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Blue Jays Take It On The Chin From Detroit

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).

What would be the best word to describe being a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays this year?


The Blue Jays secured their first series win since early April by defeating the struggling White Sox. However, their luck did not continue when they faced the then-slumping Detroit Tigers (who owned a four-game losing streak) on the road.  The Jays are currently performing well below .500 and is far from a playoff spot, casting a dark cloud over their own dugout. General Manager Ross Atkins has reportedly been exploring trade options for key players such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, indicating that no one’s position on the team is etched in stone. Additionally, the Blue Jays’ lack of a strong farm system suggests that the organization is open to making significant changes, possibly signalling the start of a major overhaul.

This organization is ready to blow it up, and the fuse has already been set.  It will take a monstrous June to put it out.

Now on to the series, which began with a bang and ended with a vicious gut punch:

Kevin Gausman opened the series on Thursday with his best start of the year that featured season-highs in game score (70) and strikeouts (10) while evening his record to 3-3.  Offensively, it began with Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who hit a solo home run in the third, followed by a two-run home run in the seventh by Daulton Varsho off Tiger starter Jack Flaherty giving Toronto a 3-1 lead.  The Blue Jays then tacked on another six off Detroit’s bullpen, punctuated by Vladimir Guerrero’s fifth homer of the season, giving Toronto a 9-1 win.  The bloom then fell off the rose for the rest of the series.

On Friday, Detroit ended its five-game skid when Kenta Maeda threw five scoreless innings. Alek Manoah’s good fortune ended as he surrendered six runs (four earned), including Colt Keith’s first MLB home run in the second. To be fair to Manoah, Kevin Kiermaier, Toronto’s defensive stud, was charged with an error when he nearly collided with Daulton Varsho in a play that led to the first three of five runs in the fourth.  The Jays relievers (Nate Pearson, Genesis Cabrera and Erik Swanson) would not allow another run, but neither did Detroit’s Brian Brieske and Willie Vest.  It was not until the 9th inning that the Blue Jays avoided a shutout, thanks to RBI singles from Davis Schneider and Alejandro Kirk off of Andrew Chafin.  The Jays lost 6-2.

Saturday’s game was another sad result for the Blue Jays, albeit by a more competitive score.  Jays starter Jose Berrios gave up a two-run blast by Kerry Carpenter in the first inning, but settled down hurling six scoreless frames afterward.  Conversely, Reese Olson, who entered with a 5-0 record despite a 2.16 ERA.  Olson, who has not received much run support, only had two today, but that was enough.  The Jays bats mustered a lone run from a Davis Schneider double in the seventh, and Toronto fell 2-1.

The series finale was the most exciting of the four games, but it also broke the spirit of the Jays collective.  Starter Yusei Kikuchi was rocked, allowing five runs in three innings, but the Jays fought back with a two-run Cavan Biggio homer in the fourth, and a Justin Turner RBI in the fifth.  Carson Kelly took Trevor Richards deep in the fifth, giving Detroit an 8-3 lead, but again, Toronto showed guts, chipping away and then taking the lead when Daulton Varsho hit a three-run home run for an 11-9 lead, and it looked like the series would be split.  It was not meant to be.  Yimi Garcia, who has been lights out all year, allowed two runs and three hits to tie the game, and Jordan Romano, who has not been good at all in 2024, gave up a three-run walk-off home run to Matt Vierling for a 14-11 loss.

It still hurts.

Here are my five Blue Jays stars of the series:

Vladimir Guerrero Jt. 3 R, 9 H, 4 XBH, 1 HR, 3 RBI, .563/.611/.938/1.549Vladdy is on fire, having hit safely in all four games, with three of them multi-hit and four hits in the series ender.  After this series, Guerrero raised his Slash Line to .302/.393/.427/.820, which means for the first time in 2024 he is batting over .300 with an OPS over .800.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, 3 R, 5 H, 2 XBH, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB.455/.500/1.000/1.500:  IKF also hit safely in all four games, and had his fourth homer of the season.

Dauton Varsho, 2 R, 2 H, 2 XBH, 2 HR, 5 RBI .154/.154/.615/.769:  Varsho is continue to Varsho!  This means that when he hits, he goes deep, which he did twice in the series, collecting five RBI.  He remains the club leader in home runs (10) and runs batted in (30).

Bo Bichette, 2 R, 7 H, 0 XBH, 0 HR, 3 RBI .389/.389/.389/.778:  Like Guerrero, Bichette’s slump is over, and in the three games he had a hit, they were all multi-hit games, although all were singles.  Now that Bo and Vladdy are hitting well again, can we hope George Springer is the next to reclaim his mojo?

Kevin Gausman, 1 W, 6.0 IP, 1.50 ERA, 10 SO, 0.866WHIP:  Gausman allowed three hits and a run over what was the best start of the series for the bluebirds.  Notably, he has only put together back-to-back 60-plus Game Scores once this year, and hopefully, he can do that again in his next start.

Honourable mentions for Jose Berrios 1 W, 6.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, 6 SO, 1.833 WHIP, Danny Jansen 3 R, 4 H, 1XBH, 0 HR, 1 RBI .286/.412/.357/.769

Next, the Jays travel to Chicago to face the White Sox for three games starting Memorial Day.

Until then, touch them all!

Kirk Buchner
Kirk Buchner
Owner/Operator at the Notinhalloffame.com network @notinhalloffame


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