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AL East Report – June 21

Well, that week sucked. The Jays played three against the Yankees and three against the Orioles and only came out with two wins thanks to a sweep at the hands of the former. 

On the bright side, the Blue Jays actually gained games on the Rays going from 8.5 games behind to 6.5 games behind, however they dropped 1.5 games to Boston. The biggest loss, of course, came to the Yankees due to the sweep. 

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As they played two divisional rivals, I will touch upon how the Jays did against them in the Yankees and Orioles section respectively. Yes, that means Baltimore will be longer than a text you receive from your angry girlfriend…

Boston Red Sox:

Wait, isn’t Tampa First? Nope. We’ll get to that, but how did the Sox do this week? Well in all honesty, mediocre. First, they played the sub .500 Atlanta Braves in that weird AL/NL series where they have two games sandwiched between two off-days. They won both of them and then went to play the lowly Kansas City Royals. In Kansas, they lost two of three finishing the season.

This week, the Red Sox have two pivotal series against the Red Sox starting Tuesday and the Yankees starting on Friday.

Even though they finished 3-2 against poor teams, it was somehow enough to get them first in the division. Let’s talk about the Rays.

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Tampa Bay Rays:

On Sunday, the Rays called up MLB’s top prospect, Wander Franco. Why now?

Well, the Rays are in the midst of a six-game losing streak. They won their first game against the White Sox on Monday, however, it went all downhill from there. They proceeded to lose the next two against Chicago and then utterly crapped the bed against a mediocre Seattle team. They were walked off 3 times in that series, including an extra-inning grand slam.

With Glasnow injured, are we finally seeing the cracks in the Rays? Do the Jays have a chance to win the division again?

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This week, they play the three games against the Red Sox at the Trop before welcoming the likely AL MVP Shohei Ohtani and the .500 Angels. 

New York Yankees:

Well, now it’s time to get into the sad part of this article. Coming into June 15, the Jays were a game ahead of the Yankees and only 3.5 games behind a wildcard position. They had just lost a heartbreaker against the Red Sox a night before and played against the Yankees in Buffalo. 

In game one, the Jays had a 5-3 lead heading into the 7th inning when of course, bullpen issues. This time it was Anthony Castro who allowed 2 ERs in only 0.1 IP. After being removed, Edwards Jr got an out before proceeding to injure himself. Mayza finished the inning and came out for the 8th allowing a single and getting an out before being lifted for Romano. The pinch runner stole a base and a double scored the runner giving Mayza the loss.

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Next game, Stripling threw 6.2 IP and only allowed three runs. The issue in this game however was the fact that the Jays were unable to cash in with runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. A big issue with this lineup that doesn’t get as much attention is that after Hernandez, the lineup struggled. 

This was the case again because after both Vlad and Teo reached, Grichuk struck out, Espinal grounded into a fielder’s choice where Vlad got caught in no man’s land. He was likely safe, but after reviewing the play, the umps called him out. Now with runners on first and second, Lourdes is up to bat. Chapman threw a fastball that Gurriel whiffed on and went to the backstop, yet the umps called it a foul ball. A wild pitch should’ve allowed the runners to move into scoring position, but quite frankly it didn’t matter much because Gurriel lined out to centerfield, capping off another disappointing game that should have had a different result.

Ladies and gentlemen, the bullpen. In the last game of the series which I at some point turned off, the Jays had a 5-3 lead into the seventh before Castro came in and ruined all fun. Zeuch had a “meh” game only pitching three innings allowing 2 ER. Payamps and Saucedo had good outings as well. After replacing Saucedo, Castro came on with two outs in the 6th. He got the last out and returned in the 7th. Odor singled to start the inning followed by a Stanton home run. Tie game. Sanchez and Urshela both single and Castro is removed with no outs and a two on. Mayza is up and New York bunts, moving the runners to 2nd and 3rd. They get a 2nd out before pinch-hitting Michael Grittens hits a single, scoring both runners.

Pain.

They lost their first game against the A’s, but followed it up with two wins to win the series. This week, they host three against the Royals before going to Fenway and playing Boston.

Baltimore Orioles:

I actually have to write about them, this sucks.

In game one, they got shut down by Eshelman, a pitcher with an ERA over 6.00 in Triple-AA this season. They lost game one 7-1.

In the second game, they were on the brink of losing as they were down 7-4 before rallying in the ninth. Down to their last out and at one point, their last strike, Bichette hit a bloop that tied it before Vlad hit a double to take the lead. I wrote about this after the game, so go check out that blog after reading this one.

The game on Sunday went a lot smoother. The offence struggled until the third time through before eventually putting a four-spot up on Matt Harvey. My boy, Trent “Butters” Thornton made it interesting as he gave up 2 homers and 3 ER, but Chatwood was able to close the game out. Interestingly, as Dan Shulman and Pat Tabler were talking about Kevin Smith, he went yard with a three-run homer. They later were talking about Montero, who also proceeded to go yard.

Not relevant to the AL East report, just needed to flesh out Baltimore’s section more.

Next up…

This week, the Jays play the Marlins for two games before returning home and playing against the Orioles. It is possible that Springer will be back for the Marlins games, but with no DH, it’s possible we see him on Thursday.

More news on the injury front is that Borucki is throwing from the mound and Merryweather is getting close to doing so as well. Jansen is taking batting practice with Buffalo, although when Kirk returns, I’d rather the catching role belong to Kirk and McGuire.

With 6 games, the Jays really need to finish with a winning week as they’ve had two straight losing weeks. The team is starting to become healthy and as the trade deadline continues to loom, it’s really time to start winning.