Toronto Blue Jays Highlights & Lowlights: Stroman Shines as Astros Get Rained On

 

After splitting the first two games of their series against the Astros, the Toronto Blue Jays got a great start from Marcus Stroman

 

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The Toronto Blue Jays looked to head into the All Star break on a positive note. The way they’ve played this year, a series split would be positive enough against the Astros. So, a win today would help them at least earn a split. If you’re looking to get your swag back, sending Marcus Stroman is the guy to send to the mound. His Royal Swagness did his best to deliver, despite worry over a blister, which would be “downgraded” to a hot spot, if you’re interested in following that narrative.

 

Houston Astros:  2 R,  7 H,  0 E
Toronto Blue Jays:  7 R,  8 H,  0 E

 

 

Starting Pitching Matchup

 

Lineups:

 

Highlights:

 

In the third inning, Stroman looked to be in trouble with a runner on first and third, but then this happened:

 

This huge play by Donaldson kept the score at 1-0 and allowed Stroman to get out of the inning on the next batter.

 

The bottom of the fifth inning featured more Donaldson goodness. After a Jose Bautista hit by pitch, Russell Martin collected the team’s first hit of the game (Yup, the 5th inning). Donaldson stepped to the plate and launched a 3 run job to left center field. That gave the Blue Jays a 3-1 lead. It was also his 150th career home run.

 

After a rocky start to the game, Stroman settled in to give the Blue Jays exactly what they needed. He would go 7 innings, giving up 6 hits, 3 walks, an earned run, while striking out 6. Again, early on, he wasn’t on top of his game, finding it hard to hit the zone, but once he got in his groove, well:

 

After a Martin single and a Donaldson walk in the 7th inning, your All Star, Justin Smoak stepped up and delivered a double off the wall that scored one run. Manager, John Gibbons, came out to have the umpiring crew check to see if it was a home run (it was difficult to see in the shadows in the outfield), but it wasn’t and the lead was just 4-1.

 

That put runners on second and third. It looked bleak as Morales struck out, but current ‘no good-declining-overpaid-trash’ short stop, Troy Tulowitzki stepped up and delivered three more runs with his 9th bomb of the year.

 

Lowlights:

 

Stroman was having difficulty finding the zone in the first inning. He was all around the zone as he threw 26 pitches, which yielded 2 walks. The second inning saw him give up back to back singles to Brian McCann and Yuli Gurriel. Both were hard hit singles at 105.5 mph and 104.7 mph respectively.

 

The walks caught up with Stroman in the 3rd as he let Norichika Aoki walk his way aboard and George Springer launched a double off the wall. That gave the Astros a 1-0 lead.

 

Mike Fiers had trouble finding the strike zone in the first inning. After Jose Bautista struck out to lead off the game, which was more to do with him than Fiers, Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson were issued back to back free passes, but Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales failed to do anything about that.

 

In fact, through the first three innings, the Blue Jays offense failed to capitalize on a shaky Fiers. After two walks and a balk in the third, Smoak struck out (not on a curveball) and the scoreboard failed to enjoy the touch of Toronto’s hand.

 

Joe Biagini made his return to the bullpen in the 9th inning. With his team up 7-1, he was able to get some game action. With two out, he challenged Marwin Gonzalez with a fastball, which didn’t go the way he would have liked as it was deposited in the right field seats for an insignificant second run for the Astros. It was still 7-2 Blue Jays.

 

Noteworthy:

 

  • The Blue Jays turned 4 double plays on the day, a sign of Stroman’s groundball ability.

 

 

Player of the Game:

 

 

 

 

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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.

Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.