Sweeeeeep! The Jays finish May with a 18-10 record and are now just one game under .500 for the season. It’s seriously incredible how quickly this team has managed to work its way back out of the hole they dug for themselves back in April. The batters have finally woken up after a slow start, and with everyone returning to health, the Jays look like the contender we figured they would be. That was a damn good series, and even though it came against a not-so-great opponent in the Reds, it was very impressive, top to bottom.
On Monday, oh boy, the bats exploded and we partied like it was 2015. The Blue Jays put up 17 runs, a season high by a damn mile, and 23 hits, which was the third most in a game in franchise history. Marcus Stroman was good, even though he really didn’t have to be, and the bats did the rest. 17-2 Blue Jays.
On Tuesday, the home run parade continued behind J.A. Happ, who was making his first start since mid-April. Happ looked a little rusty, but the bullpen picked him, throwing five strong innings, and the bats exploded for four home runs, capped by a Kendrys Morales two-run bomb in the eighth. 6-4 Blue Jays.
On Wednesday, Mike Bolsinger put up easily his best outing as a Blue Jay and Luke Maile and Devon Travis continued the team’s power surge with two-run homers. Ryan Goins botched a double play ball in the ninth, but Roberto Osuna is nails and was able to work through it. 5-4 Blue Jays.
The Legend of Zeke Carrera. pic.twitter.com/vD7y7htd7N— Spring Sleeving (@Lesley_NOPE) May 31, 2017
Things that were good
- The whole series. Everything. Everything about that was good. I mean, that isn’t actually the case, because it wasn’t perfect, but the Jays looked like a contender over this series against the Reds. They clubbed them to death on Monday with one of the best offensive performances the franchise has ever seen, and they rallied in a couple of gritty efforts on Tuesday and Wednesday to complete the sweep.
- Marcus Stroman was damn good on Monday, though, like I said, he didn’t have to be. He went six strong, allowing just two runs on five hits against a Reds club with a good lineup. That was ideal because the Jays ‘pen worked quite a bit over the weekend, and the team needed Stro to go deep.
- J.A. Happ had a decent start, but received a lot of help from the defence. He only went four innings, but that’s all you can expect from a guy who missed over a month and only had one rehab start. The positive here, of course, is that he felt no pain at all during the outing.
- Mike Bolsinger was also very good in what could be his final start as a Blue Jay. With Francisco Liriano coming back Friday and Joe Biagini pitching so well as a starter, Bolsinger is likely the odd man out. That said, he made a good case for himself with seven strikeouts over a gutsy five-and-one-third inning performance on Wednesday.
- The ‘pen was excellent again this series, especially on Tuesday in relief of Happ. Over Tuesday and Wednesday’s games, the relievers had to go eight-and-two-thirds, but only allowed three runs. Jason Grilli had a scoreless inning, and looks better after a poor start to the season. Roberto Osuna’s save on Wednesday was damn impressive, as Ryan Goins made life difficult for him but he didn’t rattle at all.
- And the bats, of course, were great. Jose Bautista went 5-for-11 and hit the ball hard multiple times. Kendrys Morales and Devon Travis each had big two-run homers. Jose Donaldson hit a ridiculous bomb to the fifth deck. Tulo clubbed his second grand slam as a Blue Jay. It really was a sight to behold. This lineup is starting to look like the team from 2015, and it’s great.
- There were a few amazing defensive efforts, especially on Tuesday, that helped the Jays get a win. Zeke Carrera sprawled out and caught a ball, saving some runs, and Troy Tulowitzki made a beautiful snag at short to bail out J.A. Happ. The pitching is already good on its own, but with great gloves behind them, the Jays are a tough team to score against.
- Also, this work by the Sportsnet broadcast team was amazing…
Things that weren’t good
- Hmmmmm… Not much! When you sweep a team and score 28 runs over three games, there isn’t much to whine about. Kevin Pillar had an ugly week, I guess. He didn’t play Wednesday, but went 0-for-8 somehow in the two other games. Also, Goins’ error in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game was a thing of nightmares. Otherwise? Fuck it. That was a good time.
From here, the schedule starts to get difficult. The Jays will play four games against the Yankees at home this weekend before hitting the road and playing the Mariners and Athletics. Francisco Liriano will be activated on Friday, so we’ll see a real starting rotation — Marco Estrada, Liriano, Marcus Stroman, and J.A. Happ — go up against New York.