Toronto Blue Jays Highlights & Lowlights: Sanchez Starts Second Half Swell-ly


The Toronto Blue Jays started the second half of the 2017 season with a great start from Aaron Sanchez and a much needed win in Detroit


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The Toronto Blue Jays kicked off the second half of this season by heading into Detroit to take on the Tigers. The hours leading up to the game provided some interesting narratives as a Metallica concert tore up the field and Ian Kinsler and Ryan Goins were missing from their respective lineups. The reactions from each fan base were decidedly different, as you would expect. Neither story amounted to anything. So, we focused on the actual game. Aaron Sanchez got the nod in this one as he would face Justin Verlander.



Toronto Blue Jays:  7 R,  8 H,  1 E
Detroit Tigers:  2 R,  9 H,  1 E



Starting Pitching Matchup






In the second inning, Sanchez ran into a bit of trouble as he gave up a single to J. D. Martinez and two outs later, a double to Andrew Romine, which put runners on second and third, but he managed to wriggle out of trouble. He had run his pitch count up to 35 through the first two innings. Bending, but not breaking sums it up. He didn’t start off his usual crisp self, but it is an improvement over his last start.


It was more of the same in the third inning. Sanchez issued a free pass to Alex Presley to get things going. After striking out Alex Avila, Justin Upton singled and put two runners on for Miguel Cabrera. After a botched double play that would have been tough anyway, Sanchez struck out Martinez to end the threat. But, it was more of the same: the pitch count up to 62. There may have been something up as he seemed to avoid the use of his curveball.


The 5th inning saw the Blue Jays bats finally get to Verlander. Steve Pearce stepped to the plate to lead off the inning and took a 95 mph heater 430 feet to put the team up 1-0. Kevin Pillar followed with an opposite field fly ball that J.D. Martinez dropped. The free double allowed Darwin Barney to move the runner over on a ground out and Jose Bautista promptly stroked a sacrifice fly to bring the score to 2-0. It was an inning where a run was manufactured, which doesn’t happen too often.


Verlander gave up back to back walks to Smoak and Morales with one out in the 6th, which finished his night. Toronto worked him for 114 pitches on the night. After a Pearce single, Kevin Pillar worked a walk (that’s right!) out of reliever, Shane Greene, to plate the third run for Toronto. Barney worked himself a walk, or so it appeared. But, ball 4 was called a strike and the threat ended.


Sanchez’ night got better and better as he went on. As the game progressed, he started mixing in more of his beauty curveball and it got him through much longer than it looked like he might. Through 6 innings, he’d thrown 101 pitches and not given up an earned run. He would be replaced by Danny Barnes in the 7th. Sanchez’ final line: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K


Jose Bautista started the second half off nicely with his 15th home run of the season. It was a solo shot that gave his team a 4-1 lead. After tying George Bell in All Time RBI, this homer broke the tie. As much as he hasn’t seemed himself this season, he is still quietly making his mark on this organization. Josh Donaldson followed a Martin ground out with a walk as did Justin Smoak, but a Kendrys Morales double play ended the inning without any more damage.


The 8th inning saw Pearce pick up a single (his 3rd hit of the night) to open up the frame, which Pillar followed with his second walk of the game (He would have 3 on the night!!!). Bautista got in on the walk parade to load the bases for Martin with 2 out. The Bautista walk was the 8th issued by the Tigers on the night. Up to that point, the Blue Jays only had 6 hits. The 9th walk of the game sent Martin to first and scored Toronto’s 5th run of the night. With the bases loaded, Donaldson would strike a single to left, which scored two more. 7-1 Good Guys.




The Blue Jays bats were a bit of a disappointment in the early innings. Verlander was giving them enough to work with, but they couldn’t quite figure out how to put good contact on the ball.


The Tigers half of the 5th inning saw a cheap infield single from Jose Iglesias and then another single from Presley, which put runners on the corners with no one out. The next batter, Avila, lined out to Josh Donaldson, who had a chance to double off Presley at first. But, in typical Blue Jays fashion, the throw was in the dirt and the ball got away from Justin Smoak, which allowed Iglesias to score. 2-1 Blue Jays. Sanchez did well to get out of the inning with a double play from Cabrera.


I guess we could put this down as a Lowlight. It should probably be mentioned, even though it really didn’t mean a hole lot. Pitching in the ninth inning, Jeff Beliveau surrendered a solo home run to Romine that made it 7-2




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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.