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.
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.
The Blue Jays .195 batting average with runners on first and second ranks as the 15th worst since 1913.— James G (@james_in_to) July 23, 2017
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!