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Blue Jays Drop Series to Padres

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After every Blue Jays series, this Canadian will sum up his five stars of the set and throw in my two cents (worth .015 US).

Full disclosure:  I have always had a soft spot for the San Diego Padres.  When I was a kid, my favorite player was Tony Gwynn (even though I grew up a Jays fan).  I have always loved the singles hitters who grind out at-bats, rarely strike out, and work their butts off.  I still remember watching the old Mel Allen show, “This Week in Baseball”, where they featured Gwynn watching game film from his collection of VHS tapes.  I recall thinking, “How many players do this?” as back then, this was not an easy task to compile.  Not only was he batting a workaholic, he seemed like the nicest guy in baseball, and unlike so many of the sports heroes I had, he never let me down.

As for the city, it is the warm-weather equivalent of Buffalo.  With the exception of an AFL Championship (which is not celebrated by either fan base), San Diego has never won a championship.  The Chargers went to a Super Bowl, lost, and now is the property of Los Angeles.  For a cup of coffee, they had the NBA (which ironically relocated from Buffalo), only for that team, the Clippers also moved North to L.A..  This leaves the Padres, who were thumped in both World Series attempts.  Yes, I have a soft spot for San Diego…unless they play my Blue Jays.

Toronto accomplished a series win on the road for the first time, though we were all hoping to break out the broom for the first time in 2024, though that will have to wait as the Padres won the third game.  Overall, the Jays starters went two-for-three in quality starts, with Jose Berrios performing on an elite level. 

A concern is that none of the first three batters in the Toronto lineup (George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette) with a sub-.750 OPS, others have taken the slack, namely Justin Turner early and Daulton Varsho as of late.

For the first time in ’24, Toronto concludes a series out of last place in the American League East, holding a half-game over Tampa, and at 12-10 are in the Wild Card hunt…and yes, I am looking at that already!   

Here are my five Blue Jays stars of the series.

Jose Berrios, 1 W, 6.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 6 SO, 1.17 WHIP:  What more can we say about Berrios?  This has been the best start of his career (4-0, 0.85 ERA, 27 SO, 1.6 bWAR), and the Puerto Rican is in contention to win Pitcher of the Month.  Berrios has not had a bad start all year and has not allowed a run in his last three games.

Daulton Varsho, 2 R, 4 H, 3 XBH, 1 HR, 3 RBI .364/.364/.818/1.182:  For the second series in a row, Varsho was Toronto’s best offensive player and three of hits were for extra bases.

Yariel Rodriguez, 1 G, 4.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 7 SO, 1.000 WHIP:  Rodriguez again pitched well in only his second MLB game and the Cuban looks to be the fifth starter moving forward.  Coincidentally, for his second game in a row, he was relieved by the man he replaced, Bowden Francis, though this time the latter had his best appearance of the year.  Francis picked up the Win with two Innings of shutout ball.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1 R, 4 H, 1 XBH, 0 HR, 1 RBI .308/.308/.385/.692:  Guerrero is making contact and getting on base, and though the power has not been there, the effort has been with four Hits in the series.  Is Vladdy at a crossroads and bout to burst out, or is this who he is for the rest of the year?  Admittedly, he might be a five-star out of pure hope on my part.  Hey, we all have favorites!

Yimi Garcia 2 G, 1 2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 3 SO, 0.00 WHIP, 

:  Garcia has again been great and currently has a 0.87 ERA and WHIP of 0.290 for the season over 10 Games.  He has not just been the best reliever for Toronto this year but is in the conversation for the best in the American League so far.

Honourable mentions for Davis Schneider 1 R, 2 H, 1 XBH, 1 HR, 2 RBI .286/.286/.714/1.000, Ernie Clement 1 R, 2 H, 1 XBH, 1 HR, 2 RBI .500/.500/1.250/1.750:

Up next, Toronto goes to the Midwest for a four-game series against the surprising Kansas City Royals.

Until then, touch them all!

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