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 Win Series Against Red Sox, Go 12-5 in last 15

Jim Rogash / Getty Images

Jim Rogash / Getty Images

It’s been quite a few weeks for the Toronto Blue Jays. To the cheer of the Blue Jays faithful, the offence has finally been found, which has helped the team go 12-5 in their past 15 games. This weekend was no different as they took on the Boston Red Sox at Fenway.

Things started off Friday night as the knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was lights out. David Price would be the one to try and stand in his way, but would get knocked down early. Dickey would not give up a hit to the Red Sox, until the sixth inning. The Jays would help offensively scoring 2 runs in the top of the first inning, thanks to Edwin Encarnacion. He would send one into the stands in center field scoring Josh Donaldson as well as himself. In the bottom of the inning, Mookie Betts would find himself on base after walking and would eventually score cutting the lead in half. Fast forward to the eighth inning, and the Jays would manage to add two more runs on the board, winning Friday’s contest 5-2.

On Saturday, Marcus Stroman would be sent to the bump as he would look to continue his team’s streak. However, he would soon discover he had been figured out by Boston’s offence, as the Red Sox would score in five consecutive innings. His competition across the field would be Steven Wright. Wright would find his defence putting in the work as a Jay would not see the plate until the top of the fourth inning. The Blue Jays would then score in three consecutive innings, but would still fall short by a pair, losing Saturday afternoon 6-4, managing only four hits through nine innings.

Sunday would be the rubber match. There was a lot of excitement surrounding Sunday’s game as it got started. Marco Estrada would be on the hill for the Jays as he would face off against the young gun, Eduardo Rodriguez. The Jays offence would be a major factor, but not because of singles, doubles, or even triples. Jose Bautista started off in the first inning, getting a hold of one and homering in left center field. Heading into the third, Darwin Barney and Encarnacion would both homer respectively, scoring an additional three runs, making it a 4-0 game. It would then be Russell Martin’s turn to fire one into center field, giving the Blue Jays a 5-0 run.

Defensively, Estrada had himself a game. The debatable ace of the team would find himself going into the bottom of the eighth, as he had a no-hitter intact right up until the bottom of the eighth inning before giving up a home run to Chris Young. Young’s home run would then light a fire on Boston’s bench. Leading 5-1 going into the ninth, and just three outs away from a win, Roberto Osuna would come in for the ninth. David Ortiz would hit a line drive, scoring Dustin Pedroia. Hanley Ramirez then doubled, scoring Rusney Castillo. Jackie Bradley Jr. then singled, scoring Ramirez, but that is all that would take place as the Jays would be able to hold on, and win the series 2/3.

The Blue Jays now head into Detroit to start a three games series at Comerica Park. J.A. Happ (6-2) will be sent to the mound as his opponent will be Michael Fulmer (5-1).

Jays Fall to Rangers in Round Three

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                   (AP / Richard W. Rodriguez)

In the last meeting of 2016 between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers, a massive controversial event took place in Arlington. Things started to get heated Sunday night when the Rangers Matt Bush hit Jose Bautista to start of the eighth inning.

During Bautista’s last plate appearance, the Rangers decided it was time to get back at the creator of the bat flip. Originally Bautista would walk to first and not react. Once on base however, that’s where things began to escalate. When Justin Smoak grounded out to Adrian Béltre, who would flip the ball to Rougned Odor, Bautista would slide into second base hard almost taking out Odor. With a quick step, Odor managed to dodge what could have been a devastating slide, but he wouldn’t step down and move on. What took place next is what people will be talking about at the water coolers at work tomorrow morning.

Odor would shove Bautista and throw a massive punch right square into Bautista’s jaw that started an all out bench clearing brawl. When Josh Donaldson came out to support his teammate, he almost received the same fate as Bautista as Odor tried to punch him in defense. Once the smoke cleared, we could see John Gibbons, who had already been ejected from the game, come back onto the field to help provide some guidance to his team and separate them so they could go back to the game. On his way out, he would have some words for the Rangers bench boss Jeff Banister. Both managers would see themselves to the clubhouse for the rest of the game which a suspension looming on Gibbons for coming back out to the field.

Jose Bautista said after the game, “I had a hard slide at 2B. I could have injured him, I chose not to…tried to send a message that I didn’t appreciate getting hit.”

Once things settled, and both clubs and their fans just wanted the game to end before more wood was put into the fire, Jesse Chavez would hit Prince Fielder on the first throw. Chavez would automatically get ejected from the game and the benches would clear once more. This time there were no punches thrown, and players went back to their respective dugouts quite quickly.

Now comes the question for the night. Will both Bautista and Odor get suspended for their actions? Bautista with the illegal slide and Odor for the punch to the face. Some could argue that Bautista was trying to intentionally take out Odor and end his season. On the other side, Odor could have put Bautista on the DL with a broken jaw as he became very aggressive and clocked Jose in the face. How will one determine who should get suspended and if so, how long?

Yes, Bautista’s revenge wasn’t within the new guidelines the MLB put out this year in regards to sliding to prevent injury, but this is baseball. If Bautista and the Jays wanted to get revenge, they should have done it on the scoreboard, winning the game. Instead, they fell 7-6 after all was said and done. The Jays had a big sixth inning thanks to Jose, but would still fall short.

It will be interesting to see who the manager will be for Monday night’s game as I’ve said, Gibbons will be suspended for his re-appearance on the field in Arlington. First base coach Tim Leiper may also face suspension as he popped up into the dugout to witness the brawl, but was smart enough to not run onto the field. The Blue Jays will now head back to Toronto for a series against the Tampa Bay Rays starting Monday. J.A. Happ will face off against Drew Smyly.

Jays Bats Come Alive in Series Finale Against Texas

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

        (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

The Toronto Blue Jays would say goodbye to the Texas Rangers Thursday evening, hoping to send them off with a loss. After winning the previous two games with back-to-back walk-off wins, the Jays would look to keep rolling, with the hopes of having more of an offensive attack.

After Prince Fielder would score Adrian Beltre to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Blue Jays would respond, and in a heavy way. With a pair of singles and a double from Edwin Encarnacion, the Toronto fans would see Toronto get five runs cross the plate. Kevin Pillar would see the plate twice in the first, as Derek Holland would face off against every batter in the line-up.

In the bottom of the third, there would be more runs scored, once again in Toronto’s favour. Pillar would start back up at the dish, hitting a two run double making it a

7-1 lead for the hometown club. After Jose Bautista would ground into a force-out, scoring Ezequiel Carrera, Encarnacion would be back up to the plate. He would decide to take his parrot for a run, homering a three run shot to left field, making it an 11-1 lead.

Things would remain quiet until the Jays added an extra one in the eighth, as Justin Smoak would hit in Josh Donaldson. Ryan Tepera would come in to pitch to close out the game in the ninth, The Rangers would get a run in, scoring Mitch Moreland, but would not be able to power through. The Jays would send the Rangers out of Toronto, winning the series on a much-needed offensive night. J.A. Happ would pick up his fourth win of the season. Holland would lose his second game of the season.

Friday evening, the Blue Jays will welcome in the L.A. Dodgers in a three game set. Marcus Stroman will be sent to the hill, as he will search for his fifth win to keep his undefeated season going. The Dodgers will send Kenta Maeda as the counter in search of stopping the Jays winning streak. First pitch takes place at 7:07PM EST.

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.

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.