Blue Jays: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Against the Angels
The Blue Jays had the final contest of their four-game series postponed due to rain and will be made up in August in Los Angeles. As such, the series has been halted at three games and the club dropped two of them. Here is a look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the series.
Any time a player gets a chance to make their Major League debut it is a good thing, whether they have a highlight night or not. In game two of the series, former 16th round pick Ty Tice made his first big league appearance on Friday night. The right-handed pitcher came into the game with the Blue Jays trailing 7-0 in the eighth inning. His retired Jose Iglesias, who was the first batter he faced to record his very first out. He would then collect the next five outs to pitch the last two innings of the game allowing just a walk and one hit without allowing a run.
Josh Palacios also made his debut on Friday night but was not quite as successful as Tice. Palacios struck out in his first two appearances and finished the night 0 for 3 with a hit by pitch, however, Saturday was a night he made fans take notice. In the third game of the series, Palacios drew back into the lineup due to several injuries to the regular outfielders. He collected his first hit on a bunt single and then followed it up with three more singles and a walk, as well as his first career RBI.
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It is incredible the difference in Vladimir Guerrero Jr this season. He seems completely locked in at the plate and is rarely being beaten by pitches. In the three-game series, Junior went 5 for 10 and collected five walks while striking out just twice. VGJ looks like the franchise-type player he teased management about coming up through the minor leagues.
What you always hear about the front of the rotation pitchers is they stop losing streaks and that is exactly what Steven Matz did. For the second straight start this year he put the team in a position to win as he threw six innings on Saturday night allowing just one run. Matz is making Ross Atkins look really good by acquiring him this past offseason.
It is still early on the year, but you are seeing analysts debate whether or not Bo Bichette is a Major League level shortstop. He has struggled at the position and has already made three errors on just 31 chances this season and has been saved by Guerrero on a few other occasions at first base. In the second game of the series, Bichette made a costly error that led to four unearned runs coming off T.J. Zeuch which also kicked up his pitch count. The season is still young enough that you give him more time to prove he can handle the position, but if he continues to struggle, you may see him and Marcus Semien swap positions.
Tanner Roark is taking all of the brunt for struggling in the rotation, but Ross Stripling has been equally as bad since joining the Blue Jays. Stripling pitched just five innings in the series opener and allowed four runs in a loss on Thursday night. Over five starts since joining the team last summer, he is posting a 7.45 ERA in the starting rotation.
Speaking of moving Marcus Semien; the lead-off position may not be the best fit for him. He is holding the spot until George Springer returns, but he struggled this past series. Semien went just 2 for 14 (.143) while striking out six times over three games and walking just twice.
The injury bug wins the honour for the Ugly in this series. Three players (Tyler Chatwood, Teoscar Hernandez, Ryan Borucki) joined George Springer on the injured list on Friday night. Later that night, Lourdes Gurriel Jr was having side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine and was removed from the game, which led to him also being placed on the injured list.
The Blue Jays play host to the New York Yankees on Monday night where Robbie Ray will make his season debut. Tanner Roark has also been moved to the bullpen in a corresponding move.