Series Sum-Up: at Baltimore, June 17-19

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Game 1: Friday, June 17th
JAYS WIN! 13-3
Winning Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez


Give Michael Saunders a round of applause! Tip your caps (no need to throw them). The left fielder hit three home runs in one game, beating the Orioles single-handedly as he drove in eight runs. Justin Smoak and Josh Donaldson both also homered, and Orioles starter Mike Wright was chased from the game after 3.2 innings. Wright was subsequently demoted to the minors.
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We might have to start calling Aaron Sanchez ‘Houdini’ for his ability to escape tricky situations. Twice – in the 1st and 3rd innings – he loaded the bases but got out of the inning. In the first, it was with no outs, but he got two strikeouts and a groundout. In the third, there was one out, but Darwin Barney and Russell Martin combined for a fantastic double play, Barney catching a pop-up and firing home to catch Manny Machado out at the plate. The only runs off Sanchez were the leadoff hitters in those innings, as they each singled and came around to score.



Game 2: Saturday, June 18th
Jays lose, 2-4
Losing Pitcher: R.A. Dickey


Unearned runs are a pain, aren’t they? Without the run in the 1st that scored on a Josh Thole passed ball (stop me if you’ve heard this before), Dickey only gave up two runs. That’s as many as his team would score for him. Dickey also got lucky in the 3rd, as a nice Ezequiel Carrera double play on a fly ball erased a baserunner right before a home run. The fourth Oriole run came off Jason Grilli in the 8th.


Troy Tulowitzki‘s much-awaited return from the Disabled List was a little anticlimactic. The Blue Jays shortstop was 0-for-4, while his team combined to get seven hits and six walks. The first Blue Jays run was an Ezequiel Carrera solo homer in the 3rd, and the second was a Kevin Pillar walk in the 4th which Devon Travis drove in with a double. The Jays did manage to load the bases in the 9th with one out, after a Travis single and two consecutive walks. But Josh Donaldson grounded into a double play to end the game. Donaldson had earlier tied his career-best 11-game hit streak, and 23 consecutive games on base.



Game 3: Sunday, June 19th
Jays lose, 6-11
Losing pitcher: Marcus Stroman


Even with Manny Machado serving the first game for his suspension, the Orioles thoroughly embarrassed Marcus Stroman. He gave up seven runs on ten hits and couldn’t even get out of the 4th inning. The kindest thing that can be said about his start is that at least he didn’t walk anyone. The only time the Blue Jays briefly held a lead was in the top of the 2nd; after the O’s scored three runs in the 1st on a Chris Davis RBI single and a Matt Weiters two-run homer, the Jays countered as Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis each had two-run homers of their own. But after a long injury delay for an umpire who was hit with a foul tip, the Orioles tied it up in the bottom of the 2nd. Stroman did have a clean 3rd, then got beat around in the 4th and was pulled after four hits and three runs scored.


Joe Biagini replaced Stroman and got a quick out to strand two, but then gave up a run on three straight hits to start the 5th. Gavin Floyd, who was brought in to replace him, got three straight outs and then pitched a clean 6th. The Jays crept closer with two runs in the 7th, making it 6-8, but after that things started to really unravel for their bullpen. Chad Girodo faced one batter, who doubled, and then Jesse Chavez ended his streak of nine games with no earned runs as he gave up an RBI single and a two-run homer. Drew Storen somehow managed to strand the bases loaded in the 8th, and that’s the end. The Blue Jays had seven hits and reached on one error. They stranded three and only had one walk.


Overall Notes: 

In spite of all the losses he’s charged with, R.A. Dickey really hasn’t been bad recently. The offense just seems to take the day off whenever he’s on the mound. Marco Estrada had this problem at the beginning of the year as well, as he averaged just 2.0 runs of support per game into May. In this article, Dickey discusses that, as well as how ridiculous it is to place significance on the pitcher win.


Josh Donaldson was awarded the A.L. Player of the Week for the week covering this and the Philadelphia series. He has 11 runs scored, 9 RBI, four doubles, a triple and 3 home runs in that span. Way to go, Josh!


Weirdly Specific Record Alert: 

  • Michael Saunders became the first Canadian, playing as a Blue Jay, to hit three home runs in one game.
  • Saunders also tied the MLB record for most RBI in one game by a Canadian.


My Favourite Player(s) this series: Saunders/Travis

Michael Saunders accomplished something only three other Canadians have ever done, something only fifteen other Blue Jays have ever done, and best of all he did it in the face of some bitter division rivals. He was only a few feet from hitting another home run in the 2nd inning of Friday’s game, but it was caught at the wall. He ended the game with a career-high 8 RBI, just one short of tying the team record.


Speaking of robbing home runs, Saunders did so on Sunday against J.J. Hardy in the 7th. He can field, too!


Devon Travis is in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak, going 5-for-7 in this series (he didn’t play on Friday). Four of those five hits were for extra bases – one home run and three doubles. He also had four RBI and a perfect day at the plate on Sunday, going 3-for-3 with the home run plus two doubles, and drew the only Blue Jays walk of the game.


Where we are now:
3rd place, 2.5 back of the Orioles (following Monday’s off day)


The bad news is, we the fans have to endure not one, but TWO days without Blue Jays games this week. Jose Bautista is still out for at least two more weeks with his injured foot.


The good news is, this is only the second series they’ve lost since May 18th. The next 30 games are outside of the AL East and we don’t have to deal with the Orioles again until the end of July.


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