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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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).

Blue Jays Unable to Complete Sweep at AT&T

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The Toronto Blue Jays headed into extra innings for the third time this season, as they would look to sweep the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Wednesday afternoon.

Marcus Stroman would be sent to the hill in search of his fifth win of the season. The Giants would send Madison Bumgarner as he was in search of his fifth win as well. In the bottom of the second, the Giants would get on the board first as Gregor Blanco doubled to right, scoring Brandon Crawford. Conor Gillaspie would also see the plate, as he would reach home safely on a groundout by Denard Span.

Once Josh Donaldson reached base, he would find his opportunity and steal third. Donaldson reached home helping his team get on the board scoring on a groundout after Crawford would throw out Edwin Encarnacion at first. That wouldn’t be enough however as the Giants added a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. The Jays needed to get something going. In the eighth, the scales would start to tip in Toronto’s favour.

After loading the bases, Russell Martin earned an opportunity to decrease the deficit the Jays faced. Martin hit a sacrifice fly to Hunter Pence in right field, managing to score Donaldson. Encarnacion would move up to third. Justin Smoak would be sent in as a pinch hitter for Darwin Barney. The Giants would bring in Josh Osich to face Smoak, but would give up a single to right, scoring Encarnacion.

Down by a run in the ninth, Santiago Casilla would come in to close out the game. His first batter he would face would be Michael Saunders. On a full count, Saunders homered to center field, tying up the game at four runs each. The Giants would see their three run lead fade away in front of them, ultimately sending this game into extra innings. This would be the fifth game in extras for the Giants and third for the Jays.

In the 13th-inning, Ryan Tepera would be the sixth pitcher to come into the game from the bullpen. After a pitch hit Brandon Belt, Denard Span hit a sacrifice bunt plus a fielder’s choice moving Belt to second. Tepera would throw a wild pitch moving both runners up. The Jays would elect to intentionally walk Joe Panik loading the bases for Buster Posey.

Tepera would find himself struggling, as he ultimately would walk Posey, scoring Belt and ending the game. The Jays unable to sweep the Giants and would fall back to .500. “We missed some opportunities but our guys battled to even come back,” said Blue Jays manger John Gibbons. “To come back and tie that thing, it was just one of those games, you burn through everybody to get to that point. But, yeah, you never want to lose a game on a walk.” (Quote provided by Gregor Chisholm & Chris Haft/MLB.com)

The Toronto Blue Jays (18-18) will now have a day off before heading to Arlington to face off against the Texas Rangers (20-15). The two clubs will see each other for a three game series starting Friday night. R.A. Dickey will start Friday night for the Jays as Martín Pérez will start for Texas. Both pitchers are in search of their second victories of the season.

Stroman Stays Hot, Jays Rally Past Jays 4-2

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

       (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) 

After going 1-1 in the first two games against the Yankees, the Blue Jays would look to rally Thursday night for the first series win of 2016. Marcus Stroman would be sent to the hill to help his team get a much-needed win, and for Stroman, to continue his tremendous start this season.

Things remained quiet during the first four innings of the game. During the top of the fourth, Stroman would run into some trouble as Alex Rodríguez would be hit by a pitch, followed up by a single to right from Teixeira. Brian McCann would then load the bases for Carlos Beltrán. He would hit in a run off a fielders choice and after Stroman threw a wild pitch, Yankees would get another man in, making it a 2-0 game.

Skip forward to the bottom of the 5th, after Martin and Pillar both found themselves on base, the MVP would head to the dish and do what he does best. Donaldson with two on, and two out would crush a home run deep into the 2nd deck of the Rogers Centre straight into center field, which would give the Jays the lead, 3-2. Troy Tulowitzki would have his turn at the dish in the sixth, giving some more comfort to the Jays lead by launching his own home run, which would give the jays a two run lead going into the final stretch of the game.

Stroman would refocus himself after his troubles in the fourth, as he retired the final 11 batters he faced, recording 17 ground ball outs with four fly ball outs. When asked about his performance, going 2-0 this year and winning his seventh consecutive decision, he had this to say. “My curveball and slider were very good and so was my sinker. I thought I was locating my sinker. I felt like I was down more than in my last game and the results showed.”

Roberto Osuna came into the game to close it out in the ninth, and ended up sitting down all three batters in order. With Thursday night’s victory, it would send the blue birds back to a .500 season at 5-5.

The Jays will now head to Fenway to start a four game series against the Boston Red Sox. They will be going there looking for some payback after losing 2/3 to them in the home opener this past weekend. R.A. Dickey will be on the hump looking for his second win of the year. The Red Sox will counter with Rick Porcello. Game time is 7:10EST.

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).

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 clinch a playoff spot, 1st since ‘93

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               Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press

The wait is over. After 22 long years, the Toronto Blue Jays will be playing some October baseball. The Jays end the longest drought in North American sports and every single Canadian is behind them.

It was quite an exciting Saturday afternoon at the Rogers Centre, as the Blue Jays would face off against the Tampa Bay Rays in game two of their final regular season series at home. David Price would take the hill, as he would be countered by the Ray’s ace, Chris Archer.

Price would get things started quickly defensively shutting down the first three batters on eleven pitchers. Archer would then hope to do the same but things didn’t go as planned. The Jays offense would make sure to get on top quick. They would end the first inning after scoring five runs thanks to home runs from Bautista and Russell Martin. Head to the third, and that’s where Price would find himself in some trouble as the rays managed to climb back into the game with four runs of their own.

Throughout the entire game, it went back and fourth on the scoreboard as both teams had their bats going. Heading into the top of the ninth, Ryan Tepera would be sent in to close the game as the Jays held a 10-5 lead. However, the Rays were able to get some hits off the right-hander and send him to the bench. Cecil would follow but do the same shortly after. Roberto Osuna, the 20 year old that has been hands down the Jays closer this season would come in and end it off. The Jays took game three with a final of 10-8.

After the game, it was certainly party time in the clubhouse as the boys would cheers to not only another victory, but a note to the fact that they are heading to the postseason. It may just be a wild card spot at least for now, but depending on how the rest of the season goes, there could be another reason to celebrate if they clinch the AL East. The team currently stands four games ahead of their rivals, the New York Yankees for top spot with the magic number standing currently at five.

The Blue Jays will wrap up their home stand of the 2015 season tomorrow afternoon, as Mark Buehrle will take the mound. The Tampa Bay Rays will send Matt Andriese to the hill as first pitch begins at 1:07PM EST