Series Sum-Up: Royals vs. Blue Jays

 Toronto Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ was the hard-luck losing pitcher against the Kansas City Royals on September 21. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

Toronto Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ was the hard-luck losing pitcher against the Kansas City Royals on September 21. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

By: Emily (@JaysGirlEmily)

Canadian Baseball Network

Game 1: Tuesday, September 19
JAYS WIN!! 5-2
Winning Pitcher: Marcus Stroman
Save: Roberto Osuna

Marcus Stroman held the Royals scoreless for six innings. Whit Merrifield led off the 1st with a single, but two ground balls from the following batters were hit too softly for double plays. A Mitch Moreland ‘double’ with 9% hit probability got between the middle infielders in the 2nd. Stroman allowed one runner in each of the next two innings, then got a double play in the 4th and retired the next seven in order. Jose Bautista made a sliding catch on a foul pop-up in the top of the 3rd. Meanwhile, Ian Kennedy also kept the Jays from scoring for the first five innings.

Bautista made another nice catch, this one at the wall, in the top of the 6th. The Jays took the lead on a two-run Darwin Barney home run. After Kennedy left the game, Josh Donaldson singled, but Justin Smoak hit into a double play. The first Royals run scored after a pair of singles led off the 7th, and then a Moustakas sac fly. Kevin Pillar reached on a double in the bottom of the inning, and then scored, along with Kendrys Morales, on a Russell Martin double. Barney then singled to plate Martin, making it 5-1.

Stroman’s night was done after that, having allowed one run in four hits over seven innings. Alex Gordon homered to lead off the 8th off Ryan Tepera. Roberto Osuna came in for the 9th, and with two strikeouts got his 37th save of the year, a new career high.

Game 2: Wednesday, September 20
Jays lose, 5-15
Losing Pitcher: Brett Anderson

Brett Anderson was not at his best during this game, as he didn’t even make it out of the 2nd. In the 1st inning, he allowed two singles to start, and Melky Cabrera hit a sac fly to bring a run in. In the 2nd, the inning began with a single, a double, an RBI single from Alcides Escobar, and then a walk. Whit Merrifield drove in another run with a single before the first out. The Royals pulled off a double steal, with Russell Martin making a throwing error that resulted in a run. The play at the plate was reviewed; the call was upheld.

Cabrera walked, then Eric Hosmer drove in a pair with a double. Anderson left the game, still with one out. Luis Santos took over, and gave up a two-run homer to Salvador Perez. The Blue Jays didn’t even get their first hit of the game off Jakob Junis until the 5th – it was a Kevin Pillar single. In the top of the 6th, with Carlos Ramirez pitching, Merrifield led off with a home run, then a walk and a double led to another run, a ground out scored another, and Mike Moustakas hit another home run. 13-0 Royals. Those were the first runs Ramirez had allowed all year – in either the minors or the majors.

The Jays scored four runs in the 7th, thanks to a single, Michael Saunders (Victoria, B.C.) reaching on a fielding error, a walk, a two-run Teoscar Hernandez double. Raffy Lopez scored one with a sac fly, then Ryan Goins did the same. Four singles led to another pair of runs for Kansas City, then Raffy Lopez hit a solo home run in the 9th to bring the game to its final score.

Game 3: Thursday, September 21
Jays lose, 0-1
Losing Pitcher: J.A. Happ

Quite the opposite of the slugfest the day before, this game was decided by the 3rd inning. Jose Bautista nearly lost a ball in the lights, but recovered to make a catch behind himself. The Jays got a leadoff single in the 2nd, then hit into a double play and stranded a walk.

In the top of the 3rd, a walk, a single, and a Melky Cabrera RBI single led to the only run of the game. Luke Maile then threw out a runner for the third out of the inning. Two Kansas City runners reached in the 4th – on a single and a Josh Donaldson throwing error that took Justin Smoak off the base – but J.A. Happ got a double play and a strikeout to get out of it.

The Blue Jays only had five baserunners total – two hits and three walks – all of them against starter Jason Vargas. The bullpen threw 2 2/3 innings and shut the Toronto batters down completely. Nine Blue Jays struck out, three of them against relievers. Meanwhile, only two walks were allowed by Jays pitching – both by Happ, and both to Alex Gordon. Happ allowed seven hits over 6 2/3 innings, and got six strikeouts. Dominic Leone and Ryan Tepera each pitched an inning, and Matt Dermody faced one batter and got an out.

Overall Notes:

The Blue Jays suffered their 82nd loss of the season on Thursday, confirming that they will never reach the .500 record for the season.

On Tuesday night, news broke that the Jays were close to signing Marco Estrada to a contract extension. The contract is for one year, at 13 million dollars. He said he could have gone to free agency but staying in Toronto was a priority - and if the Jays made the playoffs in 2018 and he missed it, he would be disappointed. Video of his press conference can be found here.

Weirdly Specific Record Alert:

- On Tuesday they broke the record for the most innings the Jays bullpen has ever pitched in a season

- The Alex Gordon home run allowed in Game 1 was the 5,694th home run hit in MLB this season, which breaks the all-time record set in 2000.

My Favourite Player(s) of the week: Stroman

Stroman reached a career high of 12 wins for the season, with a seven-inning start where he only allowed one run. He allowed four hits, and walked two. He struck out five, and his ERA is down to 3.01. Of his 92 pitches, 61 were strikes. He got mostly ground-ball outs - ten, compared to two fly outs. He also earned this interesting distinction, among some impressive names:

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The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit the Handbook page for more information!

Emily

Emily is a Communications student who grew up with a Roy Halladay poster on the back of her door. A baseball history nerd, she played softball for nine years and changes her favourite Blue Jay on a regular basis. She fondly remembers going to her first Jays game at age six with her father, and spending the whole time staring at the elevators going up the CN Tower.