For the second series in a row, the Toronto Blue Jays (13-15) avoided a sweep, with a 7-3 victory over Kansas City Thursday night.
Short and sweet tonight. Some of us have to work in the morning. And there’s playoff overtime hockey on my TV right now. Here we go.
Boom Gose The Dynamite! (Sorry. I couldn’t resist). The offense was a well-rounded attack tonight, and newly-recalled Anthony Gose was at the centre of it. Taking Moises Sierra’s roster spot (good riddance), and Melky Cabrera’s lineup spot (day-to-day; shin bruise), Gose went 2-for-4 in the 9-hole, with a key two-run double in the 8th inning that gave the Jays some much-needed insurance.
Other two-hitters tonight included Chris Getz (now four in his three games, nearly half as many as Ryan Goins had in 24 contests); Juan Francisco (MAMMOTH two-run dinger among them. This guy has a power stroke); and Brett Lawrie (average finally over .200!)
Of the seven runs, three came via long ball (Colby Rasmus also went deep), and four game via the non-home run, which is a nice change of pace. The offense, while not firing on all cylinders right now, is not an area of concern at all in my eyes. Every time KC struck, it seemed the Jays were able to answer quickly.
Jose Bautista walked and singled. He’s now reached base every game this season. In other news: water blue, sun yellow, Toronto mayor on crack. Nothing new here.
Jose Reyes went 0-for-5. He’s now hitting just .180 this season. I know “its early”, and more so for him because he missed almost three weeks, but I’m concerned. At least for now. But it just goes to show how dangerous this lineup can be when he is playing up to snuff.
That’s about it. Anybody who says there was anything else bad about tonight’s performance is a nit picky grinch.
Normally this section is reserved for “The Ugly”, but there was no ugly tonight. So the beautiful goes to Mark Buehrle. He’s now 5-1, with a dazzling 2.25 ERA. He surrendered just two earned runs, scattering seven hits, and more importantly, pitched deep into the 7th inning again. He went 6.2, and was only at 94 pitches when he was pulled. He probably could have finished up the 7th, too. But it’s crucial to note, that since Brandon Morrow’s debacle on Saturday, the Jays have gotten at least six innings, and work into the 7th, in four consecutive starts. It only took them a month, but it seems like the starters are beginning to find a groove.
Aaron Loup came on and picked up the awesomeness that is a 7-out save. A no-big-deal 2.1 innings of PERFECT relief. I hope everyone who wanted to get rid of him after his ONE bad outing in Cleveland sits the hell down and shuts up. I’m pretty sure this guy took a line drive off the nuts tonight, too. And still came out and pitched the bottom of the 9th.
Only Loup and Redmond have been used over the last two days, so all of the big dogs are available for the start of the weekend set in Pittsburgh. Although some fans might not want that. I’m sure there were more than a few of you with me in being anxious about a one-run lead heading into the 8th. Thank goodness for bad Kansas City pitching.
The Jays continue the eight-game roadie into Pennsylvania. I said before it started that I wanted 4-4. One out of three isn’t an ideal start, but it’s still an achievable goal. Looking ahead to Philly, they don’t run into Lee, Hamels or Burnett. But in Pittsburgh: they’ve got Garrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, and Edinson Volquez. Yikes. Gulp. Deep breath. Oh, and since it’s an NL park, they lose the DH, and a good hitter. There’s a chance we see Johnny McFrank at third base and Lawrie at second to keep the bats in the lineup. Should be interesting.
Morrow takes the ball for the Blue Jays in Friday night’s opener. Holster your bats, and get your walkin’ shoes ready, Pittsburgh. Well, hopefully not. It can’t get worse than an eight-walk outing, right? RIGHT?!?
R.A. Dickey and Dustin McGowan follow. J.A. Happ starts Monday, so it’s a 6-man rotation and no Marcus Stroman, either. Just let that sink in.
As always, follow along on Twitter, @jaysbalk.