring Donaldson. After that, the Jays would find their bats go silent, but still able to hold onto a 6-3 win, taking the series from Oakland, making it their second series win of the season. Hutchison would only allow 4 hits striking out 5, while Eric Surkamp of the A’s would give up 6ER, over 9H through 4.2 innings. Sunday’s game would be Surkamp’s second loss of the season. Roberto Osuna would receive the save as he came in the ninth, and struck out the only three batters he would face, giving up not a single hit.

The Chicago White Sox will now come into town for a three game series. The Toronto faithful will be seeing a few former Jays as Brett Lawrie, Melky Cabrera and Dioner Navarro will all be back facing off against their former club. Marcus Stroman will be on the hill tonight, as he will look for victory number four. The Sox will counter with Miguel González as they look to stay on top of the AL Central division. First pitch takes place at 7:07PM EST.

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 Force Game 5 with 8-4 Win

in game four of the American League Division Series at Globe Life Park in Arlington on October 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.

                  Tom Pennington/Getty Images

It was another go big or go home kind of night at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Jays were in search of another crucial victory that would send them back to Toronto to a all hands on deck game 5 match-up. R.A. Dickey started off the game as the Rangers would send Derek Holland to the rubber in hopes of a win to punch their ticket to the ALCS match-up against either the Royals or Astros who will face each other in a game 5 contest themselves.

The Jays got things going right off the bat. Once Ben Revere reached first, Josh Donaldson would be able to get Revere and himself home by launching a line drive homer to right field. Chris Colabello would soon follow suite launching a home run of his own to right field. Toronto would lead 3-0 heading into the second, however Pillar and Encarnacion (3rd inning) would launch their own home runs into the crowd making it 5-0. Colabello would see the ball well again doubling on a ground ball scoring Edwin. Pillar would go up to the dish, still in the third inning. He would get Colabello in, lining a single into left field. The Jays would lead 7-0 before Texas would get on the board in the bottom of the seventh making it a 7-1 game.

Heading into the bottom of the eighth, Texas would be doing whatever they could to get guys in. They would do just that seeing the ball just as well as the Jays scoring 2 runs, cutting their lead in half. They were trying to deal around the pitching of price before that as Dickey who started the game, would go 4.2IP giving up just 1 ER through five hits. Price would come in and pitch three innings of his own, which would wind up getting the W. Osuna would come in to close out the game, securing a game five in Toronto at the Rogers Centre Wednesday afternoon.

This upcoming game will be heartache for Jay’s fans, as nobody will be able to exhale until there is a F on the board beside the score. Marcus Stroman will approach the mound in a rematch of game two, as his counterpart will be Cole Hammels. This is going to be another game of inches as both pitchers had an amazing outing and the key to the victory for the Jays will be to see the ball well like they have been and score runs early. Game time takes place at 4:07EST.

Jays Avoid Elimination, Take a 5-1 Win over Rangers

during game three of the American League Division Series on October 11, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.

                   Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It was an all or nothing game Sunday night in Arlington. The Blue Jays were facing elimination and needed a win in order to see Game 4 Monday. Texas currently held a 2-0 series lead looking to send the blue birds back to their Canadian nest. Marco Estrada would be sent to the hill to face off against the Rangers Martin Perez.

Game 3 would be the first career post-season start for Estrada. The big question for Jay’s fans would be how would he do. Well through the first two innings, Estrada would keep the Texas bats quiet. He would not let up a hit thorough the first two innings. Heading into the third, Dioner Navarro would get things started. He would hit a double into center field and would later score after Ryan Goins hit into a ground out double play. Top of the 4th, the Jays would continue to look patience in the box as they would get bases loaded with Tulowitzki up. He would take his time, see the ball well, and take a walk scoring in the team’s second run of the game.

Texas would not get a base runner through the first four innings. Top of the 6th, Troy would be up to the dish again, and he would serve some heat. He would hit a 3-run home run into left field giving breathing room. Even though Troy has been on a bit of a rough stretch as of late, the FOX broadcasters said, “He’s still Troy Tulowitzki. Forget the numbers, that’s a bad man right there.” The home run would also be Tulo’s first since the 2007 NLDS.

Bottom of the seventh, Estrada would be pulled in relief of Aaron Loup after letting runners reach second and third. He would end up going 6 1/3, in line for the win. Texas would get a man home in that inning, as the Jays would still lead by four. We would then see David Price warming up in the bullpen, just in case he was needed for another left-hander to come in. That wouldn’t be necessary however as Roberto Osuna would come in to close it out as Elvis Andrus would fly out to Revere to end the game.

With the win, it would be the first ever playoff game that Toronto has won when facing elimination. Even though they won, Texas would get four double plays during the game. As the team looks ahead to Game 4 Monday, they will need to try and prevent that from happening as they look to get another must win, to head to Toronto for Game 5. First pitch in Arlington will be at 4:07EST. R.A. Dickey will represent the Jays in his first post-season game, as the Rangers will send Derek Holland to the mound.

Jays Sweep Angels, Look Ahead to Rangers

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              Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Over the weekend, it was quite a site to see for Blue Jay fans as their team faced off against the Angels of Anaheim. Looking to gain more ground in the Wild Card spot as well as potentially take back first in the east, the Jays had a lot of work to do.

Well, the bats went to work over the three day set. The Jays would set a franchise record for the most runs scored (36) and hits (48) within a three-game series. The three key players for this record to take place included Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion. The power trio would go to the plate for 21 hits, 3 homers, and 19 RBI’s in the series set.

Another record seems more achievable as the team has scored at least 10 runs, 18 times this season. They are only one game shy of the club record which was set back in 2003. When asked about the team and the series against the Angels, Gibbons was humble about it. “The West Coast has never been particularly good to us. But everybody in our lineup has been swinging. It was a heck of a series. One thing we do is score runs. We’ve been doing it all year.”

Another person to watch tonight will be Edwin Encarnacion. He is currently riding a 19 game hit streak and will look to continue that as he climbs the rank of players with the longest streaks in the franchise. The leader of the list, Shawn Green. Green has a 28 game hit streak in 1998.

The Jays will now head into Arlington to face off against the Rangers (64-59) who just took 3 out of 4 against the Tigers over the weekend. They currently sit 3.5 games back from the first in the AL West, but are sitting in the second wild card spot heading into tonight. They Jays and Yankees are tied at 4.5 games for first, but that will change quickly over the next few days. The Yanks are set to take on the Houston Astros who currently lead the AL West.

The starting matchups for the Jays this week will be Buehrle/Holland, Price/Lewis, and Estrada/Gallardo. Buehrle will be looking for his 14th win of the season tonight as the club looks to back him up and get the bats going early as they look for their fourth straight win. First pitch will be at 8:05PM EST.

All in all, there is one thing for sure. Over the next week, there will be a lot of scoreboard watching by all the teams around the league as August wraps up, and we head into the final season of the regular season. Teams are putting their final ounces of gas into their tanks to boost themselves into key spots needed respectively in order to see some October baseball.