Looking back at the four most memorable series from the 2023 Blue Jays season

Photo credit:Dan Hamilton/USA Today
Veronica Chung
3 months ago
The 2023 season was exhilarating but chaotic for many teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays. As we bid the 2023 season goodbye, here are the Jays’ top four series from this year that we can reflect on as we gear up for more transactions, signings, and spring training.

Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays (September 15-17, 2023)

This series was the most crucial one in the Jays’ season, given that their playoff odds dramatically plummeted to approximately 30 percent after the Texas Rangers swept them in an inglorious four-game series. While the Boston Red Sox were successful against the Jays multiple times in the 2023 season, it was evident that the Red Sox lacked skills and talents compared to the Jays. In other words, the team needed to come out on top of the Red Sox series for once given that the Jays have chronically underperformed all season long. 
And that’s exactly what the Jays did. Even though the games didn’t exactly feature several home runs and exciting winning narratives, the Jays still grilled the Red Sox as they relied on their elite pitching throughout this three-game series. Two out of three games were excruciatingly painful at times as both teams refused to score more runs, but the Jays prevailed each time because their pitching held the Red Sox from scoring a little longer. Have we also touched on the fact that one of these games ended with a winning run from a swinging bunt? Yes, that really happened. 
The Jays finally swept the Red Sox at home as their payback for the Canada Day weekend series and got themselves back in the playoff picture. Just when everyone thought it was over for the Jays, they proved everyone wrong again – that was the beauty of this team even if it was difficult to watch their low-scoring games at times. 

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Toronto Blue Jays at Pittsburgh Pirates (May 5-7, 2023)

After the Boston Red Sox swept the Jays at Fenway Park in a four-game series, the Jays had a lot to prove as they aimed to solidify themselves as a true contender in a tough American League (AL) East division. The problem was that the Pittsburgh Pirates were a surging team in the National League (NL) Central when the Jays arrived at PNC Park to face them. The Pirates were coming off a 20-12 record while the Jays came with an 18-14 record after a rough start to May. 
However, the Jays could show off their true talents in Pittsburgh and took advantage of the young Pirates team for this three-game series. In this series, the Jays showcased their sharp pitching up and down their rotation while their lineup never stopped clobbering the balls for all three games. This was reminiscent of the Jays’ sweep against the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox in April and this series successfully demonstrated the Jays’ advantage against the National League Central and overall AL East team’s competitiveness. 

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Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays (September 22-24, 2023)

As the Jays came out victorious in the Bronx against the slumping New York Yankees with a series win, they had to prepare themselves for a nightmarish series against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Tropicana Field (also known as “the Trop”). Historically speaking, the Jays have not performed well at the Trop. It’s well known that the Jays have not won a series in Tampa Bay for a long time, and there was no reason to think they would this time around, too, as they headed for a rough series. 
However, the twist was that the Jays needed to win the series to solidify their chances of getting to the playoffs. The AL Wild Card race was already mayhem and it was important for the Jays to claim their place to feel secure in their playoff odds. Funny enough the Rays struck first when it came to scoring for all three games. While the Jays failed to score more than the Rays for one of these games, they have successfully scored more runs than the Rays by taking advantage of weaknesses in both starting and relief pitching. 
Although the Jays’ offence didn’t score 20 runs at Tampa this time around, the Jays demonstrated their offensive strengths by producing singles, doubles and home runs consistently. That’s how the Jays could come out of Tampa with a series win when they needed it the most. The Rays have never been an easy opponent to beat for the Jays but this series exhibited how their pure talent level could outsmart even the savviest team in the division. 

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Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays (May 12-14, 2023)

What more can we say about this series? This three-game series had everything – the hype of a competent opponent, flawless pitching execution from the Jays’ pitching staff and stellar defensive plays from position players. Coming into Toronto, the Atlanta Braves were a force in the NL East division as they recorded 25 wins. It was clear that the Braves weren’t going to make any game easy on the Jays with their young talents on the lineup and in their rotation. 
Furthermore, the Jays hadn’t faced the Braves since the 2021 season and the stakes were high to keep that momentum going. The Jays never lost a game to the Braves two years ago and it was vital to keep that streak alive to keep up the fan base and clubhouse morale. And the Jays did more than that for this entire series. Chris Bassitt threw a complete game and shut down the Braves’ offence altogether while Jose Berrios, Yusei Kikuchi and the Jays’ relief pitchers only gave up seven runs in total throughout this three-game series. 
The Jays’ offence did just enough to outscore the Braves but their magnificent defensive plays made the difference, especially in Bassitt’s complete game win. Kevin Kiermaier made a sliding catching and Bo Bichette leaped to prevent a massive double from the Braves’ offence. This was the Jays at their best, in a way, even if the overall offence was a little bit lacklustre at times. 
The Jays’ sweep against the Atlanta Braves was a moral victory that displayed the Jays’ talents at all levels, and it also helped the Jays to understand that their talent level was incomparable to most teams in the NL East. 

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