Blue Jays: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in Boston
The Blue Jays concluded an unusual five-game weekend series with the Boston Red Sox that saw them take three out of five of the games. Here is a look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Series:
The offence came alive in the series, which helps as you are against one of the weakest pitching staffs in the majors. As a team, the Blue Jays had a .314 batting average that saw six different players have averaged higher than .333 in the series.
Rowdy Tellez led the way going 9 for 16 (.563) that included two home runs and he also added a pair of walks in the series. What was also impressive was that Tellez struck out just once in the series and forced Boston’s pitchers to go deep into counts. It is hard to believe that he was fighting to get steady playing time just over a week ago. Tellez now boasts a .295 batting average and would be on pace for close to 40 home runs in a 162 game season.
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Lourdes Gurriel Jr finished second on the team with eight hits in the series, one being a home run. If you are curious who led the team in RBI for the weekend, it finished in a tie, and as you can expect Teoscar Hernandez was one of the leaders. The person who tied him was Joe Panik and the utility infielder finished with the second-highest average and on-base percentage in the series. Panik went 7 for 14 with five RBI and four walks (.611 OBP).
Rafael Dolis has continued to look good of late and has not given up a run in his last 11 appearances. Sunday afternoon he came in for his second appearance of the series to pick up his second save of the year. Over his two appearances, he pitched 2.1 innings without giving up a hit and struck out five.
Thomas Hatch was also used twice in the series pitching a combined three innings allowing just one walk on three strikeouts.
The starting rotation was not very good in the series outside of Taijuan Walker who pitched into the sixth inning in his outing. Ross Stripling, Tanner Roark, Robbie Ray, and Chase Anderson combined to pitched just 16 2/3 innings or an average just slightly over four innings per start while posting a 9.18 ERA and a 2.10 WHIP. With the team now in a playoff hunt, it may be time to start removing guys from the rotation who aren’t performing. The team has seen amazing performances out of Julian Merryweather, Anthony Kay, Shun Yamaguchi, and Thomas Hatch out of the bullpen, it is time to see them in the rotation.
I am not sure about the choice to remove Reese McGuire from the roster in exchange for Caleb Joseph. I understand that McGuire has been horrible at the plate this year as he is just 3 for 41 and likely doesn’t deserve to be there because of that, but I don’t think Joseph is your answer. What appeared to go under the radar in the series was a pair of misplays by Joseph over the weekend behind the plate. Joseph picked up two errors behind the plate in only 10 innings of work. I don’t think there is a simple answer, but I’d rather see Alejandro Kirk get a chance over Joseph.
Charlie Montoyo took a lot of heat during the series for leaving Derek Fisher in to bat with the bases loaded, two outs, and the team down by one on Friday night. Many thought he would pinch-hit for him and use either Joe Panik or Vladimir Guerrero Jr, however, he chose to stay with the struggling outfielder. His response after the game was that he had a feeling Fisher was going to get a home run. Fisher would end up striking out, the inning was over and the team wound up losing the game. This was just one example of the struggles Montoyo is having as a major league manager.
The Blue Jays currently hold a one-game lead over the New York Yankees in the AL East for the second playoff spot in the division. The two teams will meet for a three-game series in Buffalo starting on Monday. Both Hyun Jin Ryu and Taijuan Walker have been announced as starters for the first two games while the third is still to be determined.