It began with heartbreak, but it ended with a heartwarming moment. The Blue Jays had a stressful weekend in Kansas City — a place where we’ve come to expect it — but after Friday night’s devastating loss, they’ll head home on a positive note.
On Friday, J.A. Happ pitched an excellent game and the Jays appeared to have things locked down, but the bullpen completely imploded in the ninth inning. It was awful, it was heartbreaking, it was one we all want to forget. 5-4 Royals.
On Saturday, Marco Estrada followed up Happ was a solid inning of his own, but the Jays offence was completely limp. 3-2 Royals.
On Sunday, the bats finally woke up. Francisco Liriano put together the Jays’ third good start of the weekend, and the offence gave him a lot of room for error, scoring five runs in the fifth inning. 8-2 Blue Jays.
Things that were good
- It was a great sight to see Roberto Osuna come back out on Sunday after taking a breather for a few games. Of course, we all want Osuna back and pitching at his best because it makes the team better, but most importantly, it’s nice to see him navigating through his personal issues. It’s easy to forget these guys are human, and despite being paid well to play a game, life isn’t simple. Mental health isn’t something you just sack up and grind out. Beyond that, the response to Osuna and his issues in general was very heartwarming. The Blue Jays handled it well and gave him what he needed, and the fans showed a tremendous amount of support.
- All three of the starters this weekend pitched well, which is important for this team. If the Jays are going to roll, it’s going to be behind consistently good starting pitching. That hasn’t been the case all year largely because of injuries, but this weekend, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada, and Francisco Liriano were all excellent.
- Jose Bautista had himself a damn good series. He’s been very good since being moved to the top of the lineup, which is a spark the team badly needed. This weekend, Jose went 6-for-14 with a key homer in Sunday’s game. He also tied Joe Carter for fourth in Blue Jays franchise history with 736 RBIs. Speaking of the leadoff spot, Kevin Pillar has looked much, much better at the plate since being bumped down in the order.
Things that weren’t good
- That game on Friday was ugly. Real ugly. The Jays had the win in the bag, but completely unravelled, allowing Kansas City to score four runs with two outs on back-to-back-to-back hits by three batters with averages around the Mendoza line. Personally, I think Ryan Tepera should have just stayed in. If you’re giving him the ninth inning in a three-run game because that’s where he is on your depth chart, ride or die.
- Saturday’s game was painful too, but, of course, for a different reason. The Jays got shut down by Jason Vargas, who has inexplicably become good this season. Despite having nine hits in the game, they only had three opportunities with runners in scoring position.
- Kendrys Morales had a bad time in his return to Kauffman Stadium, putting up a 0-for-9 goose egg over two starts and a pinch hit appearance. Josh Donaldson had a few ugly at bats in which he swung through hittable pitches and awkwardly hacked at pitches outside of the zone. Those two obviously need to be swinging well in order for the offence to work, but I wouldn’t worry too much about one series in Kansas City.
- This base running by Lorenzo Cain was fucking hilarious. I should put it in the things that were good section because it was funny, but I want to finish off with it instead. Cain is casually trotting home, watching as Eric Hosmer tries to leg out a double. Before touching the plate at home, Hosmer is tagged out by Darwin Barney, ending the inning. Kansas City doesn’t get the run. This is especially hilarious because I’ve heard so many people wank off to the Royals for being such a good fundamental ball club.
Lorenzo Cain is walking to the plate while watching Eric Hosmer get tagged out at second base WHILE DOWN SIX RUNS. Run doesn't score. pic.twitter.com/SKRlswRRx8— BP Toronto (@BProToronto) June 25, 2017
The Jays will have a day off on Monday before welcoming the Trash Birds to Rogers Centre. After that, they’ll play Boston, New York, and Houston in a stretch that’ll likely determine whether or not this team is playoff material or not. It should be fun*!
* stressful as fuck