Toronto Blue Jays Hilights and Lowlights: Back In the Win Column!

 

The Blue Jays jumped on 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello early and that proved to be enough to earn a 3-0 shutout win with the help of Francisco Liriano.

 

 

Red Sox 0 R, 6 H, 2 E

Blue Jays – 3 R,6  H, 1 E

 

Lineups

 

Ezequiel Carrera‘s  home run from Tuesday night left an impression with manager John Gibbons, as if the scrappy outfielder needed any extra brownie points. As a result the congenial lefty batted second in Wednesday’s lineup versus Red Sox starter and much-disputed 2016 Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, knocking offseason acquisition Steve Pearce from the lineup.

 

Highlights

 

The Jays are starting to get runners on base, which might be less a sign of the bats heating up and more of a “things are finally starting to break their way” thing. Taking advantage of the Red Sox defense (a clank job from Mitch Moreland and a wild throw from garburator Pablo Sandoval) in the bottom of the second, the Jays jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on a Darwin Barney single.

 

Francisco Liriano located extremely well tonight, even catching a few borderline calls. As a result, Liriano was able to limit his pitch count and keep batters from reaching base via the walk, which is what he needs to do to be successful. He also had his slider snapping, using it to strike out Mookie Betts in the fourth inning. This is actually a pretty big deal, as Betts hadn’t struck out in 129 plate appearances.

 

 

Manager John Gibbons lifted Lirano (90 pitches) at the perfect time for Joe Biagini, who only needed two pitches to induce Hanley Ramirez to bounce into a double play. As a whole the bullpen was excellent, with Biagini, Grilli and Roberto Osuna combining for 3.2 scoreless innings.

 

The defense was solid again, despite a harmless bobble from Troy Tulowitzki and an unfortunate female fan who (didn’t actually) interfere with a pop up to Justin Smoak and was subsequently greeted vociferously by some of the Blue Jays faithful.

 

Lowlights

 

Russell Martin‘s pitch-calling as a whole was good, but the waste pitches need to stop when Liriano is on the hill. As someone who has frequent problems with control, and wasted ball does nothing to help the cause. By waste pitch, I mean getting ahead in the count and intentionally calling a high fastball. It didn’t hurt tonight, and maybe its’s a feel thing from Martin for when Liriano is on, but it’s dangerous play that the team cannot afford right now.

 

Jose Bautista is still riding the Interstate and now batting just .128. Not only is he not hitting, but he’s not getting on base (.276) and isn’t providing productive outs. He’s been incredibly “un-clutch”, earning a -0.69 from Fangraphs in that metric.

 

The Dome sapped what could have been home runs from Russell Martin, Justin Smoak and others on Wednesday night. The twitter consensus was that five harmless fly outs were likely long gone in an open Dome.

 

Jason Grilli is becoming terrifying at the back end of the bullpen. While he got two outs from the bottom of the order and a lucky bounce off his own cleat, Grilli allowed the tying runs to reach base in the eighth. Of course, he managed to get one of the world’s best hitters to quietly bounce out to Troy Tulowitzki to end the threat.

 

Noteworthy

  • The Blue Jays aren’t 100% sure on their path to this weekend’s starters in Anaheim, slots left void by the DL stints from J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez:

  • Angel Pagan Will Not Save the Blue Jays. The 35-year old Pagan will sit out the entire 2017 campaign and potentially sign with a team for 2018, citing devotion to his family. Pagan reportedly turned down at least two major-league offers and a pile of minor-league contracts.
  • It’s never too early to speculate on the Blue Jays 2018 First Round Draft Pick, so here’s a quick primer on next year’s draft class from Pefect Game.
  • If you’re any fan of the human side of baseballers, you’ll need to check out Toronto Life’s profile of Josh Donaldson. It is simply amazing.

 

Player of the Game

If you haven’t yet, please vote for your Player of the Game for Wednesday, April 19th:

 

 

 

 

 

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Roy’s earliest memories all involve baseball from the early 90’s and the Blue Jays dream teams. He became a Blue Jays fan while watching Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green evolve in Syracuse, NY at the run-down confines of MacArthur Stadium, nestled between highway and swamp. A lifelong baseball player, Roy still plays (P, C, 2B, 3B) in the 25+ Syracuse MSBL for the Liverpool Mets. He watches almost all games with his best buddy Sebastian, a five year old Pug, who could care less.

Roy-Z

Roy’s earliest memories all involve baseball from the early 90’s and the Blue Jays dream teams. He became a Blue Jays fan while watching Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green evolve in Syracuse, NY at the run-down confines of MacArthur Stadium, nestled between highway and swamp. A lifelong baseball player, Roy still plays (P, C, 2B, 3B) in the 25+ Syracuse MSBL for the Liverpool Mets. He watches almost all games with his best buddy Sebastian, a five year old Pug, who could care less.