As the Toronto Blue Jays embark on the final month of their season, here are some stories you might have missed from the past few days…
The year of Marcus Stroman
For The Star, Brendan Kennedy recently wrote an excellent piece on Marcus Stroman and the year that’s been. Great performances from J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez, and Marco Estrada have overshadowed struggles from the young right-hander that entered the season as the staff ace, but as he tells Kennedy, Stroman is getting by with a little help from his friends.
He talks of his relationship with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who has helped him to “deal with the emotions of baseball” and shared “life talks” with him. With such vastly different personalities, the balance here makes sense.
“September I feel like is my best month,” he told Kennedy. “So I feel like I’m going to really turn it on here.”
Jays Nest Podcast
In case you missed Thursday’s day-late episode of The Jays Nest Podcast with Shaun Doyle of Jays From the Couch and myself, here’s another opportunity to listen in. We discuss the September that lies ahead, the #BlueJays re-acquisition of Dioner Navarro, and much more.
You can subscribe to the show on your Apple or Android device using the links below, or if you prefer to use Google Play, we’ve now got an option for that HERE.
“…It’s not like they have a whole lot of alternatives if it doesn’t look like a fit, so that’s probably his ultimate destiny this season anyway,” Stoeten wrote, and I couldn’t agree more. The Blue Jays have a door sitting wide open for the role of the second lefty behind Brett Cecil, and even despite his rough bullpen debut last night in Tampa Bay, Liriano has a shot.
In support of Cecil
On Friday, Blue Jays’ general manager Ross Atkins appeared on The Fan 590’s Jeff Blair Show where he expressed some real optimism in Brett Cecil, whose bullpen struggles have left the Jays exposed at times without a dominant left-hander.
“Cecil’s velocity is better, his breaking ball has looked better, subjectively,” Atkins told Blair. “His usage of his changeup has been something that has almost hurt him, but the fact that it’s there and is a weapon to be used and how he uses it and how he uses certain pitches I think is something he’s going to be focused on and looking to do a better job with.”
For months, it’s been easy to overlook Cecil’s struggles and expect that he returns to his 2015 form, which saw him enjoy a stretch as one of the best relievers in all of baseball. With one month left in the regular season, though, the clock is ticking for these improvements to translate onto the field.
Miss out on the news of Toronto’s September call-ups? Jump over to Sportsnet.ca where Jeff Simmons rounds up the new wave of roster additions with the information that you need to know entering the playoff stretch.