Game Threat: Something about turning a corner, Blue Jays (21-24) vs Twins (11-31)

Back-to-back wins in Minnesota to kick off the series, including a 9-3 drumming that featured four different home runs, and a 2-0 lead heading into the eighth inning with J.A. Happ on cruise control… What could go wrong? Well, just when you thought the Blue Jays were about to turn the corner and start really rolling in the right direction, they go ahead and allow the Minnesota Twins, yes the team who’s on pace to win 40 games this season, pound out five runs in the eighth to steal the win. 

All I can say is come on, what the hell? How does that even happen? The Twins, though? 

Yesterday

I think I pretty much summed the events of yesterday up in that basic introductory paragraph, but I’ll go into a little more detail here for anybody who either wasn’t watching or wants to relive the newest addition “really fucking painful losses of early 2016” list. 

The first problem, really, was that the Jays couldn’t manage any more than two runs off of Minnesota’s starting pitcher, Pat Dean, who was making just his first career start in the Major Leagues. His numbers throughout the minors aren’t spectacular, and neither is his stuff, but he managed to toss six innings while allowing only three hits and three walks, with the only damage coming on a Jose Bautista home run in the third. It certainly doesn’t help that Josh Donaldson was thrown out of the game for no apparent reason in the first, forcing Ryan Goins to be plunked in the No. 2 hole, but I digress. 

Anyways, despite the poor offensive showing, it looked like it was going to be enough for Happ, who was completely cruising up until the eighth inning, having allowed only one hit and a few walks to that point. Then, Robbie Grossman hit a leadoff single past Tulo’s outstretched glove, then Darin Mastroianni drew a walk for some reason before Danny Santana clubbed them home with a double down the right field line. Just like that, 2-2 game. 

John Gibbons went to the bullpen, calling for Gavin Floyd to put out the fire, which didn’t happen. Floyd plunked the first batter he faced, then allowed a three-run home run to Eduardo Nunez, giving the Twins a 5-2 lead that even their shitty bullpen couldn’t blow. 

And that was that. A game that seemed like it was over was quickly flipped on its head, and the possibility of a four-game sweep in Minnesota flew out the window.

News and Scuttlebutt 

According to MLB Trade Rumours, the Blue Jays have made reliever Drew Storen available for trade. I mean, he’s been nowhere near good this season, so getting something for him would be nice, I guess. I don’t really know what to say about this. I don’t think anybody saw this performance from him coming. It’s really unfortunate, that’s for sure. 

Here’s a nice article from Minor Leaguer over at Blue Bird Banter about Devon Travis and his mental and physical challenges during his rehabilitation from injury. “So does he care where he bats when he returns to Toronto? ‘No. Not a care in the world, man, I just want to play.'”

Arden Zwelling talked to Josh Donaldson about his ejection last game, which the former MVP found completely out of the blue, considering him and the homeplate umpire have no previous beef whatsoever.

And finally…

So yeah… Even if they can’t get much of substance for Storen, they’re probably going to want to have him off the roster to open up space for the glut of arms (Schultz, Loup, Morales, Cecil) who will be coming off the DL in the next month or so. 

Today 

Like pretty much every Jays starter this week, Marcus Stroman will take the mound today looking to rebound from a poor outing. In his last go against the Rays, Stroman was completely hammered around, allowing a season high 13 hits and seven runs in just five-and-a-third innings of work. It was by far the worst outing of his season, but shit happens. Happ and Estrada both had excellent bounce-back outings in the last couple of games, so hopefully Stroman can continue the trend. 

Phil Hughes will get the ball today for Minnesota, which, uh, should be a good thing for the Jays, but at this point, ya never really know. Remember the last time he pitched against the Jays? It came on August 4, 2015 during that four-game sweep that essentially knocked the Twins into oblivion. Hughes allowed three earned runs, including two home runs, in five-and-two-thirds innings, which goes in line with his career numbers as a guy who allows quite a bit of contact and is prone to the home run. 

Let’s see another offensive outburst like we did on Friday, goddamit! I don’t think I’ll be able to swallow a 2-2 series split to the Twins.