In one of the most cohesive and impressive series’ this team has played thus far, the Blue Jays (14-14), swept the Oakland Athletics (14-16) at home this weekend in the long-awaited debut series of Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Now 7-3 over their last 10 contests (and three games ahead of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East), the Blue Jays swept the season series against Oakland 6-0 in tremendous fashion.
Here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the weird from the maiden voyage of the Guerrero-era Toronto Blue Jays:
Brandon Drury (6-for-12, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2B) had an exceptional series, as did fellow infielder Eric Sogard (6-for-11, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB), both of whom pleasantly surprised Blue Jays fans all series long.
Though it didn’t show up in the box score, Guerrero Jr. (3-for-12, 2B, BB, 3 SO) had himself a productive first series in the bigs, showing admirable range in the field and showing excellent plate discipline. Randal Grichuk (5-for-14, 3 RBI, 2B) was quietly effective as well, improving his average to .270 on the season.
On the mound, Ryan Tepera (1.1 IP, H, 2 SO, 0 ER, 2 G) and Ken Giles (2.0 IP, 1 H, W, 3 SO) were stellar in relief, while Marcus Stroman (7.0 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 7 SO) had an incredible start in the first game of the set.
Of course, Aaron Sanchez (5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO) wasn’t too shabby either, nor were Daniel Hudson (2.0 IP, SO, 2 BB, 0 H, 0 R) and Sam Gaviglio (3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 SO).
Socrates Brito (0-for-3, 3 SO) continued to flounder at the plate, while the catching tandem of Luke Maile (0-for-2) and Danny Jansen (2-for-7, RBI, SO, BB) both struggled at the dish, despite solid performances in the field.
Elsewhere in the field, Rowdy Tellez (2-for-13, R, 2B, RBI, 3 SO) and Billy McKinney (1-for-8) failed to make noise, as did Teoscar Hernandez (0-for-6, 2 SO, RBI, R).
Pitchers Joe Biagini (1.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, HR) and Trent Thornton (5.0 IP, 2 H, 5 BB, ER, 7 SO) weren’t their best, while Elvis Luciano (0.1 IP, HB) looked shaky, despite earning his first major-league win in Sunday’s thrilling finale.
In one of the more puzzling managerial decisions Charlie Montoyo has made this season, Alen Hanson was brought in as a pinch-runner for Guerrero Jr. in the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game. While Hanson is undoubtedly a better baserunner than Guerrero, taking the bat out of the lineup certainly angered certain fans.
In terms of attendance, Friday’s game, which saw the debut of Guerrero Jr., brought in only 28,688 fans to the ballpark, with Saturday’s game attracting 22,254, and Sunday’s finale topping out at 18,557.
The Blue Jays, now equipped with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., will head to Los Angeles Tuesday to begin a three-game series against the Angels (12-17), who’ll send Griffin Canning (1-0, 0.56 ERA, 17 SO at Triple-A), Felix Pena (0-1, 3.63 ERA, 22 SO), and Tyler Skaggs (2-2, 3.15 ERA, 19 SO) to the hill against Clay Buchholz (0-1, 4.60 ERA, 8 SO), Marcus Stroman (1-3, 1.43 ERA, 36 SO), and Aaron Sanchez (3-1, 2.32 ERA, 27 SO).