Chicago Keeps Sox Clean, Sweep Jays

TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 26: Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 26, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Chris Sale

        (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

On Monday evening, the Toronto Blue Jays would welcome in the Chicago White Sox and three former Jays in Brett Lawrie, Dioner Navarro, as well as Melky Cabrera. On the bump, would be Marcus Stroman for the Blue Jays as Chicago would send Miguel Gonzalez.

Things would get started early, as both the White Sox and Blue Jays would score runs respectively, landing the Toronto club on top, 2-1. In the third inning, after getting two runners on base, Michael Saunders would homer on an 0-1 count to center field. Stroman would pitch through 6.2 innings of before being pulled in the seventh, leaving the bases loaded in relief for Brett Cecil. Coming out of the bullpen, Cecil would be unable to contain the White Sox, letting five runs cross the plate, with three runs being charged to Stroman. Chicago would add one more in the top of the ninth, securing their game one victory.

Wednesday night, the Toronto club would be looking to rebound from Tuesday night, as knuckleballer R.A. Dickey would be sent out to search for his second victory of the season. He would be put up against Chris Sale. Things would stay quiet until the fifth inning, minus the one run scored in the top of the third on behalf of Avisail Garcia as he homered into center field, giving his team an early 1-0 lead. Chicago would get three runners home safely in the fifth and seventh inning. Former Blue Jays catcher Navarro would homer giving his club a seven run lead. The Jays would only manage to get one run in over four hits in the game, while the Sox would add three more runs in the top of the ninth, securing their second victory in a row, with the chance of sweeping the Blue Jays for the first time since 2001.

Marco Estrada would look to look for his second victory of the season with hopes of helping to prevent a sweep at the Rogers Centre. Jose Quintana would be the counterpart in the attempt to sweep the Jays. It would be a very quiet game through the first six innings. It would turn worse for Estrada in the seventh. As he would ultimately reach 118 pitches through 6.2 innings, Marco would let three runs score before Ryan Tepera would come in during the eighth and let a fourth run cross the plate. Quintana would pitch just six innings, but give up no runs over four hits, striking out ten. The Jays would find themselves swept at home for the first time since September of 2001.

After a day off, Toronto will fly to Tampa for a mini three game series this weekend. Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, and Marcus Stroman will be the three starters to go in Tropicana as the Rays will send Drew Smyly, Chris Archer, and Jake Odorizzi as the respective counterparts.

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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.

Blue Jays Split in Beantown

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                    Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox

The Toronto Blue Jays headed to Boston Friday night to start a four game series against a division rival, the Red Sox. On Jackie Robinson Day, the blue birds fell short, losing 5-3 handing R.A. Dickey his second loss of the year.

Boston took an early three run lead in the bottom of the first inning, which would find them ahead of the rest of the game. Toronto would manage to respond with a run in the second, and get two runs in during the seventh inning, but unable to produce any further. Rick Porcello would be credited with the win, keeping his undefeated streak alive, at two games. He would only let in 3 runs, over 6.1 innings of work, striking out 8. On the Jays side, R.A. Dickey would let in 4 runs through just 4.2 innings, striking out just 3. Craig Kimbrel would come in during the ninth for the save, to give the Sox a 1-0 series lead.

The fans heading to Fenway Saturday definitely got their money worth, as they would see a pitching duel between former Blue Jay David Price and Marco Estrada. Jays would get a run in early, however Boston would soon respond in the fourth, scoring four of their own. The blue birds would score another in the fourth as Edwin Encarnacion would hit a double, scoring Bautista who singled just prior. That’s all they would manage, as the Jays would fall once again, this time by a score of 4-2. David price would get the win as he went 7 innings, giving up only 2 runs over 6 hits with 9 strikeouts. Estrada on the other hand had a decent outing, but giving up 4 runs over 6 innings, striking out only 3, which would be the downfall. Kimbrel would appear once again, earning his fourth save of the year.

Game three would be a match-up between the young gun Aaron Sanchez and the knuckleballer, Steven Wright. The Blue Jays would be looking to get a much-needed win, as they would look not to lose the series. Toronto would pull off a similar situation as Saturday night, getting two runs in during the first inning.This time, it would be the Jays that would have the upper hand, as Boston would fall victim, only getting three runs on, two of which came during the ninth inning. Sanchez was lights out, giving up only 1 run, over 7 innings, striking out 7. Steven Wright would receive the loss as he went 6 innings, giving up 2 runs, striking out 6. During the game, Chris Colabello would find himself shaken up as Wright threw an 87MPH fastball, sending Colabello to the ground for a minute. Wright would perform a class act on Monday, sending a bottle of liquor to Colabello’s locker room as a token of apology, as he truly did not mean to have such a close encounter. Colabello would talk about the incident stating, “He went above and beyond in my eyes. It was pretty obvious there was no intent. You could see by his reaction.” Bravo Steven, well done.

Monday, the Toronto Blue Jays would be looking to even up the series at two games apiece. With an early morning game, taking place at 11AM, the blue birds didn’t have much time to rest, but they would send J.A. Happ to the mound in the series finale as he would be competing against Koji Uehara. The Bo Sox would get a man in early, as Josh Rutledge would double in Hanley Ramirez, making it a 1-0 game. There would be no other action until the Jays opened the floodgates in the top of the eighth, scoring 4 runs. The Toronto boys would appear to have this game won, however Boston would not be done responding with 2 runs in the bottom of the ninth, but would not be able to get anything further, falling 4-3. The Jays would end up splitting the series 2-2.

The Blue Jays will now head to face off against another division rival, the Baltimore Orioles who have been on a hot streak. The 7-7 Jays will start a three game series against the 8-3 Orioles, sending their young gun Marcus Stroman who is looking to go 3-0. The O’s will respond by sending Mike Wright to the bump. Wright has only pitched five innings this year, and the Toronto club will be looking to take advantage of that. Game time is 7:05EST.

Stroman Stays Hot, Jays Rally Past Jays 4-2

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

       (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) 

After going 1-1 in the first two games against the Yankees, the Blue Jays would look to rally Thursday night for the first series win of 2016. Marcus Stroman would be sent to the hill to help his team get a much-needed win, and for Stroman, to continue his tremendous start this season.

Things remained quiet during the first four innings of the game. During the top of the fourth, Stroman would run into some trouble as Alex Rodríguez would be hit by a pitch, followed up by a single to right from Teixeira. Brian McCann would then load the bases for Carlos Beltrán. He would hit in a run off a fielders choice and after Stroman threw a wild pitch, Yankees would get another man in, making it a 2-0 game.

Skip forward to the bottom of the 5th, after Martin and Pillar both found themselves on base, the MVP would head to the dish and do what he does best. Donaldson with two on, and two out would crush a home run deep into the 2nd deck of the Rogers Centre straight into center field, which would give the Jays the lead, 3-2. Troy Tulowitzki would have his turn at the dish in the sixth, giving some more comfort to the Jays lead by launching his own home run, which would give the jays a two run lead going into the final stretch of the game.

Stroman would refocus himself after his troubles in the fourth, as he retired the final 11 batters he faced, recording 17 ground ball outs with four fly ball outs. When asked about his performance, going 2-0 this year and winning his seventh consecutive decision, he had this to say. “My curveball and slider were very good and so was my sinker. I thought I was locating my sinker. I felt like I was down more than in my last game and the results showed.”

Roberto Osuna came into the game to close it out in the ninth, and ended up sitting down all three batters in order. With Thursday night’s victory, it would send the blue birds back to a .500 season at 5-5.

The Jays will now head to Fenway to start a four game series against the Boston Red Sox. They will be going there looking for some payback after losing 2/3 to them in the home opener this past weekend. R.A. Dickey will be on the hump looking for his second win of the year. The Red Sox will counter with Rick Porcello. Game time is 7:10EST.

Jays Avoid Sweep, Lose Bandwagon Fans In Process

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                The Canadian Press/Fred Thornhill

There was a lot of anticipation for the Jays as they headed into their first home series of the 2016 campaign. Friday night, the Toronto Blue Jays would be heartbroken, as the club would fall short. Donaldson and Holt would both hit grandslams, which the Jays would land on the wrong side of the excitement, losing 8-7. Stroman proved his haters wrong once again, however the bullpen would not be able to contain the Sox, leading to the loss.

Saturday being a new day, R.A. Dickey would be sent to the bump in what was suppose to be our first matchup of knuckleballers in a very long time, yet mother nature would have other ideas. With the weather affecting the previous match-up between Boston and the Cleveland Indians, Boston would send Rick Porcello as his counterpart. The game would go back and forth until the third. From there, B-town would score four straight innings in a row. By the end of the yo-yo game between the two clubs, the blue birds would fall short for the second day in a row, losing 8-4.

Heading into Sunday, the Rogers Centre started to become less full, but not by much. Those late season bandwagon fans from last season playoff run, started to back-out early, even though Sunday would only be game seven of 2016. With the Jays wanting to pull out a much-needed win, Marco Estrada would throw some pitches for the first time this year. The knuckleballer Steven Wright would be up on the mound in hopes of helping his club sweep the series, but Toronto would have other plans, stirring in the pot.

Early in the game, the Jays would take advantage of some misplays and high tosses, scoring two in the first inning. From that point on, it was a quick game, as both sides tossed out every batter that was being sent to the plate. During the eighth inning, Donaldson would step up to the plate, and give his club an extra assurance run by homering one into the bullpen, making it a 3-0 game, which would be the final.

Fans were able to breath a sigh of relief, not being swept and being able to carry the momentum, as they will begin a three game series Tuesday night against the New York Yankees, after an off day Monday. Aaron Sanchez will be sent to the hill, as Masahiro Tanaka will start off for the Bronx bombers.

AL East Champs Go 2-2

Brian Blanco/Getty Images

                      Brian Blanco/Getty Images

It’s 2016 and baseball has returned for the defending AL East division champions. The Toronto Blue Jays started their season opening in St. Petersburg, as they would play guest to the Tampa Bay Rays. Toronto would take the first two games of the series, winning both contest’s 5-3. Stroman and R.A. Dickey would both be rewarded with the victory for their efforts. Things then became interesting during Tuesday night’s game three.

During the first three games, the Jays would strike out 36 times, leaving 12 batters on base, and would have game three end in a controversial setting. Heading into the ninth inning, Toronto would trail the Rays, 3-2. Having one out, and Bautista on first, Edwin would hit a grounder to Longoria who would initially throw a 5-4-3 play, but Logan Forsythe would throw the ball away, which would land Toronto two runs to take a 4-3 lead. Tampa would challenge the call on the field, and after further review, it showed the Bautista broke the new sliding rule when he put out his arm and touched the foot of Forsythe, which is in violation of said rule. The umpires would then call both Bautista and Encarnacion out on a double play, ending the game, resulting in a Tampa Bay Rays victory, giving them their first of the season.

Heading into the fourth and final game of the opening series, the Jays would look to rebound, as they would send former Jay, comeback J.A. Happ to the mound to face off against Matt Moore. Reigning MVP winner Josh Donaldson would get the bats going early, as he would homer a three run shot to give the Jays a lead. Tampa would respond to two runs of their own scoring in the fourth and sixth inning. Nearing the end of the game and looking for a rebound win, Gibbons would send Arnold Leon to the mound to pitch in the bottom of the eighth, with the idea of sending either Storen or Osuna to the mound in the ninth to finish it up. Things didn’t go as planned however, as Leon would give up a home run to Souza Jr., which would score three, giving the Rays a 5-3 lead which would be the difference.

The Canadian boys will now fly home and have an off day Thursday before opening up their first home series this weekend as they play host to David Price and the Boston Red Sox. Stroman will be sent to the mound Friday, followed by Dickey, as they will each be looking for their second wins of the season. Marco Estrada will be sent to the mound for the first time on Sunday, as he will face off against former Blue Jay rental, David Price.

The Price Was Not Right, Heads To Red Sox

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COLE BURSTON / TORONTO STAR

Just shortly after the 2015 baseball season came to an end, the big question for every Jays fan was whether or not David Price would be seen in the Rogers Centre again, in the dugout under section 124. Price’s tenure with the blue birds would soon end however as Price was picked up on the trades deadline as strictly a rental player. This would lead the Blue Jays to their first playoff appearance since ’93, ending their 22-year drought.

This afternoon, David Price would be officially announced as a member of the Boston Red Sox, after signing a 7-year, $217 million deal. The deal provides Price with an opt-out option after 3 years. In the news conference today, some notable things were said that might not sit with the Blue Jays faithful who wanted to do whatever they could to keep him in Toronto. “I think I was saving all of my postseason wins for the Red Sox.”

The Jays did not pursue Price aggressively however. Instead of giving D. Price $217 million, they decided to see him leave and hold onto their funds to eventually be able to share around the clubhouse. Price also stated in the news conference, “This is a place that has winning in their history. They definitely have winning in their future.” When breaking down this deal further, if Price starts 30 times in the 2016 season, he will earn $1 million per game ($9,000 per pitch) as he will wind up receiving $30 million in total.

Prior to the Boston reaching out and eventually signing the popular left-hander, the Red Sox spoke with David Ortiz, asking his opinion on Price and what his thoughts were as the two had history together during their days in Tampa. “At some point the Red Sox asked me, and I told them I got no problem with it. He’s not a bad guy. I know him from before. Things happen in the game, but that doesn’t mean that’s how you are. Our adrenaline kicks in on the field.”

So all in all, even though Jays fans are extremely disappointed in the fact they won’t get to see one of the best in the game every 5 days, time will tell if they will be better without him. That being said, they (Jays) have a lot of work to do to fix up their starting rotation and get some key arms in the bullpen as well.