Photo Credit: © Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Series Recap: Dominated In Cleveland

You’d think this was a playoff series between the Raptors and Cavaliers.

Or, I guess, a re-play of the American League Championship Series between the Blue Jays and Clevelanders. The Jays were dismantled by Cleveland this weekend, getting swept in a series for the first time since the Red Sox plowed through Toronto on Canada Day Weekend. They’re sitting at 10 games below .500 and hope is all but lost.

What happened?

On Friday, Marco Estrada seemed to have things under control, but the wheels fell off the fifth inning. Estrada allowed four runs in the fifth before being lifted, then the ‘pen let Cleveland tack on another eight runs in a massive seventh inning rally. Trevor Bauer wasn’t good, but he didn’t have to be. 13-3 Cleveland.

On Saturday, Marcus Stroman did everything he could to keep the Jays alive against Danny Salazar, who allowed just one hit over seven innings. Justin Smoak clubbed a game-tying homer off of Andrew Miller in the eighth, but Francisco Lindor hit a walk-off homer off of Danny Barnes in the 10th. 2-1 Cleveland. 

On Sunday, J.A. Happ got knocked around by the Cleveland lineup, surrendering seven earned runs in six innings of work. Of course, that was enough for Corey Kluber, who made the Jays lineup look like a Triple-A team. 8-1 Cleveland. 

Things that were good

  • Marcus Stroman pitched another damn good game on Satirday. It’s a damn shame the bats couldn’t come through and get him a win. Stro battled through a blister and held Cleveland to just one run on five hits and five walks over seven-and-two-thirds innings while striking out seven. Like I mentioned above, he had to be virtually perfect in order to out-duel Danny Salazar, who carved the Jays bats up with ease. Stroman now has an ERA of 2.98 on the season and has become the ace-calibre starter we all hoped he would.
  • Justin Smoak hitting a home run off of Andrew Miller was pretty incredible. His season has been one of, like, three bright spots on this team, and coming up clutch in a situation like that against one of the game’s best pitchers is yet another notch on Smoak’s memorable 2017 campaign.
  • *crickets* …. Beyond those two? It’s pretty hard to find positives from this weekend’s whooping.

Things that weren’t good

  • Marco Estrada had yet another rough outing. It appeared this time that he was under control. He was pounding the corners, throwing strikes, and doing what he did for over two years when he was successful, but then the wheels fell off. Estrada said after the game that he just ran out of has in the fifth inning, which is very worrying. Surely there’s some kind of injury here. Anyways, Estrada has only made it out of the fifth inning twice in his last nine starts dating back to June 1.
  • J.A. Happ allowed a season-high seven earned runs on Sunday. He has been very good since coming off of the disabled list, though, so it isn’t quite as worrying as Estrada’s struggles.
  • The offence was a complete dumpster fire all weekend. They scored two runs in the first two innings off of Trevor Bauer in Friday’s game, then only managed to score three in total the rest of the way. The lineup combined for 18 hits and eight walks over the weekend, and barely threatened at all in Saturday and Sunday’s games. There’s no point in singling anybody out in particular. The lineup has just been bad.

Up next…

Getting swept in this series — and ultimately going 3-7 on this road trip — is unfortunate because of the winnable stretch of games coming up. Toronto will host the Angels and A’s this week before travelling to Chicago for three with the White Sox. If they win all 10 they’ll be at .500 before going to Houston!

  • wb

    It’s getting difficult to watch, and I say this as someone who became a die-hard fan during the Delgado era. The only bright spots are Smoak, Stroman, and Osuna. Even watching Pillar in the field hasn’t brought that much joy this year, as, at least from the eye test, he’s not making the spectacular plays as often, and missing on some of the non-spectacular ones, too. I’ll keep watching and keep cheering, though. Go Jays!

    • AD

      I’m fed up with watching Pillar hit. His D is declining is his bat is atrocious, he needs to be dealt this winter if the jays have any plans of competing next year. Just too many black holes in this lineup.

        • Mule or etc...

          Well, Pillar is probably at his peak value right now. He’s only going to lose range in the outfield as he gets older and I think we’ve seen his ceiling as a hitter. If the Jays are going to rebuild they might consider trading him as in a couple years when the Jays are ready to contend his defense might not compensate for his bat.

          • Glassman

            In theory he would move to LF or RF and have one of the young up and coming OF’s take over for center. And the rebuild we are talking about really is the team retooling and trying for next year which makes sense not to trade him. Maybe if the jays are out of it by this time next year you could consider moving him.

          • The Humungus

            Right, but they don’t have a CF ready for the majors right now, unless Roemon Fields is your answer with his career minor league WRC+ of 60. You’d have to think he’s a hell of a late bloomer if his Buffalo numbers are remotely close to what he is as a player (117 WRC+, .316/.374/.398 slash).

            Might as well take two or three more years of arb Pillar than sign a free agent or hope Alford magically gets a throwing arm (I’m done waiting on Pompey).

  • AD

    Man, im reallllyyyy hoping the jays sell this deadline. With Shapiro’s recent comments I’m not exactly optimistic but anybody should be on the table. If someone wants to offer a mega package for Osuna or Stro you have to take it It really sucks that Estrada, Liriano, and jbats are really shitting the bed lately.

  • Holly Wood

    This is an ugly stretch we are watching now. The Jays are now old, slow, over rated and to a large degree untraceable. You have to hang onto Stroman, Sanchez, Osuna and the young unproven talent in AA and AAA. Unfortunately the trade value of Bautista, Tulo, Liriano, Estrada, Pearce, has spiralled with their play recently so you will get virtually nothing in returnAs for Montero, that’s an embarrassment to the big leagues, John Gibbons could give us more than him behind the plate, maybe even get the ball to second without a bounce. The play of the vets has dragged down the likes of Goins, Pillar, Barney even Martin to new lows, somehow Smoak has maintained his play all year. This may get worse before it gets any better

    • GrumblePup

      “The play of the vets has dragged down the likes of Goins, Pillar, Barney even Martin to new lows, somehow Smoak has maintained his play all year.”

      What the actual shit are you talking about? How does the play of “the vets” affect any other player’s ability in the field or at the plate?

      Example scenarios:

      1. A ground ball is hit to Ryan Goins. Goins charges the ball and look like he is going to make the play. Suddenly in the back of his mind he hears Tulo’s voice “IF I DON’T PLAY WELL, THEN YOU DON’T PLAY WELL!” Goins sees the logic in this and lets the ball roll past him into the outfield. On his next at bat, Goins proceeds to strike out on purpose. As he returns to the dugout, he tips his hat to Tulo and they share a knowing nod. All is right in the world.

      2. A hard liner is smashed deep into the corner in Right field, Jose Bautista charges after it but because he was shading the play towards centre (he wasn’t expecting the right handed batter to show so much power going the opposite way) he doesn’t quite make the catch. He pick up the ball and guns it to second, but the batter slides in safely just ahead of the tag. Russel Martin watches all this from behind the plate and can see Jose’s frustration. Martin decides that, in a wonderful display of solidarity, he won’t play well for the rest of the season either. From now one, Martin only calls for fastballs down the middle, and refuses to attempt to stop any passed balls. He does not make a single attempt to throw out any baserunners that are attempting to steal a base. On top of that, he only swings at pitches that are outside the strike zone, and often times, he just sits down in the batter’s box and plays in the dirt. Bautista is impressed with Martin’s dedication to not showing up the Right Fielder and adopts him as his son. All is right in the world.

      3. Justin Smoak is in the clubhouse listening to the Team Leaders in Bautista, Tulo and Estrada tell the rest of the team that none of them are allowed to play well. The whole team agrees, but Smoak stands up and says “Fuck that. I’m going to play the best I can, the rest of you can suck it.” Smoak is now a pariah. He is clubhouse cancer. GET HIM THE FUCK OFF THE TEAM!

      You’re an idiot.