The Blue Jays were set to win their three game series against the Boston Red Sox this week, however, a blown save on Thursday night meant they dropped the series. Here is a look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly during the series.
Pretty much the entire offence for the Toronto Blue Jays was hitting this week, specifically the top five in the lineup. Marcus Semien, Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Teoscar Hernandez and Randal Grichuk all had at least five hits apiece. It would be hard to talk about one of those players by themselves as they all contributed, and as a group went a combined 26 for 64 (.406) with 11 doubles, 2 home runs, 12 RBI, while collecting 7 walks to 9 strikeouts.
Offence from the catchers has been pretty bleak this year, however, they were also swing hot bats this weekend with Danny Jansen playing two of the games and Reese McGuire getting the start in the middle game. The two went a combined 5 for 12 with three runs scored. As an entire club the Blue Jays collected 38 hits (.339) which 13 of them were for extra bases.
The starting pitching was a little bit dicey during the series, but Hyun Jin Ryu was nothing short of dominant in his start on Tuesday night. The ace of the pitching staff threw seven shutout innings, surrendering just four hits while striking out seven. During the game he threw 100 pitches for the first time this season and it matched his previous high with the club which was done in his last start in 2020. Ryu improved to 4-2 on the season and dropped his ERA down to 2.51.
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We are back on the Ross Stripling should not be in the rotation train again after another abysmal start by the right-handed veteran. Stripling started the second game of the series and allowed the first five batters to collect hits off him, which included back-to-back home runs by the second and third hitters in the lineup. By the end of the first inning he fell behind 5-0 and to make things worse, he allowed a lead-off home run to start the second inning. Over his six starts this year, Stripling has allowed 16 runs during the first two innings of the game, which has included 28 hits, 14 of those being for extra innings. Stripling is currently 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA and 1.76 WHIP on the season, my belief is unless there is an injury you won’t see him start another game. The Alek Manoah to the Blue Jays chatter is starting to build a lot of momentum and with him being put on the same rotation spot in Buffalo as Stripling, it will cause even more talk for the next four days.
Cavan Biggio seemed to have been turning things around at the plate before this week, however, he took a step back during the set with the Red Sox. Biggio went just 2 for 14 during the series with a team high seven strikeouts, which was almost double the amount of any other player. Uncharacteristic of Biggio is that he did not take a walk during the entire series. He got caught looking at strike three too many times as it appeared he was sitting on a certain pitch and could not adjust to at least foul the ball off.
Like starting pitchers, closers tend to be under the microscope a lot more than the rest of the staff, especially when they blow saves. On Thursday night, the Blue Jays battled back from an early 5-2 deficit when Rafael Dolis came into the game with a two run lead in the ninth. He allowed the first two runners to get on base by way of soft singles, so he was not looking too bad, however, after striking out Kike Hernandez for the first out of the inning he threw a wild pitch to Alex Verdugo that allowed the runners to move up. Verdugo would end up grounding out to first base, which could have been a potential game ending double play ball, but instead a run scored on the out and gave J.D. Martinez a chance to hit. Martinez would hit the eventually game winning home run and the Blue Jays lost and dropped the series.
I’m not sure how comfortable I am with Dolis as the closer as he does have a lot of control issues and has walked batters in four of his last five appearances. Dolis has looked really shaky over his last two innings pitched (three appearances) as he has given up five runs. With injuries right now, I am not sure you have much more of a choice unless the club wants to go out and try to trade for a closer.
The Blue Jays will have no time off before starting their next series as the host the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night to start a four-game series. This weekend will be Toronto’s final home games in Dunedin for the 2021 season as they are moving up to Buffalo for the remainder of the year.