The Toronto Blue Jays have been on a roll lately, winning eight of their last ten games and feeling confident since returning to the Rogers Centre in late July.
This past weekend featured a pretty important series against AL East division rivals in the Boston Red Sox, a team that has been knocked down a peg or two over the past couple of weeks, winning only three games over their last ten before coming to Toronto.
The four-game series featured a doubleheader on Saturday, with the Blue Jays entering game #4 on Sunday with two wins and one loss, winning the first two games before dropping the Saturday night game in extra innings. It appeared that the same fate was going to happen on Sunday as well, as Hyun Jin Ryu had one of his roughest starts since joining the Blue Jays last season, going 3,2 innings while surrendering seven earned runs on ten hits with only one strikeout.
The score was 7-2 entering the fifth inning with the Blue Jays putting some runs back on the board thanks to some timely hitting from the top of the lineup to put the team within reach as they entered the eighth inning. Down 8-6, the Blue Jays needed some runs to put the pressure on the Red Sox and it was George Springer who stepped up to the plate.
George Springer plays hero for the Blue Jays as the club takes an important series win against the Boston Red Sox this past weekend.
With Breyvic Valera finding a way on base via a single to right field and a timely walk from Reese McGuire, Springer stepped up to the batter’s box with two outs and ended up walking away as the hero.
The right-hander worked reliever Matt Barnes to a 2-2 count before driving a low fastball over the left-center outfield wall, a no-doubter just under the Budweiser sign that put three runs on the board and gave the Blue Jays a one-run lead. Closer Jordan Romano would come in to pitch a clean ninth inning and the Jays ended up with another series win.
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Springer has been dynamite as of late, slashing .357/.387/.857 with three home runs, 11 RBI, and two walks through his past seven games, providing a spark at the top of the lineup that bodes well with the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Marcus Semien, Bo Bichette, and Teoscar Hernandez hitting right behind him.
The two games yesterday might not have produced a lot of runs, a surprise featuring these two teams, but the Blue Jays batting ordered exploded on Friday to the tune of 12 runs followed by a nine-run performance earlier today.
This was a big series win for the Blue Jays, not only because they took three out of four games against a division rival, but they also battled hard to show the rest of the AL East that they are here to contend for the postseason. There were multiple times where the club was trailing or behind and the bats rallied to put runs on the board and take the momentum out of the Red Sox lineup, earning the wins in the process. Throw in great outings from Alek Manoah, Robbie Ray, Jose Berrios, and multiple members of the bullpen, and the Blue Jays are starting to shape up to be a playoff-contending team this season.
The organization is now just seven games back of the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays but are also climbing up the Wild Card standings as well, sitting 2.5 games back of a playoff spot that the Red Sox currently sit in alongside the Oakland Athletics.
The club is now set to hit the road and play a four-game series (a double-header on Tuesday) against the Los Angeles Angels, a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners, and a two-game set against the Washington Nationals.