We all knew it was coming. We already went through this last year. But that didn’t make it any easier. While it isn’t official at this point, it’s all but certain Jose Bautista has played his last game as a Blue Jay at Rogers Centre.
It was an incredibly emotional weekend at the dome as fans came out to say thank you to the GOAT, and the team rallied behind Bautista to come up with a couple of huge wins to ensure it was a memorable time for everyone.
On Friday, Marco Estrada took the mound fresh off of signing a one-year extension to remain a Blue Jay in 2018. He dazzled, shutting the Yankees down for one run on three hits over eight strong innings. The bats jumped all over Masahiro Tanaka, led by Ryan Goins grand slam in the sixth inning. 8-1 Blue Jays
On Saturday, the Sonny Gray and the Yankees bullpen shut down the Jays lineup. Joe Biagini was solid, but there wasn’t much room for error as the offence couldn’t get anything going. 5-1 Yankees.
On Sunday, Marcus Stroman took the mound in an unimportant game that was actually very important. It was Jose Bautista’s last game at home as a Jay, and Stroman and the bats showed up to make it memorable. The Jays exploded for nine runs in the first four innings, then the ‘pen shut the door before Jose left the game in the ninth to a standing ovation from the crowd. 9-5 Blue Jays.
There are no words. pic.twitter.com/HYdM6W3BYn— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) September 24, 2017
Things of note
- Jose weekend was excellent. All three games, fans packed the dome and cheered for Jose at every chance they could get. I don’t think there was any doubt this fanbase would come through and create such an amazing atmosphere for the guy largely responsible for bringing this team back to life, but it really was a sight to behold. Sunday was especially incredible. Jose came onto the field by himself and was given a standing ovation as he warmed up in right field, the cheers continued through all of his at bats, and climaxed when John Gibbons pulled him from the game in the ninth inning to take one final bow. It was some beautiful stuff. Great work, Jays Nation.
- Marcus Stroman warmed up before Sunday’s game wearing a throwback Bautista black angry birds jersey, the one Jose wore when he clubbed 54 bombs back in 2010. That was a nice touch. I’m glad Stroman was the one to start Jose’s final game. It was fitting.
- Speaking of starts, Marco Estrada had an amazing one on Friday, and it was perfectly timed. Estrada, as I said earlier, was fresh off of an extension and came out and showed everyone exactly why the team wanted him back again in 2018. Save for that month-and-a-half stretch where he struggled, Estrada has been great in his entire career as a Blue Jay and it’s great he’s going to be back.
- Teoscar Hernandez had himself a solid weekend, clubbing homers in all three games. It’s taken him a while to get settled, but Hernandez’s approach has looked very good as of late and his bat features a lot of pop.
- Back to Jose Sunday, the fans started chanting the classic “JOSE JOSE JOSE JOSE!” as they filed out of the stadium. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.
The Jays will head to Boston for three games, take Thursday off, then head to New York for three more. After that, it’s all wrapped up.