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Twins Take Series From Blue Jays

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).

Toronto welcomed Minnesota, the team that knocked them out in the Wild Card round last year for three games.  The Twins were where they were last year, challenging for a division lead. The Blue Jays are not, cleaning out Mommy’s basement and acting like they plan to stay a while, but as I always say, the beer can is half-full.

By the way, now that I live in Seattle, I am using the Rainier beer can, and from the top of my building, I can see the summit looking East.

Let’s get to the series.

Toronto lost another series, and they are currently at the bottom of the AL East standings. However, some players put in solid performances in the game. Yusei Kikuchi played exceptionally well, going eight innings without giving any walks and only allowing four hits. But he gave up a run in the first inning and a solo home run to Carlos Santana in the fifth. On the other hand, Joe Ryan gave up only one run which came off of Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s bat. Kiner-Falefa added another run in the 9th inning, but so did Minnesota, and the game ended with Toronto losing the opener 3-2.

The second game was by far the most exciting of the series.  Starter Kevin Gausman was destroyed, surrendering seven runs in three innings of work and when the Jays batted in the bottom of the third, they were already down 7-1.  Toronto didn’t back down on this Saturday.  Daulton Varsho Doubled in a run with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singling in another, and after Ryan Jeffers got a solo shot off of Zack Pop, the rest of the bullpen buckled down, and the Jays bats came alive. 

Isn’t that a nice change?

Davis Schneider and Daulton Varsho both homered in the fifth, and Vladdy singled in two runs in the sixth to tie the game at 8. Toronto manufactured two more runs late in the game to take it 10-8, and Vladdy had four hits with three RBIs in the game. What was more impressive to me was the bullpen work from the 5th inning on.  Trevor Richards, Erik Swanson, the returning Yimi Garcia and Jordan Romano allowed only one hit, no walks and no runs.  Swanson finally had a good outing and picked up the win, and having Garcia back is a godsend. 

Alek Manoah, started in the finale, and he had his first good outing in a Blue Jays uniform in a year.  He pitched six scoreless frames, matching Bailey Ober who fanned 10 in 6.1 innings of shutout ball.  Manoah’s luck ran out in the seventh when Carlos Santana hit his third Home Run of the series, giving the Twins a 3-0 lead.  Max Kepler doubled in two more in the 8th off of Erik Swanson, who could not string together two straight quality appearances and the Jays lost 5-1.

Notably, Bo Bichette hit safely in all three games.

Here are my five Blue Jays stars of the series:

Yusei Kikcuhi, 1 L, 8.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 3 SO, 0.500 WHIP:  Kikcuhi got the loss to Joe Ryan, though had the slightly higher Game Score (69-68).  He has been the most consistent starter for Toronto all year. 

Alek Manoah, 1 L, 7.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 6 SO, 0.714 WHIP:  None of Manoah’s runs were earned, and even though he is tagged with the loss, this could be the catalyst for Manoah’s return.  He needed this badly. 

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. 2 R, 7 H, 0 XBH, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB .583/.615/.583/1.199:  Guerrero Jr. had a hit in every game and has elevated his Slash Line to .273/.364/.390 and now has a good OPS+ of 119.  None of his hits went for extra bases, but if he is morphing into a singles hitter who gets on base often, that is not the worst thing.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, 2 R, 5 H, 1 XBH, 1 HR, 2 RBI .417/.417/.667/1.083:  IKF had both RBIs in the opening game loss, and had another solid three-game series.

Davis Schneider, 3 R, 3 H, 2 XBH, 1 HR, 2 RBI .429/.444/1.000/1.444:  How can you not love this guy?  Schneider now has a .500 Slugging Percentage through 90 At Bats, and it has been a great story for a player drafted in the 28th Round in 2017.

Honourable mentions for Bo Bichette 2 R, 4 H, 1 XBH, 1 HR, 1 RBI .333/.385/.583/.968

Next, Toronto goes back on the road for three games against the division-leading Baltimore Orioles. 

Until then, touch them all!

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


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