The Toronto Blue Jays took to the field on Wednesday with their season on the line, needing a win to force a deciding game 3
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When the Blue Jays signed free agent LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu to a 4 year, $80 contract, the hope was that they would have him to pitch in games as big as this one.
They might not have believed it would happen in year one; yet in the craziness that is the 2020 season, here we are.
Here is Charlie Montoyo‘s starting line up as he looked to avoid elimination:
— Toronto Blue Jays – x (@BlueJays) September 30, 2020
Left handed batting Travis Shaw and Joe Panik return to the lineup vs RHP Tyler Glasnow for the Rays. Toronto’s biggest challenge in yesterday’s 3-1 loss was lack of scoring. They managed 5 hits yesterday. Rowdy Tellez and Alejandro Kirk who had a hit each, begin the game on the bench.
The plan, in holding Ryu back to start game 2 instead of game 1 was that he might do better on 5 days rest instead of the more typical 4. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
He lasted only 1.2 innings, giving up 7 runs, 3 earned on 8 hits with 1 walk and 3 strikeouts. Ryu clearly didn’t have his good stuff on this day. Making matters worse was the second of two errors by shortstop Bo Bichette which loaded the bases on what should have been the third out. The next batter, Hunter Renfroe hit a grand slam which made the score 7-0 and spelling the end of the outing for Ryu.
The Rays never looked back.
Rays DH Randy Arozarena also chipped in going 3 for 4 with 2 doubles and a walk.
On a positive note for the Jays, rookie Nate Pearson made his MLB playoff debut in the 4th and had a 1,2,3 inning, striking out the side. He went 2 scoreless, no hit innings with no walks and 5 strikeouts.
Danny Jansen accounted for the Jays scoring with two solo home runs, both off of Glasnow.
Rays 8 runs on 12 hits and 0 errors
Jays 2 runs on 7 hits and 2 errors.
The Jays head in to the off season.
We all know that 2020 was expected to be the second year of a rebuild for the Jays. Even though they didn’t manage to win a playoff game, they still exceeded expectations just to get as far as they did.
A 60 game sprint is very different than the 162 game marathon the baseball world is used to in a non-COVID regular season. We have no way of knowing how every team would have done if they had played the usual 162.
But just for fun, I looked at the final winning percentages of each team and projected what those would have meant over 162 games. It would have given the Jays a record of 86-76. That’s a 19 game improvement over the 67-95 mark they put up just one year earlier.
I expect them to be very active this off season, making whatever moves they deem necessary to continue and improve upon their 2020 success. Hopefully everyone can stay healthy in 2021 and beyond.
I have no doubt whatsoever that they will be back here again. They will continue developing, use what they learned from this year’s playoff failure, together with reinforcements, and go deeper in to future postseasons.
For this young and talented group, the best is yet to come.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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