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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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.

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 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 Rally 15 Runs in Historic Fashion

TORONTO, CANADA - AUGUST 29: Ryan Goins #17 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates their victory with Marco Estrada #25 during MLB game action against the Detroit Tigers on August 29, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ryan Goins; Marco Estrada

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

It was an electrifying afternoon at the Rogers Centre as the Jays were set to face off against the Detroit Tigers in the second game of the series. The boys in blue took game one in a close one Friday night, winning it 5-3. They were looking to improve their run support, and that they did.

Edwin Encarnacion got things started in the bottom of the first, by launching a 3-run shot over the left field wall. Fans had a sense that this game was going to be one for the ages, and not only another win in the column.

Every inning, the Jays seemed to be able to get their bats swinging enough to score a run in every inning except for the 5th. Drew Hutchison pitched through seven innings giving up only six hits, one walk, while striking out seven. Hendriks and Schultz would then come in to close out the game.

However, if you look back at the stat board, you should see Ben Revere come out as the hero of today’s game going 4-5 at the plate, with a spectacular catch in the third inning. However, Revere came in second to today’s history maker, Encarnacion. Edwin’s home run in the first inning was the insurance he needed to keep his hit streak going. He now sits on a 24 game hit streak, but he wasn’t finished there.

Heading into the seventh inning, the Ed-wing came on with the bases loaded. On a 2-0 pitch, he launched his 26th home run of the year on a grand slam. By hitting the grand slam, he was able to set a few records in the process. Edwin is the first Jay with three home runs and a grand slam at the same time. He is also the first player in franchise history to record an extra base hit and RBI in seven consecutive games.

By the end of the game, he now has hit nine homers in his last ten games. He now ties the top of the list with the most RBI in a game. The spot was previously held by Roy Howell (1977) followed by Adam Lind during the 2009 season with eight. With so much history made in front of a sold out crowd of 46,000, the Jays faithful paid homage to Edwin’s last home run by tossing hats in the outfield.

When it comes to a team stat made today as well, today’s game was the 21st time the Jays have scored 10 or more runs in a game this season. They are also the only team to have scored over 700 runs thus far. 28 other teams have yet to score 600. The only team to have more then 600 hits is the New York Yankees.

The Jays will send Mark Buehrle to the mound as the blue birds will look to sweep the Tigers.

Blue Jays Sweep Twins

Tensions were high Thursday night at the Rogers Centre as the Blue Jays looked to sweep the Minnesota twins in their four game finale. Heading into tonight’s game, the Jays stood two games ahead of the Twins in the AL Wild Card standings. The club looked to expand that lead with a W over the Twins. The Jays took the past three games 5-1, 3-1, and 9-7 and sought a 4-game sweep.

The Jays took an early 4-0 lead after three innings of work. Shortly after, thanks to a fan interruption as well as a home run, the Twins came back and cut the lead to 4-2. The floodgates then opened in the bottom of the fifth in which Buehrle got a lot of offensive support, including what should have been a bunt single from Ben Revere, which turned into a triple due to a throwing error. They would then add one in the sixth, to take a 9-2 lead. Buehrle gave up a home run in the top of the seventh, making it 9-3, which is where the game would finish. Mark Buehrle improved his record to 12-5 on the year.

TORONTO, CANADA - AUGUST 6: Mark Buehrle #56 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB game action against the Minnesota Twins on August 6, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mark Buehrle

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Fans in the stadium were seen with signs stating, “We may never lose again.” Although it is a bit of a stretch, with the way the club has been hitting, it may be hard to stop the chemistry they’ve got going for them right now. In the last eleven games, the Blue Jays’ starting pitching has only allowed three runs or less. The reason? Simply because the starting pitchers have been able to stretch out the innings they pitch in to help the cause. This gives the bullpen a bit of a rest and not as much work to do.

The ball club will now head to Yankee Stadium to start a quick, pivotal three game road trip before coming back to the Rogers Centre Tuesday night to face the Athletics.