With the Toronto Blue Jays down in the series two games to one, the Sunday afternoon game was the last chance to even it up with a win and gain some positive momentum before facing the division-leading Boston Red Sox in their next series.
Unfortunately, the Blue Jays bats would be left back at the hotel, as the team would muster only two hits (one from Bo Bichette and Joe Panik) with Alejandro Kirk collecting two walks and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. walking once as well. The Jays would strike out eight times in the contest, with Randal Grichuk leading the way with four strikeouts while Bichette would also collect a stolen base in the loss.
On the pitching side, Robbie Ray would pitch five scoreless innings but would find himself in quite a few difficult scenarios as he walked six batters. T.J. Zeuch would be the losing pitcher of record, surrendering a single before a Salvador Perez home run put two on the scoreboard, the only runs in the tight contest. The Jays pitching staff would also allow the Royals to steal five bases with second baseman Whit Merrifield collecting two bags off Ray alone early in the game.
For the Royals, former Blue Jays draft pick Brady Singer was on the bump, throwing six clean innings while surrendering the only two hits for the Jays, striking out six with three walks before making way for the bullpen. Singer was drafted by the Blue Jays in the second round of the 2015 Amateur Draft but the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement, leaving the high school student (at the time) to go on to attend the University of Florida. The Kansas City Royals would draft him in the first round three years later. For failing to sign Singer, Blue Jays were awarded a second-round (57th overall) pick in the 2016 draft where they would go on to select J.B. Woodman.
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For the four-game series, the Blue Jays would drive in twelve runs on 25 hits and three home runs with most of that offense being generated in the first three games. The team did have a few bench players in the lineup due to multiple starters on the injured list, with Panik, Santiago Espinal, Josh Palacios, and Jonathan Davis playing throughout the series, with Panik collecting one of the two hits yesterday. The Jays starter struggled mightily at the plate yesterday, with Grichuk, Guerrero Jr., Marcus Semien, and Rowdy Tellez being held out of the hit column. Cavan Biggio (day to day) and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. we’re not in the lineup in game four with Kirk catching behind the plate with Ray on the mound.
Moving forward to the next series against the Boston Red Sox, the Blue Jays will have an off day today before playing again on Tuesday in a two-game series. The batting order will need to put their rough performance behind them sooner rather than later as the Red Sox have been playing well out of the gate and currently sit atop of the A.L. East standings.
While the season is still early, losing games within the division can have drastic impacts later on in the season when the playoff race starts to get a bit tighter, so a few wins against division opponents in the Red Sox and Rays this week could provide significant benefits to the Blue Jays chances of making the playoffs once again this year.