Nerves Get The Jays as Rangers Win Game #1

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                     AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

It was an exciting feeling being a Jay’s fan sitting in the Rogers Centre Thursday afternoon. The Toronto Blue Jays were set to take on the Texas Rangers in Game #1 of their ALDS match-up. Before the game, the Jays raised their newly achieved AL East Championship banner to the rafters.

David Price would be sent to the hill in hopes of seeking his 1st playoff win. Going into the game, he had a 0-5 record with a 4.50 ERA in the post-season. Yovani Gallardo would be sent as his counterpart. Gallardo is 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA in four career starts against the Jays.

Texas would get on the board first scoring in the third inning. Then it would be a back and fourth game between the two ball clubs as Toronto would score runs with help from a solo shot courtesy of Jose Bautista in the sixth. Rougned Odor would be the key player to the Ranger’s success during the game, as a pitch would hit him twice, and launch a home run in the top of the seventh.

“It means a lot to the team to come to Toronto and win that first game against a great pitcher,” Chirinos said. Texas would face a blow to their left side of the defense, as Adrian Beltre would leave with strain back muscles. “Obviously we want Adrian in there” said Banister. “He’s the heart and soul of this ball club.” After some tests, Beltre returned to the clubhouse about an hour after the game, after returning from the hospital.

Toronto would face a couple of late game scares as Josh Donaldson and Bautista would both exit the game with apparent injuries. Donaldson would leave after getting kneed in the head by Odor while attempting to jump over him to make a double play. Bautista would leave with hamstring tightness, however both players are expecting to be in the line-up Friday for Game #2.

Marcus Stroman (4-0) will be taking the ball for the Jays in tomorrow’s afternoon match-up facing Cole Hamels (7-1). Texas leads the series 1-0 as the Jays will look to even it up before heading on the road for games three and four. First pitch, 12:45ET.

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Jays Bats Silent, Buehrle Falls Short in Loss to Rays

ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 4:  Mark Buehrle #56 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the first inning of game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field on October 4, 2015 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mark Buehrie

            (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images) 

In the final game of the 2015 regular season, the Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays would face off one last time. The Rays would be looking to play spoiler for the Jays as a win, and a Kansas City loss, would put the Jays on top for the best record in the American League.

Mark Buehrle would be sent to the hill in what could be his final appearance in the MLB as the 16-year veteran is contemplating retirement during the off-season. Buehrle was standing two innings shy of having another 200IP season. Looking to reach this milestone, Mark would be only the fifth player in MLB history to reach 200+ innings, in 15 consecutive years.

Things did not go as planned in this fairytale ending however. The Tampa Bay Rays would send ten to the plate, scoring nine including a grand slam at the hands of Joey Butler. The grand slam would also be the only GS hit at Tropicana field this season. So Buehrle would fall shy by four outs to reach the historic plateau. After coming to the bench, he was thoroughly thanked by each of his teammates as no one is certain whether he will be returning next season.

The Jays would go on to lose in similar fashion 12-3 as they did earlier this season in the trop at the hands of the Rays. Kansas City would go on to win their contest, ending their season two games ahead of the Jays for best record and home field advantage in the ALCS if the to clubs were to face each other.

“This game is crazy,” stated Buehrle after the game. “I felt great and didn’t get out the first inning. It wasn’t meant to be.” When it comes down to who will start in the playoffs, it is now known that Mark will not be in the rotation. “They’ve already talked to me. It’s tough. We’ve had four guys throwing (the ball well). They made the right decision.”

The Toronto Blue Jays will now have three days off before beginning their ALDS match-up at the Rogers Centre versus the Texas Rangers. The Jays won their regular season matches against the Rangers 4-2. Although it has not been formally announced, it appears that David Price will be the starter for the Jays in Game 1 Thursday as the Rangers look to possibly send Yovani Gallardo to counter.

Jays Clinch AL East, Split Series with Orioles

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               Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

All eyes were on the first game of Wednesday’s double-header between the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles. The game was supposed to be played Tuesday night, but due to Mother Nature, it got postponed and so did the chance of the clinching game for the Jays.

Heading into the 4:05 first pitch, all the Jays needed to do was win their game, and they would clinch the AL East. This would be the first time the ball club has done so since 1993, the last time they won the World Series. Marcus Stroman would be sent to the bump, as the Orioles would counter with Miguel Gonzalez.

Toronto would get on the board first in the top of the second scoring a pair of runs. Looking at the top of the fourth, the gates would open, as a second pair of runs would score before four more would round the bases in the fifth. Baltimore would overplay the ball a number of times and thanks to some high throws, the Jays would capitalize, sealing their fate as AL East Champs.

In the top of the ninth, Jorge Rondon would give up back-to-back home runs off Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. The Jays would go ahead with five runs to defeat the Baltimore club in historic fashion to win the east by a score of 15-2.

It would then be time to give a toast inside the clubhouse before having to go out for game two of the double header where the Jays would lose 8-1. However, not a single member of the Jays club really looked like they cared for they wanted to celebrate the end of a huge drought that was bestowed upon them.

During the post-game interviews, there were a lot of hysterical moments. A couple to mention would be Josh Donaldson quoting WWE star Stone Cold Steve Austin by yelling, “1 beer, 2 beers, 3 beers, 4 beers” during his interview with Hazel Mae while with Barry Davis, Munenori Kawasaki would say, “I’m drunk” and when asked if ate his serving of banana’s today, he would reply by saying “I don’t need banana, I need champagne.” It was truly a surreal moment, not only for the veterans on the team such as Bautista and Encarnacion, but also for the rookies such as Stroman, Pillar, and Goins.

This has truly been a long time waiting and the Blue Jays faithful have only one man to thank. Alex Anthopoulos. Some of called him a god; others have referred him to an architect. For this writer, I simply see him as a man with a plan that was executed perfectly. The only thing to make it one for the books would be to bring home some shiny flags on a round stand. Otherwise known, as the World Series trophy.

Jays clinch a playoff spot, 1st since ‘93

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               Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press

The wait is over. After 22 long years, the Toronto Blue Jays will be playing some October baseball. The Jays end the longest drought in North American sports and every single Canadian is behind them.

It was quite an exciting Saturday afternoon at the Rogers Centre, as the Blue Jays would face off against the Tampa Bay Rays in game two of their final regular season series at home. David Price would take the hill, as he would be countered by the Ray’s ace, Chris Archer.

Price would get things started quickly defensively shutting down the first three batters on eleven pitchers. Archer would then hope to do the same but things didn’t go as planned. The Jays offense would make sure to get on top quick. They would end the first inning after scoring five runs thanks to home runs from Bautista and Russell Martin. Head to the third, and that’s where Price would find himself in some trouble as the rays managed to climb back into the game with four runs of their own.

Throughout the entire game, it went back and fourth on the scoreboard as both teams had their bats going. Heading into the top of the ninth, Ryan Tepera would be sent in to close the game as the Jays held a 10-5 lead. However, the Rays were able to get some hits off the right-hander and send him to the bench. Cecil would follow but do the same shortly after. Roberto Osuna, the 20 year old that has been hands down the Jays closer this season would come in and end it off. The Jays took game three with a final of 10-8.

After the game, it was certainly party time in the clubhouse as the boys would cheers to not only another victory, but a note to the fact that they are heading to the postseason. It may just be a wild card spot at least for now, but depending on how the rest of the season goes, there could be another reason to celebrate if they clinch the AL East. The team currently stands four games ahead of their rivals, the New York Yankees for top spot with the magic number standing currently at five.

The Blue Jays will wrap up their home stand of the 2015 season tomorrow afternoon, as Mark Buehrle will take the mound. The Tampa Bay Rays will send Matt Andriese to the hill as first pitch begins at 1:07PM EST

Jays Win Series Against New York, Look Ahead to Final Home Series

SP-JAYS23SEPT TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 23  -  Toronto's Marcus Stroman cheers after finishing the 7th inning during the American League baseball game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre on September 23, 2015. Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star

                       Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star

It was truly an electrifying night Wednesday, as the Blue Jays would face off against the New York Yankees for the final time of the regular season. Marcus Stroman (2-0) would take the rubber for the Jays as the Yankees would send Ivan Nova (6-8).

Marcus Stroman would continue where he left off from his last start striking out the first two batters. The Blue Jays faithful felt the energy in the air. They knew tonight was going to be the biggest night of the young starters career. The Blue Jays held a 2.5 game lead heading into the game, hoping to gain more ground on their AL East rivals. It would be a fast paced game as no runs scored through the first five innings.

In the sixth, after getting a pair of runners on base, Kevin Pillar would single to center, scoring Russell Martin to go on the board first. Then in the seventh, Martin would be at the plate again after another pair of runners reached. That is where Martin would launch a three run shot into Jays bullpen situated in left field. That’s all the boys in blue would need as Brett Cecil and Roberto Osuna would come in and sit down the batters they faced.

After the game, Martin was asked about the game and his home run to help seal the night’s victory. “Definitely a good feeling for me. I know the boys enjoyed it too. A good win.” New York has 11 games remaining in the season while the Jays have 10 and Joe Girardi acknowledged that the team’s hopes of winning the division now are slim. “It’s not mathematically impossible, but it’s difficult. We’re going to have to be almost perfect.”

The Blue Jays 87-65 will have a night off Thursday before facing the Tampa Bay Rays (75-78) Friday to begin the final home stand of the season. R.A. Dickey will take the bump while the Rays will send Jake Odorizzi as the counter in hopes to play spoiler, for the blue birds. First pitch, 7:07PM EST.

Jays fall to Red Sox, Lose Ground to Yankees

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         (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

It was a late afternoon start at the Rogers Centre Saturday as the Jays were set to face the Red Sox in game two of the last series in Toronto. R.A. Dickey would be sent to the mound as Boston would send Wade Miley as his counterpart. The Jays were looking to remain steady with the Yankees who won their contest earlier on.

Things would stay quiet during the first five innings as both clubs would get runners on base, but couldn’t produce on their attempts. Boston would get a run in first before Edwin Encarnacion would launch his 34th home run this season over the left field wall making it a 2-1 game. Boston would then tie it up in the seventh as Jackie Bradley Jr. would double scoring Brock Holt to tie it up.

Heading into the eighth, the Jays would score two more runs making it 4-2. The boys in blue had their eyes set on winning their 86th game this season. However the boys in grey had other ideas. Boston would score five runs hitting off of Roberto Osuna and Aaron Sanchez. In the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, Matt Hague, would be up to the plate. The international league MVP would help the Jays with some momentum hitting a double on a sharp line to center field. Justin Smoak would follow at the plate, but not on the same level. He would ground out to end the ballgame.

The Jays would lose a nail bitter 7-6 falling 85-63 on the year. Not a huge break on the record, but the club would see their ground on the second place Yankees fall to 3.5 games. They also stand 1.5 games back of the Kansas City Royals for first overall in the American League. The Toronto team will look to bounce back in the rubber match hoping for a Yankees loss to gain more ground back before facing the Bronx team for a three game set starting Monday night.

Mark Buehrle will take the hill for the Jays as Rich Hill will start for the Red Sox. This will be just the second start for Hill this season as this is the first year he’s taken the mound in the past six. This is his third stint with Boston and is hoping to prove why he deserves to stay on the rotation when next season comes around. First pitch takes place at 1:07PM EST.

2 Games, 2 Wins, 4.5 Games Up

AP/Darren Calabrese

AP/Darren Calabrese

For a baseball fan, it was a fantasy come true. Fans at Yankee stadium came into the stadium Saturday afternoon, getting to watch not one, but two games. Due to a rainout Friday evening in the Bronx, times got shifted and it was an old-style baseball game set-up. Game one started at 1:05 with game two starting thirty minutes afterwards.

Game #1:

The Blue Jays would send Marco Estrada to the mound, as he would look to help his team win game two in the four game series. In exchange, the Yanks would send Michael Pineda to the rubber. Things did not looking promising at the start of the game as Estrada would give up back-to-back home runs in the first two innings.

There would also be concern in the clubhouse as Troy Tulowitzki would run hard into Kevin Pillar while trying to catch a fly ball. Tulowitzki would take his time getting up on the field before heading to the clubhouse for the day. After and MRI was conducted, results showed a small crack in the right shoulder blade. He is now out indefinitely and doctors will be looking at it more thoroughly this week for an estimate on a timetable for his return.

Jose Bautista however would help raise the momentum by launching his own solo shot in the top of the fourth. By the middle of the eighth inning, all the runs home would be thanks to home runs. The Yanks would then score to tie it up heading into the ninth. Extra innings would be needed and that’s where the floodgates opened. The Jays would score 4 runs to help with a huge win that was needed by the club. With game one in the books, they would now turn their attention to game two to help with gaining more ground in the east.

Game #2:

After thirty minutes of rest, the boys in blue would head back onto the field, led by the Stro-show, Marcus Stroman. The second game in this double header would be the debut for Stroman after he was sidelined by an ACL injury during spring training. His counterpart would be Ivan Nova.

The Jays would help support the young pitcher in his debut by scoring six runs in the second inning to start things off with a bang. New York would score three of their own in the bottom of the fifth before the game would be delayed due to rain that just seemed to not want to go away. The game would be held for 33 minutes before the players headed back on the field. With the delay, that would end Stroman’s debut though. His final stat line would show 5 innings, 3 ER, 4 H, & 2 SO.

The blue birds would then go back to do what they did before by scoring four runs in the seventh inning to give them a 10-4 lead. Come the eighth inning, the Yankees would not go quietly climbing back into it making it a three run game. That would all that would take place, as the Jays would end up winning game two of the double header and game three of the series. In the end, there would be nine hours combined of baseball action, as there was a combined census between fans and broadcasters. The Blue Jays simply embarrassed the Yankees at home this weekend.

With a 9-5 & 10-7 win, the Jays have now scored 9+ runs in thirty games this season, with 24 times having scores 10+ runs. It is also the first time since 2009 that they club has had two player with 100+ RBI’s in the same season. The two clubs will wrap up their four game series tomorrow afternoon. The Yankees will be looking to avoid the sweep as they send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound. The Jays will send R.A. Dickey as his counterpart in hopes of a sweep and going up to 5.5 game lead in the AL East over the second place Yanks.