It started to feel like the younger Blue Jays fans would get to witness what the older regimen suffered in 1987, but for now it can go on pause. Toronto went into Philadelphia for a four-game set and was able to salvage the final game of the series. Here is a look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly in Philadelphia.
The Blue Jays have seen some really poor starting pitching all year long, but going into the playoffs they don’t need to be that deep. In the Philadelphia match-up, the Blue Jays had their top two pitchers going in the last games of the series. Hyun Jin Ryu stared Saturday and although he picked up the loss, he gave the Blue Jays an opportunity to snap their losing streak. Ryu threw six innings, allowing just two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out eight. He tied a season high with 99 pitches and also struck out eight for the third time this season. Over his last two outings Ryu has pitched 12 innings, striking out 15 to just one walk.
Taijuan Walker started the final game of the series and gave the team exactly what they needed. Walker also pitched six innings and struck out eight while allowing just one run. The win snapped the Jays losing streak and will hopefully get things going as they are about to take on the Yankees. In four starts since joining the Blue Jays, Walker has allowed just four earned runs.
It is really fun seeing how Teoscar Hernandez is turning things in his career around and fun seeing all the comparisons to when Jose Bautista figured things out. Hernandez played in all four games this weekend and went 6 for 15 (.400) which included a pair of home runs. His strikeouts were high as he finished second on the team with five, but I’ll take that if the rest of his offensive game is there.
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Cavan Biggio led the team with four walks this series to go with a 4 for 13 hitting line (.308 AVG / .471 OBP) during the series. Biggio should have had a couple more walks, but was struck out by umpire calls on balls that weren’t even close to the zone. He also picked up his 20th consecutive stolen base without being caught to start his career.
The offense for the Blue Jays has just started to tank as they collectively batted .207 for the series. Danny Jansen was 0 for 7 with just one walk, while Vladimir Guerrero Jr could muscle just one hit going 1 for 11 in the series. Also joining those two players were Bo Bichette, Travis Shaw, Randal Grichuk and Joe Panik who all saw regular time and batted under .200 for the series. Panik struggled at the plate, but he may have been worse in the field as he also collected two errors on the weekend.
The bullpen has been so good for the most part of the season, but they are overused and you can see they are getting tired. A.J. Cole had a weekend to forget as he was used twice and was able to pitch a total of just one inning while giving up five hits, three runs and a walk. Cole has had a rough September as he has pitched six innings and allowed eight runs.
As stated in the intro, things are really shaping up like the ending of the 1987 season. For fans that may be too young to know about what happened; the Blue Jays went into the final week of the season leading the division by 3 ½ games, but went on to lose seven games in a row and missed out on the playoffs. That was arguably the best Blue Jays team of the 1980s and the collapse caused them to miss a legitimate shot at winning the World Series.
The Blue Jays now head home to Buffalo for a four-game series with the surging New York Yankees. It appears Matt Shoemaker will come off the injured list and start Monday night.