For this year’s Blue Jays, moral victories seem to be the ruling currency upon which the team hangs their collective hats. While those are undoubtedly important for a rebuilding team, sometimes actual victories can do wonders for the confidence and chemistry of a struggling team.
This weekend, the Blue Jays (now 32-53) beat up on the cellar-dwelling Royals in a four-game set, taking three contests and finishing up the series with a vicious 11-4 rout on Canada Day thanks to strong offensive performances from some key bats and sufficient pitching prowess.
Here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the weird from this weekend’s tilts at Rogers Centre:
Eric Sogard (7-for-16, HR, 2 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB) and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (7-for-15, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 6 R, 2B, 2 BB) continued their streaks of excellence, while Cavan Biggio (4-for-15, 3 R, HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 2B) came up clutch with a handful of key hits in the latter half of the set. Of course, Freddy Galvis (4-for-15, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB, 3 R) needn’t be forgotten.
Elsewhere in the lineup, Randal Grichuk (5-for-11, HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB) put together a solid series, as did Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3-for-10, HR, RBI, 4 BB, 2B, 5 R). Justin Smoak (3-for-12, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB, 2 R) made a bit of noise as well, despite having the day off Monday.
Starters Clayton Richard (6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R/ER, BB, 4 SO, W) and Sean Reid-Foley (5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, BB, 3 SO) were impressive, despite the lacklustre Royals offence that opposed them.
In the bullpen, David Phelps (2.2 IP, 2 H, R/ER, 4 SO), Joe Biagini (2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 SO), and Ken Giles (1.0 IP, H, 0 R, 2 SO) had good outings, with longman Sam Gaviglio (3.1 IP, 2 H, ER/R, 3 SO) bouncing back with a pair of great frames in the finale.
Nick Kingham (3.1 IP, 3 H, R/ER, SO) and Derek Law (2.0 IP, H, 0 R/ER, 4 SO), both quieter in their dominance, were also solid this weekend.
Even though the team, as a whole, was quite sound at the plate, there were still a few players who didn’t show up with the bats. Rowdy Tellez (2-for-10, 3 SO, R) was left out in Monday’s slugfest, while Brandon Drury (0-for-4, R, 2 BB, SO) and Danny Jansen (2-for-11, R, HR, 2 RBI) struggled overall, even with Jansen’s walk-off homer in Saturday’s game.
On the mound, Aaron Sanchez (3.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R/ER, 4 BB, 3 SO) was roughed up, raising his season’s ERA to an abysmal 6.31.
In the second inning of Sunday’s game, Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile hit a high fly ball to right field. While attempting to make the catch, Royals outfielder Jorge Soler lost the ball in the sun, allowing both runners to score and resulting in Maile ending up on third base. Despite the evident gaffe, Maile was awarded a hit, and Soler was not charged with an error.
Now a few wins richer, the Blue Jays will welcome the Boston Red Sox (44-40) to town for a three-game set beginning Tuesday which will feature David Price (5-2, 3.36 ERA, 82 SO) and Chris Sale (3-7, 3.82 ERA, 148 SO) going up against Trent Thornton (2-5, 4.60 ERA, 91 SO), Reid-Foley (0-1, 4.82 ERA, 8 SO), and Marcus Stroman (5-9, 3.18 ERA, 81 SO). The Red Sox have yet to announce a starter for Thursday’s contest.