The Blue Jays just rallied off six wins during a seven-game road trip through two tough stadiums as they took down both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The wins helped the club keep pace in both the American League East and the Wild Card race. As of Friday morning, the Blue Jays are a half game back of the top wild card spot currently owned by the Tampa Bay Rays, while also being eight games back of the division-leading Yankees who have suddenly got hot once Toronto left town.
The six wins saw a couple of extra inning victories, as well as a couple of other games where they put up nine runs. The bullpen was dominant as they picked up three of the wins while holding opponents to a combined 1.85 ERA and averaging over 11 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Blue Jays now arrive home for a six-game home stand starting Friday night against the Los Angeles Angels. Here is a look at the three stars from the road trip and hope they can keep things going forward.
The Blue Jays had a dominant week against the AL East-leading New York Yankees as well as the Boston Bruins which led to the club winning six out of seven.
Matt Chapman – 7 for 29 (.241) with four extra base hits and incredible defense
At first glance, you may think that a player that had just one home run and seven hits in 29 at-bats couldn’t be one of the stars in a week that a team won six out of seven games, but he was arguably the team’s most valuable player.
At the plate, Matt Chapman collected a pair of doubles, a triple, and a home run, while also adding his second stolen base of the season, but it was his defensive ability that shined.
Throughout the year, I am constantly left jaw-dropped watching Chapman’s defensive play as it has become very rare that he ever makes a mistake on the field. Chapman had one play this week that will likely finish as one of the top defensive plays of the year where he had to go to his right and then go behind his back with a backhand throw to Bo Bichette at second base to start a double play.
However, that wasn’t even the most important play he made over the week span. On Thursday night in the bottom of the ninth inning with the score tied, the Red Sox had the bases loaded with just one out. The Blue Jays had five infielders all playing in to cut off the run at the plate. Kike Hernandez hit a ball straight at Chapman at third base and instead of going to the plate, Chapman had the prescience of mind to touch third base and go to first for the inning-ending double play, which likely saved the game. Chapman looks like a lock to win his fourth career Gold Glove.
Jordan Romano – 4 Appearances, 1 Win, 1 Save, No Runs Allowed
Going into the road trip, Jordan Romano’s workload was fairly quiet through August as he had made just one appearance over a ten-day span between August 8th and August 17th and had just four total for the month. Due to the low workload, Jays manager John Schneider brought Romano into games in New York in non-save opportunities and pitched two perfect innings that help lead to wins in both games.
Romano really showed his stuff in Boston when he was dominant against the Red Sox in Game 2 of the series. The boxscore shows that he walked one batter, but it was an intentional walk to Rafael Devers with two out in the bottom of the tenth to face Kike Hernandez who he would strike out on five pitches for the save.
In the final game of the series, Romano entered the game in the ninth with the score tied. The Toronto native would get into a bases-loaded no-out jam but would get out of it by striking out Franchy Cordero and then inducing Hernandez into an inning-ending double play (via Matt Chapman and his play).
Once the Blue Jays took the lead in the tenth, Romano came back out after throwing 14 pitches the inning previous. Romano would have a clean inning which included a strikeout to help the club sweep the series. Romano finished the trip pitching five innings, allowing just four base runners and striking out five without surrendering a run.
George Springer – 12 for 19 (.632) with three extra-base hits
Springer was a terror at the plate with a nearly .700 on-base percentage over the five games he suited up in. The high-profile signing during the 2020/2021 offseason is proving that when healthy, he is worth every penny of his six-year, $150 Million deal.
Springer collected 12 hits in 19 at-bats, which included three extra-base hits and he was robbed of potentially a couple of home runs had the games not been at Fenway Park and the Green Monster in left field. Springer only started four of the games on the road trip yet led the team in hits and RBI (six), while finishing second in walks (three). The Sportsnet broadcast mentioned that Springer could be back to playing the outfield shortly, which will help give other guys get some rest, but I wouldn’t push him too much as his bat is needed as he displayed it this week.
What are your thoughts, was there another player that performed better on this road trip than the three I brought up?