Blue Jays: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in Atlanta
The Blue Jays finished off their road trip on Thursday afternoon by taking the third game of their three-game series to sweep the Atlanta Braves. They now sit alone in second place in the AL East, just a game and a half back of the Boston Red Sox and with all the injuries the club has had to deal with to start the season, they have put themselves in a very good position. Here is a look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the series.
This series, the starting rotation gave the club three excellent starts which came from Hyun Jin Ryu, Robbie Ray, and wait for it, Ross Stripling. The three had a little bit of trouble preventing the long ball, but that was the only complaint. Over 18 innings pitched combined, they surrendered four home runs, but also allowed just six runs on 14 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 25 batters.
Stripling’s appearance was the first time in his seven starts as a Blue Jay that he had a game ERA under 4.39. During Thursday’s afternoon game, things didn’t start well for him as he surrendered a home run to the leadoff hitter Ronald Acuna Jr. After a couple more base hits in the inning, the club was down 2-0, but he battled back and was as near to perfect as you can be, finishing the game striking out nine over five innings. He did not finish with the win and is still looking for his first as a Blue Jay, but he finally gave the team a chance to pick up the victory in one of his starts.
The Blue Jays had a lot of players perform well at the plate, with Teoscar Hernandez leading the charge, who the Braves could get out only four times in 13 plate appearances. Hernandez finished the series going 7 for 11 (.636) with a pair of walks, as well as a pair of home runs during Wednesday’s game. He also led the team with five RBI and now has 18 through 20 games.
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We have now seen Randal Grichuk play for four seasons as a member of the Jays and we know the track record of how streaky he is. However, last season Grichuk showed his down stretches were shorter and less often so I am hoping this will just be a small blimp on the season. Grichuk struggled in this series as he went 0 for 9 with four strikeouts and is now just 2 for his last 20 which has seen his batting average drop 31 points.
When you sweep a series there isn’t much that can go wrong.
Not So Ugly
If you look at Cavan Biggio’s numbers, at first glance you may have thought it was a mediocre series as he went just 2 for 8 (.250), however, you need to look a little further. Both of Biggio’s hits were for doubles, which were each against left-handed pitchers, which is something he has struggled with throughout the early part of the season. He also posted an on-base percentage (OBP) of .500 over the series as he walked four times. Despite his early-season struggles, Biggio is third on the team in the OBP category and sits second on the team in base on balls (19) behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Biggio is starting to turn things around at the plate and saw his batting average rise 32 points on this road trip.
The Blue Jays head home to Dunedin, Florida for their final homestand at TD Ballpark before transitioning to Sahlen Field in Buffalo for the remainder of the season. Steven Matz will get the start against Vince Velasquez and the Philadelphia Phillies.