The Toronto Blue Jays followed up their rough first week of the season with an equally bad second week. The Jays once again went 1-5 to fall to 2-10 on the year. There is still 150 games left on the season, but anyone can see that the Jays are not playing well. On top of that, there was even more bad news as Aaron Sanchez and Josh Donaldson were put on the 10 day DL and JA Happ left his start with an apparent elbow injury. Lets recap the Jays week and try and figure out what they can do to improve in week three.
The Jays started off the week with two home games against the Milwaukee Brewers. JA Happ had a less than stellar start, only lasting 4.2 innings, giving up four earned runs on nine hits. On offense, the Jays managed only five hits and they all came from Kendrys Morales and Troy Tulowitzki. Tulowitzki also knocked in all three runs for the Jays, and they came up short, losing 4-3. In game two of the series, Marcus Stroman was on the mound, and he was more than impressive. Stroman pitched his heart out pitching a complete game, giving up two earned runs, but still taking the loss. The Brewers Chase Anderson was equally impressive, going seven innings, giving up only three hits and striking out seven. The Jays never really threatened, as they only got three runners into scoring position, and they wasted on of Stroman’s best starts of his career so far.
The Jays stayed at home for four games against their division rivals, the Baltimore Orioles. Francisco Liriano followed up a rough first start with an impressive second outing. He lasted 6.2 innings, giving up two earned runs, but struck out 10 Orioles. Once again, the Jays wasted a quality start and only managed one run against Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, and fell 2-1. In game two of the series Aaron Sanchez was on the mound for the Jays, and had a less than stellar outing, giving up five runs in 5.1 innings, including three home runs. The Jays offense kind of showed up, as they put across four runs, including a Justin Smoak two-run home-run. However, it wasn’t enough, and Baltimore took game two 6-4.
In game three of the series the Jays finally had something to cheer about, as they pick dup their second win of the season. Marco Estrada was spectacular, pitching seven shutout innings while striking out eight. The Blue Jays took a 1-0 lead into the ninth on a Darwin Barney RBI single in the seventh, however a Johnathon Schoop sacrifice fly off of Jays closer Roberto Osuna tied the game at one heading into the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Kendrys Morales hit his second home-run of the season, and the Jays won in a walk-off, 2-1, which gave the Jays their second win of the year. JA Happ was back on the mound for the Jays in game four, however he left after 4.1 innings with an apparent elbow injury. Happy had kept the Jays in the game, giving up only one run to that point. However, reliever Ryan Tepera was shelled in the sixth, giving up four earned runs and only getting one out. Then in the eighth, reliever Matt Dermody was hit equally hard, giving up five earned runs while getting only one out. The Jays got a couple of runs at the end of the game, with a Tulowitzki RBI single in the eighth and a Kevin Pillar two-run home-run in the ninth, however it was not enough, and they ended up dropping their 10th game of the year, 11-4.
Coming up this week, the Jays get three at home against division rival Boston Red Sox and then head out west for what will be a tough four game series against the Los Angeles Angels. It’s no secret that the Jays are not playing well, and the reason they only have two wins on the year is mostly because of the poor hitting. Toronto is last in the league with 34 hits and second last in the league with seven home runs. The team is hitting a combined .212, which is good for tied third worst in all of baseball. With runners in scoring position, the Jays are hitting only .155. The Jays have got to start hitting if they want to win, or else this is going to be a long season. It doesn’t get any easier when their best player, Josh Donaldson, is on the DL. If you are looking for a silver lining to all of this, it could be that the Jays are in most of these games, and the games are generally low scoring. They just need to come up with a couple of key hits to change the outcome, and eventually those hits will come.
I don’t want to be that guy who calls it a season after only two weeks, but it goes without saying that the Jays need to win more than one game a week become competitive again. This week will be a big one for the Jays, as they can make up some ground in the division if the can take at least two from Boston. If the starting pitching remains solid and the offense picks up a few key hits, especially with runners in scoring position, the Jays could begin to work their way back into the division picture.