The Jays had an opportunity this weekend to reach the .500 mark for the first time in 2017. Agin, though, they failed to reach the hurdle, dropping two of three against the White Sox. Over the past two seasons now, the Jays have gone 2-7 against a Chicago team that they really shouldn’t be struggling against.
On Friday, Joe Biagini got drilled for seven runs, six earned, over just one inning of work. The game was pretty much out of reach by the end of the second inning, and the offence didn’t do much about it. 11-4 White Sox.
On Saturday, Marcus Stroman put together a strong performance, allowing three solo homers over seven innings, but the bats were completely limp. The Jays only managed six hits and one walks, making Mike Pelfrey look like, uh, not Mike Pelfrey. 5-2 White Sox.
On Sunday, J.A. Happ did his best to salvage the series, holding the White Sox down until Russell Martin and Kendrys Morales could blow the game open with a pair of two-run bombs. 7-3 Blue Jays.
Things that were good
- It’s pretty difficult to draw positives from those first two games. Justin Smoak hit a two run homer in the ninth inning on Friday, leaving him just one shy of matching his career high of 20. And as I said earlier, Marcus Stroman had another good start in which he gave the Jays a chance to win. Otherwise? Friday and Saturday are two games we’ll be looking to forget pretty quickly.
- One really good thing from this weekend was the return of Steve Pearce, who had sort of become a forgotten guy on this team. He’d missed a month of action and wasn’t playing very well before going on the 10day disabled list back in May. But this weekend, he went 4-for-6 with a couple of walks, a home run, and two RBIs. That’s some much needed life for a lineup that’s looked dead recently.
- J.A. Happ was excellent yet again on Sunday. He’s had back-to-back strong starts in which his fastball command has been excellent, and for the first time in 2017, he appears to be finding a groove.
- Kendrys Morales’ bomb on Sunday was a beautiful sight to behold. The best part about it? It came immediately after a handful of media people and fans were starting to spout about how the team doomed itself due to the lack of small ball.
That poor baseball had a family K-Mo. pic.twitter.com/8jcmr5MjzW— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) June 18, 2017
Things that weren’t good
- Biagini’s start on Friday night was really rough. He had one similar in Atlanta a few weeks ago, but managed to grind out a few innings. This time, Biagini just looked uncomfortable and was never able to get past it. I wouldn’t look too far into it or anything, because the White Sox have a solid lineup and every pitcher has a bad day, but that was a tough one to watch.
- In general? Bleh. The series was pretty ugly. Despite Sunday’s rally and win, the offence looked very poor this weekend. And when you’re facing Mike Pelfrey and James Shields, that isn’t a good thing. Jose Bautista has had a terrible June, as has Kevin Pillar and Troy Tulowitzki. It’s the inevitability of having a boom-or-bust offence, I guess, but the Jays really, really need to avoid hitting these deep lulls.
It’s like the 2015 playoff tour. The Jays will head to Texas for four games against the Rangers and then Kansas City for three with the Royals. After that, they’ll head home to play the Orioles in what is ultimately a 10-game stretch that could make or break their season. Because after that? Things starts to get really tough.