Blue Jays: The Good, the Bad and Not so ugly against the Marlins
The Blue Jays had a quick two-game series with the Miami Marlins this week, which was the first time they played at Sahlen Field in Buffalo this season. With a home crowd cheering them on, Toronto took the first game easily and then had a come-from-behind victory to sweep the series by way of a walk-off in the finale. Here is a look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly against the Marlins.
Robbie Ray continues to take strides into becoming a pitcher the Blue Jays can count on to go deep into the game and give the team a chance to win every time he takes the mound. Ray started the game on Tuesday and pitched six strong innings allowing just one run while striking out nine. This was the sixth time that Ray was able to finish six complete innings this season. It feels like the southpaw has become a dominant strikeout pitcher as he is averaging 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings, the shocking part is this is below his career average and the lowest it has been since his sophomore year in 2015. The big change in his game is his effectiveness to avoid the free pass, which he has cut by almost half off his career average and is just a fraction off from the previous three seasons. Ray still gives up the long ball as he leads the majors in home runs, but it makes a big difference when nobody is on base when it happens.
It was just two games of at-bats, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr hit for the cycle if you combined them together as he went 5 for 8 with two singles along with a double, triple, and a home run. The three RBIs he hit during the pair of games give him 45 on the season which puts him second in the American League behind only Jose Abreu. Guerrero Jr. is not only in MVP talks, but on Triple Crown watch as he not only sits second in RBI, but he leads the league in both home runs (17) and batting average (.335).
More from Jays Journal
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
- Toronto Blue Jays: Has the Shift Killed Kevin Gausman’s 2022 Cy Young Hopes?
- Blue Jays: What Yusei Kikuchi’s latest stumble should mean
When you take both games of a two-game series, there can’t be much worse so I am nit-picking on things here. Alek Manoah had a bit of a rough second start for himself as he was able to only throw 3.1 innings, allowing three home runs and four total runs. He seemed to be struggling with placement as both his change-up and slider were either way off the plate or hanging for Marlins bats. I have no worries that this is just a blimp on his long road. Looking back at Greg Maddux’s third career start, he only made it through four innings and allowed four runs on five hits and three walks. I am not comparing the two, just saying that even great pitchers had some early career difficulties.
The Not So Ugly
The bullpen has been a bit overused lately and has struggled to find success as of late, but they came up big against the Marlins, especially on Wednesday night. Joel Payamps may have been the best of the bunch, as he came into the game in the fourth inning with the bases loads and just one out and was able to get Jazz Chisholm to strike out and then Starling Marte to ground out to keep the deficit at 4-1. The response he got was a lead-off home run by Randal Grichuk in the bottom half of the inning. Payamps would toss two complete innings without allowing a base runner.
The Blue Jays have another day off on Thursday before they host the Houston Astros for a weekend series at Sahlen Field. Hyun Jin Ryu gets the game one start against Zack Greinke, with both pitchers having identical 5-2 records going into the series.