Jays Make Small Splash at Trade Deadline

Heading into the trade deadline in 2015, the Toronto Blue Jays stood six games back of first in the AL East. There were 14 deadline deals made, including the signings of LaTroy Hawkins, Ben Revere, and Mark Lowe. Obviously the biggest names to come to Toronto were David Price and Troy Tulowitzki. As soon as the Jays signed both Tulowitzki and Price, the club sold over 300,000 tickets for the rest of the season.

Move forward to the 2016 campaign, the only player to remain with the club, from those trades after making an appearance in the clubs first ALCS since 1993, Tulowitzki. Price would move to Boston, Revere to Washington, Lowe to the Tigers, and Hawkins would call it quits on his career. The club would also see Mark Buehrle walk as well as 15 other members depart ways, whether through trades, free agent signings, or through being DFA’d.

August 1, 2016, let’s take a look at where the club is now, and what Shapiro and Ross Atkins worked out ahead of this year’s deadline. They currently stand just half a game back of first (59-46) in the AL East, taking it over momentarily Saturday, hosting the Baltimore Orioles. They would then lose that lead, after falling in 12 innings Sunday. The front office staff went out and got Melvin Upton Jr. to help as another outfielder. They also signed Justin Smoak to a 2-year deal. Reason being for these two acquisitions primarily was for a safety net. In case Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion don’t return in 2017, they now have appropriate guys to be their replacements for now. Toronto also went out and signed Jason Grilli and Joaquín Benoit. Since they have joined Toronto, they have performed just as they are supposed to, helping out the club thus far in the sixth, seventh, and eight innings.

The Jays did make a couple moves on trade deadline day. The club got Francisco Liriano, sending Drew Hutchison the other way. Toronto also received two prospects in OF Harold Ramirez and C Reese McGuire. They would also send Jesse Chavez to the LA Dodgers, getting back Mike Bolsinger. Chavez was seen struggling with his consistency out of the bullpen, not able to lock down his innings when he was called upon. Bolsinger is currently pitching in Triple A, and is 1-4 with a 6.83 ERA through 6 starts. He will most likely be signed to Buffalo for now, with a potential call-up in September, if there are any injuries or to help the pen out if someone gets injured. For now, he will slot into where Hutchison was in Buffalo.

Liriano will be put into the fifth rotation spot, sending Sanchez back into the bullpen. He has a 5.46 ERA, going 6-11 in 2016, but new ballparks mean new opportunities. Sending Aaron back into the pen, will help the struggles they have faced in the later end of ballgames. Considering Sanchez is 11-1 with a 2.71 ERA pitching in 139.1 innings, the club has decided to move him back to the pen. He is having himself a CY Young award winning season, yet when Ross Atkins spoke out to the media earlier today, to sum it up, he doesn’t want to take a risk. He mentioned how the transition for Sanchez from starting to the bullpen is something he is familiar with and would give the Blue Jays club an increase in their chance to reach the world series and for him to be a bigger part in that run. Once he is transitioned, he will be put into a relief role, like he was last year.

They also sent 18-year-old Guadalupe Chavez to Houston, for Scott Feldman. Feldman is 5-3, with a 2.90 ERA. The good part about Feldman, he was originally in the pen in the early years of his career. This makes him a versatile player, able to pitch wherever he would be found most useful. The look around the club is they are going to head in 1 direction. Liriano had good success with Russell Martin in Pittsburgh, so for now, he will get the opportunity to turn things around and get the wins on the fifth day for the Jays.

Overall, yes, Shaprio and Atkins didn’t do as much as Anthopoulous did last season, however what a lot of Jays faithful forget is that a lot of the pieces to see a world series team is still in place. The only difference is that the other four teams in the East, went out and got better pieces to appropriately help their respective clubs. Heading into the last two months of the season, it is going to be a tight race in the east, and for the Jays loyal fans, they will see a similar situation as last year. It is going to come down to the last couple weeks of the season on whether or not they will repeat at AL east champs.

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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.

Jays Turn Things Around, Win Tampa Series

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               (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

The Blue Jays would fly into Tropicana Field for a mini three game series this past weekend. Aaron Sanchez would be sent to the bump for the Jays, as he would be looking for another strong start. The Rays would send Drew Smyly for this matchup. The Jays would be looking to put an end to their three game losing streak in a needed win ahead of their upcoming homestead versus a familiar opponent, the Texas Rangers.

Things would remain quiet for the most part of the game. Thanks to a couple of home runs from Michael Saunders and the MVP Josh Donaldson, the Jays would go up 2-0, heading into the eighth inning. The pace of the game would start to pick up, but not for the home team of Florida. The Jays would score three runs, as Michael Saunders would homer for a second time Friday evening, before Donaldson and Bautista would both score a pair of runs as well. The Rays would manage to score one run on the board, but would ultimately fall 6-1 to the blue birds.

Heading into Saturday’s game, J.A. Happ would look to continue the momentum. Toronto would score two runs early thanks to Jose Bautista. He would take one deep, scoring himself as well as Josh Donaldson. The Rays would respond, as Logan Forsythe would make a line drive to Kevin Pillar in center, scoring Kevin Kiermaier. J.A. Happ would pitch through 6.2 innings, allowing Tampa to score three runs, and the Jays would not be able to respond scoring only an additional run in the seventh, getting three runs in over three hits. Tampa would tie the series up, at one a piece.

Marcus Stroman turned 25 on Sunday. He would be looking to celebrate the birthday with a win, to get momentum back for his team closing out the series, before facing Texas on Monday. It would be an exchange of runs early for both clubs as it would be tied 1-1 until the fourth. The gates would open up as the Jays would rally four runs in, to help Stroman not only give him the W on his birthday, but give him his fourth win of the season. To start the ninth, Xavier Cedeno would replace Erasmo Ramirez who would give up a double to Darwin Barney, and walk Michael Saunders. Alex Colome would then come in and after striking out Bautista, and making Encarnacion ground out, Troy Tulowitzki would homer scoring Saunders, Donaldson, and himself. The Rays would try to fight back, but Roberto Osuna would come in to do what he does best, close out the game. He would replace Stroman who went eight innings.

The Jays will now fly home for a weeklong stand, facing off against a familiar foe in Texas Rangers who they last saw during the ALDS Championship Series, last year. R.A. Dickey will be sent to the mound, as Texas responds with A.J. Griffin. Griffin looking for his fourth win, as Dickey will be looking to prevent that and work towards his second win of the season.

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.

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.

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.