Blue Jays: The Good, Bad and Ugly against the Atlanta Braves
The Blue Jays swept a series for the first time this season after taking on the Atlanta Braves in a three game set at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida. With the trio of wins, the Blue Jays now sit just a game and a half behind the Boston Red Sox for the AL East lead. Here is a look at the Good, the Bad and Ugly from the series.
The offence in general just terrorized the Braves pitching staff as they slugged out 34 hits over the weekend, including 14 extra-base hits, which nine of those were home runs. As a team they finished with a .312 batting average and a .395 on base percentage. Bo Bichette, Lourdes Gurriel Jr and Randal Grichuk each collected five hits apiece, which also included a home run from each them.
Gurriel went into the series with a .197 batting average and with his five hits he leaves batting .226. Grichuk led the club with seven RBI in the series to raise his season total to 19.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr had just two hits during the series, but it was because the Braves pitching staff was too scared to face him. Guerrero was walked five times, as well as being hit by a pitch once during the series, which raised his on-base percentage to .486 and he now sits second in all of baseball in that category.
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The bullpen continues to be the strength of the Blue Jays performances. If you remove Tommy Milone’s outing as he was brought in after an opener, the bullpen threw 13.2 innings and surrendered just four runs (2.63 ERA) while striking out 21. David Phelps was used twice in the series and pitched a total of two innings collecting five of his six outs by way of the strikeout without allowing a run. On the season Phelps has pitched 10.1 innings and has struck out 15 without allowing a run.
The bad has to go to Milone as the veteran soft throwing lefty was brought in after Travis Bergen opened on Saturday. In just 2.1 innings he surrendered six hits and four runs, which came in on a grand slam by Cristian Pache which was first career home run. The 34-year old Milone has struggled mightily in his most recent four performances.
Cavan Biggio had a very rough weekend series at the plate and in the field as he was the only player not to register a hit. Biggio went 0 for 7 with five strike outs, but did manage two base on balls, while collecting his sixth error of the season. Biggio was dropped in the order with the return of Springer, which is unfortunate for him as Cavan has proven to hit a lot better in the lead-off position. On the season he has a slash line of .353/.455/.412 batting in the first position, while he is hitting just .132 down in the order.
Going into Saturday’s game, Kirk had gone 5 for 12 with three home runs in his previous four games and had looked like he was starting to take over the number one spot behind the plate. However, he had to be removed from the game after his second at bat due to a leg injury. It was reported on Sunday that he would be placed on the 10-day Injured List with a left flexor strain.
The Blue Jays now fly to California where they will have a four game series with the Oakland Athletics. Steven Matz will start the opener against Frankie Montas.