So much for playing spoiler! The Red Sox rolled into Toronto and handily put a beating down on the Blue Jays, sweeping them to extend their lead in the American League East.
- On Monday, Marcus Stroman put together a strong start, but the bullpen let the lead slip away in the seventh inning as the Red Sox rallied for four runs. Justin Smoak clubbed a homer off of Craig Kimbrel in the ninth, but the comeback came up short. 6-5 Red Sox.
- On Tuesday, Brett Anderson did a damn good job duelling with Chris Sale, but the soon-to-be Cy Young winner was simply too good. Sale carved through Toronto’s lineup like they were a Little League World Series team, picking up 11 strikeouts through seven shutout innings. 3-0 Red Sox.
- ON Wednesday, J.A. Happ pitched a strong game, but the heavily taxed bullpen came unglued again, allowing the Sox to score six runs in the seventh and eighth. Rick Porcello, who has been ass this season, also had an easy time with Toronto’s lineup. 7-1 Red Sox.
Things that were good
- All three of Toronto’s starting pitchers were good this week. Marcus Stroman allowed one run over six innings while striking out four, adding yet another quality start to his season filled with strong performances. Brett Anderson was obviously the pleasant surprise of the week, as the lefty signed to a minor league deal a couple weeks ago looked pretty damn sharp against Boston’s lineup. He went five-and-two-thirds while allowing only one run, which is a great sign. The Jays have said he’ll continue to start so long as he’s healthy, but I’m not sure what that means for his future with the team in 2018. And finally, J.A. Happ rebounded from a couple of mediocre five-run starts with a very 2016 Happ-like performance, holding Boston to one run on four hits over six innings. All three of these guys deserved wins, but, of course, that didn’t happen.
- Kevin Pillar made a damn good catch on Tuesday. It’s ballsy that he’s still laying himself out like this for the team considering how the season is pretty much over. Many will suggest it’s a TV catch, but fuck me, I don’t care if his route or break was bad, if you’re diving on to a tarp over concrete you deserve a pat on the back.
- Justin Smoak clubbed a bomb off of Craig Kimbrel, which, well, fuck yeah. It didn’t result in a comeback win or anything, but Smoak hitting off of guys as good as Kimbrel is a great thing.
My favourite part of any Pillar catch is how overly appreciative Stroman is. Also the catch is sick. pic.twitter.com/TuQPW8EqU1— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) August 29, 2017
Things that weren’t good
- The bullpen, holy hell. The ‘pen had a hell of a time this week, giving up 11 runs over six-and-one-third innings. Obviously the offence didn’t do much to give anybody any breathing room, but the ‘pen spoiled three solid starts this week. That said, this is a group that’s been heavily taxed all season, so they deserve to be cut a break. Danny Barnes, Ryan Tepera, and others have pitched an absurd amount of high leverage innings and have largely been up to the task, so there’s no need to shit on them now in late August for having the wheels fall off a bit.
- The bats were like goddamn warm pasta this week. They struck out 15 times (!) on Tuesday, getting completely owned by Chris Sale. The other two games against Drew Pomeranz and Rick Porcello, who sure as fuck aren’t Chris goddamn Sale, weren’t much better either. Yeesh, it was a rough one to watch.
- The decline of Jose Bautista has been a tough thing to witness. He’s totally lost it at the plate as his average has dipped to .205, and he had a tough time in the field this week too. There’s no way you can forget Jose’s legacy and contribution to this franchise, but his victory lap has been pretty depressing. Hopefully he can go out with a bang in September, because it would be awesome to see him go out like the legend we all know and love.
The Jays will head to Baltimore for four games with the Trash Birds, who are within striking distance of the wild card. This is a very, very good chance to play spoiler.