After sweeping the Atlanta Braves in the middle of the week, the Blue Jays took on the Philadelphia Phillies this past weekend and won the series by taking two of three games. Here is a look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from this past weekend.
If you have not heard, the Blue Jays have this 22-year old potential superstar named Vladimir Guerrero Jr on their team and he had a monster weekend. Guerrero went 5 for 11 (.455), along with a pair of walks, but was most impressive in that he hit a home run in each of the three games, and all of them were no-doubters. He is amongst the leaders in almost every American League offensive category and sits one home run off the leaders. I would be comfortable right now signing him to a long-term deal and getting him locked up into his 30’s.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr also had a big weekend at the plate as he had multi hit games in each of the three contests. Gurriel finished the series 6 for 13 which included a pair of doubles and saw his batting average rise 26 points and it now sits at .221. Another series like that and you’ll forget about his early season struggles.
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The running game was another fun part of the weekend as the Blue Jays went a perfect 5 for 5 stealing bases, which all came from different players. The team is now 24 for 30 this season stealing bases with both Marcus Semien and Bo Bichette being a perfect 7 for 7. For me, watching the running game is a very exciting part of watching baseball, so to see the club get back to this style makes the game even more fun.
The starting rotation, while not perfect this weekend, gave the club a chance to win each of the games. The pitch count got raised early for both Steven Matz and Anthony Kay which caused them to have early afternoons, but they kept the Braves off the scoreboard. Robbie Ray got into some trouble early in the game on Sunday, but was able to battle out of it and pitch into the sixth inning before he was lifted from the game. The three combined for 14.2 innings pitched allowing just four runs and striking out 24.
The bullpen has been be nothing short of spectacular this season, but they have been overworked and it was just a matter of time before they had a hiccup. Although the club won the series, the bullpen struggled this weekend, namely Tim Mayza. The left-handed pitcher who is coming off Tommy John has made more appearances than any other reliever so far this season and Charlie Montoyo elected to use him three times in the matter of four days. In total, Mayza threw 65 pitches over those four days, which is too much for a bullpen arm, especially someone who is just 19-20 months removed from that type of surgery. In his first 12 appearances this season, Mayza did not allow a run over 8.1 innings pitched, however, over his four most recent outings he has pitched just three innings and allowed nine earned runs. This weekend alone, he surrendered five runs over 0.2 innings while allowing four hits and two walks. The team was up 9-4 when he was brought into the game in the eighth inning on Sunday, it did not make much sense to use him again at that point, but Montoyo decided to.
The injury bug struck again to the Blue Jays this weekend as David Phelps who had been arguably the team’s best reliever, was placed on the 60-day injured list with a lat strain. To make things worse, Rowdy Tellez had to leave the game Sunday with a mild hamstring sprain. In the eight inning of that game, Tellez hit the ball down the left field line with what would have likely been a double, however, he lost his footing in the batters box which caused his left foot to slide and stretch out his hamstring. Tellez hobbled to first base and needed to be replaced. Montoyo stated after the game the injury was mild, but Tellez will likely have to go on the 10-day IL.
The Blue Jays now have Monday off before they host the Boston Red Sox in their most important series so far of the young season.