The Toronto Blue Jays have come back down to earth after their ALDS dominance over Texas and quickly find themselves two games down to Cleveland.
A strong opponent with an all-world bullpen hasn’t made this ALCS road any easier, but much of Toronto’s pain has been self-inflicted. The Blue Jays have struck out a combined 25 times between games one and two, which accounts for 46% of their outs.
As the teams enjoy an off day in Toronto before picking the series back up on Monday night, here are some stories that you might have missed from the past 24 hours:
Donaldson doing his part
Say what you will about the rest of the Blue Jays lineup, but Josh Donaldson has shown up to play in these playoffs. With two looks at Cleveland’s bullpen in their pocket, the 2015 American League MVP thinks the Blue Jays are due to click at the Rogers Centre.
“Every run right now is important, whether you get it in the first or the ninth. It would be nice to jump out and get a lead early but that hasn’t been the case,” Donaldson told Israel Fehr of Yahoo Sports. “We’ve faced them two days in a row. We should know what they’re going to do against us and hopefully we have a little bit better approach.”
As Scott Stinson writes here for the National Post, the Blue Jays are on familiar ground being down 2-0 in the ALCS and needing to win two of three at home to stay alive.
“Obviously, we’ve got to do that,” Gibbons told Stinson. “We play good at home. Get in front of our crowd, maybe that will energize us and maybe get some things going. But our backs are against the wall. That’s pretty obvious.”
In the 2016 ALCS, Toronto opened the series with 5-0 and 6-3 losses against the Kansas City Royals before taking two of the next three (the other loss being ab ugly 14-2 blowout). The Royals had a fine bullpen of their own and the Blue Jays pushed that series to within 90 feet of a seventh game.
For CBS Sports, Jonah Keri broke down the three big storylines from game two: Josh Tomlin’s surprising effectiveness, Andrew Miller’s expected dominance, and Cleveland’s speed. Rajai Davis was a menace on the bases and led the American League this year with 43 steals. This is an area where Toronto simply cannot compete outside of using Dalton Pompey as a late-inning pinch runner.
Grilli gives thanks
Blue Jays reliever Jason Grilli made an appearance on The Players’ Tribune recently, where he discussed everything from Canadian Thanksgiving to his injury history and lifelong Blue Jays fandom. In classic Grilli fashion, the piece opens with “Dude..”.