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.

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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 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.