Jays Fall to Rangers in Round Three


                   (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 Turn Things Around, Win Tampa Series


               (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.

AL East Champs Go 2-2

Brian Blanco/Getty Images

                      Brian Blanco/Getty Images

It’s 2016 and baseball has returned for the defending AL East division champions. The Toronto Blue Jays started their season opening in St. Petersburg, as they would play guest to the Tampa Bay Rays. Toronto would take the first two games of the series, winning both contest’s 5-3. Stroman and R.A. Dickey would both be rewarded with the victory for their efforts. Things then became interesting during Tuesday night’s game three.

During the first three games, the Jays would strike out 36 times, leaving 12 batters on base, and would have game three end in a controversial setting. Heading into the ninth inning, Toronto would trail the Rays, 3-2. Having one out, and Bautista on first, Edwin would hit a grounder to Longoria who would initially throw a 5-4-3 play, but Logan Forsythe would throw the ball away, which would land Toronto two runs to take a 4-3 lead. Tampa would challenge the call on the field, and after further review, it showed the Bautista broke the new sliding rule when he put out his arm and touched the foot of Forsythe, which is in violation of said rule. The umpires would then call both Bautista and Encarnacion out on a double play, ending the game, resulting in a Tampa Bay Rays victory, giving them their first of the season.

Heading into the fourth and final game of the opening series, the Jays would look to rebound, as they would send former Jay, comeback J.A. Happ to the mound to face off against Matt Moore. Reigning MVP winner Josh Donaldson would get the bats going early, as he would homer a three run shot to give the Jays a lead. Tampa would respond to two runs of their own scoring in the fourth and sixth inning. Nearing the end of the game and looking for a rebound win, Gibbons would send Arnold Leon to the mound to pitch in the bottom of the eighth, with the idea of sending either Storen or Osuna to the mound in the ninth to finish it up. Things didn’t go as planned however, as Leon would give up a home run to Souza Jr., which would score three, giving the Rays a 5-3 lead which would be the difference.

The Canadian boys will now fly home and have an off day Thursday before opening up their first home series this weekend as they play host to David Price and the Boston Red Sox. Stroman will be sent to the mound Friday, followed by Dickey, as they will each be looking for their second wins of the season. Marco Estrada will be sent to the mound for the first time on Sunday, as he will face off against former Blue Jay rental, David Price.

Jays Bats Silent, Buehrle Falls Short in Loss to Rays

ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 4:  Mark Buehrle #56 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the first inning of game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field on October 4, 2015 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mark Buehrie

            (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images) 

In the final game of the 2015 regular season, the Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays would face off one last time. The Rays would be looking to play spoiler for the Jays as a win, and a Kansas City loss, would put the Jays on top for the best record in the American League.

Mark Buehrle would be sent to the hill in what could be his final appearance in the MLB as the 16-year veteran is contemplating retirement during the off-season. Buehrle was standing two innings shy of having another 200IP season. Looking to reach this milestone, Mark would be only the fifth player in MLB history to reach 200+ innings, in 15 consecutive years.

Things did not go as planned in this fairytale ending however. The Tampa Bay Rays would send ten to the plate, scoring nine including a grand slam at the hands of Joey Butler. The grand slam would also be the only GS hit at Tropicana field this season. So Buehrle would fall shy by four outs to reach the historic plateau. After coming to the bench, he was thoroughly thanked by each of his teammates as no one is certain whether he will be returning next season.

The Jays would go on to lose in similar fashion 12-3 as they did earlier this season in the trop at the hands of the Rays. Kansas City would go on to win their contest, ending their season two games ahead of the Jays for best record and home field advantage in the ALCS if the to clubs were to face each other.

“This game is crazy,” stated Buehrle after the game. “I felt great and didn’t get out the first inning. It wasn’t meant to be.” When it comes down to who will start in the playoffs, it is now known that Mark will not be in the rotation. “They’ve already talked to me. It’s tough. We’ve had four guys throwing (the ball well). They made the right decision.”

The Toronto Blue Jays will now have three days off before beginning their ALDS match-up at the Rogers Centre versus the Texas Rangers. The Jays won their regular season matches against the Rangers 4-2. Although it has not been formally announced, it appears that David Price will be the starter for the Jays in Game 1 Thursday as the Rangers look to possibly send Yovani Gallardo to counter.

Jays clinch a playoff spot, 1st since ‘93


               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

Jays Take Game 2, Win 5-1 Over the Orioles

Toronto, Canada - September 5 - during baseball action against the Baltimore Orioles at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on September 5, 2015.

Cole Burston/Getty Images

It was a hot Saturday afternoon in Toronto. That didn’t stop the Jays however from bouncing back from a 10-2 loss Friday night at the hands of the Orioles. In game two, the Jays were lookin for a win before facing the O’s in the finale on Sunday.

Bautista would help get things rolling by launching a solo home run on a 2-2 count. The Jays would then score four more making it a 5-0 game by the start of the sixth. The Orioles would get one on the board in the seventh when Caleb Joseph would single to left, scoring Chris Davis. That’s all they would get though, as they would fall to the Jays 5-1.

A key part of the win for the blue birds was the man on the mound, David Price. Price was not only looking for a win in today’s matchup, but he was also looking for win #100. With seven strong innings pitched, he was able to do just that. Price allowed only one run and three hits over seven shutout innings. The left-hander walked four, matching a season high and striking out eight. Since joining Toronto at the trade deadline, he is 5-1 with an impressive 2.15 ERA.

After the game, there was some scoreboard watching for fans, and more then likely some of the guys in the clubhouse. The Yankees were only half a game back heading into Saturday’s matchups but were facing a loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays in their matchup. Sure enough, things went how they wanted, as the Yankees loss 3-2 putting them back to a game and a half behind the AL East leading Jays.

Both clubs will face off in their respective series finales. For the Jays and Orioles, it will be Marco Estrada (11-8) facing off against the right-hander Chris Tillman (9-10) For the Yankees and Rays; it will be Ivan Nova (5-7) going up against Chris Archer (12-10). Interesting fact, Chris Archer is undefeated at Yankee stadium posting a 3-0 record with a 1.54 ERA in five career starts in the Bronx.