Toronto Blue Jays Highlights & Lowlights: The Bullpen Did A Thing…. A Good Thing!

 

The Toronto Blue Jays evened the series with the Rays this afternoon with four scoreless innings of work from the bullpen.

 

 

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After wasting another quality start from the arm of Marcus Stroman last night, the Toronto Blue Jays took the field this afternoon attempting to square the series with the Rays. Left-hander, Francisco Liriano, took the ball for the home team, his first start against Tampa Bay since his implosion during his first start of 2017. His counterpart for the afternoon would be Matt Andriese, also making his second start against Toronto this season.

 

Toronto Blue Jays:  4 R,  6 H,  1 E
Tampa Bay Ray:  1 R,  5 H,  1 E

 

Lineups:

 

Blue Jays

Rays

 

Highlights

 

The Blue Jays got on the board first again this afternoon when a run was gifted to them by shortstop, Tim Beckham. A two-out ground ball off the bat of Kendrys Morales was tossed into left field when a simple throw to first would have sufficed. Jose Bautista took advantage and came all-the-way around to score.

 

Justin Smoak (single) and Russell Martin (double) put together back-to-back one-out hits to put the Blue Jays back in the lead in the bottom of the fourth, 2-1.

 

With Liriano battling in the sixth inning, and his pitch count getting elevated, a Coghlan error on a tailor-made double play, with no out, got him lifted from the game. This time the Blue Jays were saved by an excellent performance from Joe Biagini. He came in with runners on first and second, no out, and proceeded to get the first two outs by the way of strikeout, and got Logan Morrison to hit into a 4-3 ground out. The 2-1 lead remained intact.

 

Liriano’s final line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, ER, 4 BB, 6 K, on 99 pitches. He has quietly lowered his season’s ERA to 3.97 since his disastrous first start.

 

After Jose Bautista lead-off the inning with a walk, and a stolen base, Justin Smoak went to work. With his third hit of the game, Smoak, launched his fourth homerun of the season to give Toronto a 4-1. This one travelled 437 ft to dead centrefield.

 

The bullpen lead by the two Joe’s, Biagini (2 IP, 0 R), Joe Smith (1 IP, 0 R), and Roberto Osuna (1 IP, 0 R, SV) closed the door behind a strong start by Liriano for a much needed win.

 

Lowlights

 

Back-to-back walks from Liriano put him behind the eight ball to start the inning. The third hitter of the inning, Jesue Sucre, singled to right-field to score Tim Beckham. Was originally called out, but replay had it overturned. If anything positive came from the situation it’s that Jose Bautista’s powerful arm seems to be just fine this year, even if the power in his bat has gone into witness protection.

 

With two outs in the bottom of the second, Chris Coghlan, was picked off going back into second base. With him already in scoring position, this is the type of play that has been killing the Blue Jays early this season.

 

Noteworthy

 

  • Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson, both on disabled list, at the moment, took batting practice on the field this afternoon. Both will be heading to Dunedin to continue their rehab after the game tomorrow.
  • Aaron Sanchez will start tomorrow. will have him on a pitch limit but he can throw curve without restrictions – Ben Nicholson-Smith 
  • J.A. Happ took a step forward in his recovery from elbow inflammation today. Under the watch of pitching coach, Pete Walker, Happ made 30-40 throws from up to 75 feet. He didn’t go all out, but it was an encouraging sign since his last session on April 20th didn’t go as expected.

 

Player of the Game

 

 

 

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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.

W Black

Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.