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.


Jays Offence Comes Alive, Takes Series Against The A’s.


                 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.

Jays Look to Rebound, Gain Ground in Upcoming Yankees Series

Michael Irvin/Boston Red Sox

It has been a rough few days for the Toronto Blue Jays. As the club wrapped up their three game series against the AL East basement team, the Boston Red Sox, the Jays were hoping to gain more ground in the east. This would be before heading to New York to face off against the Yankees in a very important September series.

The Red Sox would take game one, winning 11-4 in an impressive game for Red Sox fans, not so much for the Jays faithful. The blue birds would then turn their luck around taking game two 5-1 after the floodgates opened in extra innings scoring four in the tenth. Heading into Wednesday night’s game, they haven’t lost a series in almost a month and it would have been their sixth series win.

Providing the Yankees would lose to the Orioles, the Jays had a positive look in potentially gaining a two and a half game lead, but things didn’t go as planned. The club would get lit up early as Drew Hutchison who would only go 3.1 innings, would give up six ER off six hits before getting pulled in replacement of Liam Hendriks. Things would not get better for the Jays as they would only score one run in the fourth, before the Red Sox would score 6 more by the sixth inning making it a 10-1 lead. Delabar would be responsible fore letting in four runs in after coming in for Hendriks.

When all was said and done, the Toronto club would go through five bullpen pitchers, in hopes of keeping it close and winning, but that was not the case. The Jays faithful would then turn their scoreboard watching to New York and would be relieved to hear that the Yankees lost their contest. Now, heading into the Bronx, the Jays will hope to improve on their 1.5 game lead. This is the second biggest matchup of the year, which everyone has been waiting for. The biggest one though? That will take place in the last week of September when the Yankees come back to Toronto to face the Blue Jays one last time.

David Price will be taking the mound, as the Yanks will send Luis Severino to the mound as his counterpart. Price is also just four innings away from reaching 200 innings pitched this season. He will be looking for win #15, as the Jays will be looking for win #80, and hopefully, going up 2.5 games in the East.

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.