ALCS Game 2 is here and the Toronto Blue Jays will look to rebound from a poor offensive showing in Game 1 against Cleveland. In this article we look to point out some factors that could contribute to a Blue Jays win.
Return of the offence
The Blue Jays failed to bring in any runs when they had plenty of opportunities. For the first four innings the Blue Jays pushed Corey Kluber into the corner and the former Cy Young winner wiggled out of trouble each time. The Jays left eight runners on base but were 0-5 with runners in scoring position.
Toronto had the petal to the metal in the ALDS against Texas. They need to find out how to get back to that and not let up. In today’s game they will not have to face Corey Kluber, so that should also aid the situation. Josh Tomlin will be starting Game 2 and he owned a 4.40 ERA for the season. The Jays have hit Tomlin well. According to ESPN, the current lineup has batted .295 against him. They have also hit four homers and drove in eight runs off of him. This should be encouraging to Jays hitters going into the game today.
Neutralize Lindor and Chisenhall
In Game 1, Marco Estrada was great. He pitched 8.0 solid innings and did not find much trouble. The trouble he did face was named Lonnie Chisenhall and Francisco Lindor. Chisenhall went 3-for-3 during Game 1. He did not come around to score or drive in a run but in different circumstances he could have. Lindor, on the other hand, did the only damage in the game with a two-run home run in the 6th inning. Lindor went 2-for-4 for the game so he was a continuing threat.
Having Lindor in the third spot of the Cleveland attack is their spark after the one and two hitters pour on some gas. Jason Kipnis walked prior to the home run and got things going. Lindor stepped in and did not miss on an Estrada mistake. Keep runners off base at the top of the order and it will keep Lindor from hurting you to bad.
Cy Young quality
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J.A. Happ has had an incredible year that, if someone says they predicted, call B.S, on them. Blue Jays management could not have dreamed of this when they signed the veteran pitcher this past offseason. They knew they were getting a solid pitcher after a turnaround with the Pirates in the second half last season, but never knew they were getting a Cy Young candidate. Happ currently sits at #4 on the Cy Young Predictor on ESPN and has one solid start under his belt this postseason already. If Happ continues his pace then Cleveland will have a hard time squaring him up.
Jump on Tomlin early
Last night the Jays came very close to bursting things open against Kluber. The constant base runners really had the pressure on early but Kluber, being a great pitcher, was able to navigate the rough terrain. If the Jays take advantage of their previous successes against Tomlin they could get the crowd out of the game early. The bats needs to capitalize on an early lead to get the offence back on track and to give Happ a chance to dominate with a lead. Happ always seems to receive plenty of run support and does really well with that advantage.
Battle of the bullpens
There was one clear advantage the Blue Jays had in Game 1 despite the loss. The Jays were able to chase Kluber early and get into the bullpen. Andrew Miller had to come in and pitch 1.2 innings and threw plenty of pitches. Miller struck out 5 batters and threw 31 pitches. This could leave him tired and vulnerable for the Jays if he is used in Game 2.
The Blue Jays also got to see Cody Allen. Yes, Allen did only throw 11 pitches to record the final 3 outs, but it could prove valuable. They have seen what he brings to the table and will have a better game plan against him because of that experience next time around. On the flip side of this, the Blue Jays have a bullpen completely rested and ready to go. Marco Estrada saved the pen from working last night as he tossed all 8.0 innings. If there becomes a battle of bullpens in game 2 the advantage could go to the Blue Jays.
Join in the conversation what do you think could impact Game 1 for the Blue Jays?