After several close calls, the Blue Jays have finally won their first series of 2019. Thanks chiefly to some timely hitting and solid pitching, the team was able to beat out the Twins in a rainy and tightly fought four-game series.
With that, the Blue Jays have improved their record to 8-12, and now sit in third place of the American League East. Here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the weird from the team’s first battle with the Minnesota Twins:
Newly recalled infielder Eric Sogard (6-for-12, 3 RBI, 2 2B, .667 SLG) was on fire in his first series with the club, while Teoscar Hernandez (6-for-15, 6 RBI, BB, HR) and Justin Smoak (5-for-14, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 3 R) continued to contribute at their regular rates. Randal Grichuk had himself a great set as well, going 6-for-14, adding a home run, three walks, and four runs scored.
In the field, Hernandez was surprisingly solid with the glove and arm, while Freddy Galvis and Sogard looked smooth up the middle, despite the former’s oddly quiet offensive series.
On the mound, Matt Shoemaker (6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 SO) and Aaron Sanchez (6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 5 SO, W) turned in decent outings once again, while, in relief, Joe Biagini (3.0 IP, 2 SO, SV, W, 0 H) and Daniel Hudson (1.1 IP, SO, 0 H, 0 ER) also had a good stretch.
Sam Gaviglio tossed a solid inning in relief on Monday, while Ryan Tepera (1.0 IP, SO, 0 H), returning from the 10-day IL, threw a great inning in his first appearance of the 2019 season.
In sticking with their trends thus far, Brandon Drury (2-for-10, 3 SO, 2B) and Socrates Brito (0-for-4, 3 SO) were lost at the dish, while Billy McKinney (2-for-12, 3 SO) scuffled yet again.
Rowdy Tellez (2-for-12, 4 SO) was unable to get things going, while Luke Maile (0-for-7, 3 SO) and Alen Hanson (1-for-7, SO, RBI) weren’t too effective with the bats in their own rights.
In the bullpen, Ken Giles (2.0 IP, 3 SO, 2 SV, ER, 3 H), who was battling a sickness throughout the set, looked a tad shaky, while Elvis Luciano (1.1 IP, H, BB, 2 SO, 0 ER) looked off in his only appearance.
Continuing with the theme of attendance, Wednesday’s night soggy contest at Target Field had, per Buck Martinez on the Sportsnet broadcast, the smallest crowd in the park’s history, with 11,465 fans in attendance.
Elsewhere, we saw Brandon Drury and Teoscar Hernandez combine for one of the weirdest baserunning mistakes in recent memory. Luckily for Hernandez, he hit a homer later that night to redeem himself.
The still Vlad-less Blue Jays will head to Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum to battle the Athletics, who they will be hosting next week in a similarly structured three-game series.
In the series, which will likely keep Blue Jays fans up late due to the start times, will feature Marcus Stroman (0-3, 1.99 ERA, 23 SO), Matt Shoemaker (3-0, 1.75 ERA, 23 SO) and Aaron Sanchez (2-1, 2.86 ERA, 21 SO) facing off against Aaron Brooks (2-1, 4.24 ERA, 11 SO), Mike Fiers (2-1, 7.06 ERA, 16 SO), and former Blue Jay Brett Anderson (3-0, 2.63 ERA, 14 SO), respectively.
Unfortunately for Blue Jays fans, the A’s will not be sending Marco Estrada to the hill, as he was recently sidelined with back problems. So far this season, Estrada, who spent parts of four seasons with Toronto, has pitched to an ERA of 6.85 in 23.2 innings, adding 11 strikeouts in five starts.