Blue Jays notes: Injury updates, free runners sink Price


The beauty of avoiding the Wild Card game is that a day-one dud like Thursday’s can quickly be turned around. The Blue Jays will look to do exactly that when Marcus Stroman faces off against Cole Hamels in an early afternoon start today.

On the injury front, expect to hear some concrete updates on both Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista by mid-morning. Bautista, who exited the game in the eighth inning, was reportedly dealing with cramping and tightness in his hamstring. We’ve seen this before with Bautista, and manager John Gibbons expressed some optimism that he’ll be able to return tomorrow.

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If Bautista isn’t right in warm-ups, Dalton Pompey would start in his place. Unless, of course, we’d all be open to another episode of Chris Colabello‘s Wacky Outfield Emporium (I kid). I suppose the possibility exists that Bautista could start as the designated hitter with Edwin Encarnacion taking over at first base, but that’s not ideal by any means.

With Donaldson, the initial reports prior to the game ending were that he’d passed initial MLB concussion protocols. Even if he steps back on the field at 100% tomorrow, it’s important that we recognize passing these initial tests do not put a player completely in the clear. Despite the absolute dumb— comments from Pete Rose, this isn’t an issue of toughness or playing through it, like Bautista’s issue may be.

This initial optimism, at the very least, should leave us confident that Donaldson won’t be forced to miss an extended period of time. Substituting out an injured player from the 25-man roster removes them from that entire series and deems them ineligible for the next.

There’s also been a great deal of debate surrounding the start from David Price, the popular opinion being that his extended rest left him out of sorts or over-throwing. That may well be the case, but after a night’s sleep, let’s leave that one in yesterday.

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What those mistakes from Price did show us, though, is that Texas is willing and able to push the envelope on the bases. Toronto’s pitchers have been the best in baseball at shutting down the run game in the second half, especially with great defensive seasons from Russell Martin and Marco Estrada. Straight steals may still be rare, but the hit-and-run worked to their clear benefit in game one.

With that in mind, control becomes priority number one. Both of Price’s hit batsmen, Rougned Odor and Rougned Odor, came around to score. In a two-run loss, you can draw a fairly straight line to the end result.

Given the presence of Hamels in game two and the ability for postseason teams to drive hard matchups from their bullpen, these free base runners can leave Toronto behind the eight ball very early. Thankfully, from other side of the field, Brett Cecil and Aaron Sanchez looked fantastic in relief. Here’s hoping their efforts are in a hold and set-up role this afternoon.

Stay tuned to Jays Journal on Twitter throughout the morning and rest of the series for up-to-the-minute news on health and lineups. Nobody said this was going to be easy!

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