Hyun Jin Ryu gets knocked around for the first time this season as the Blue Jays fall in Boston

The losing streak extends to three as the Blue Jays get dropped in Boston by a score of 4-2. Those Sox, they might be pretty good!

Things worth mentioning…
For the first time this season, Hyun Jin Ryu got hit. Heading into tonight’s game, Toronto’s ace had allowed just four earned runs over the course of 19 innings. Tonight, he allowed four in five innings. Ryu was masterful through his first three innings but the Red Sox got to him their second time up to bat. In the fourth inning, Ryu allowed a single, a single, a homer to Xander Bogaerts, a double, and a triple for four runs. He managed to work through a double and a fielding error in the fifth inning and then got pulled. Boston just came off a win in which they put up six innings in the first on Lucas Giolito, so I wouldn’t pin this so much on Ryu pitching poorly, more so on Boston being very hot.
Even despite Ryu’s ho-hum start, the Blue Jays bats, yet again, did virtually nothing. The team scored only two runs, both on solo homers from Bo Bichette and Randal Grichuk. They only …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Another pitcher bites the dust

We’ve got yet another injury to the Blue Jays pitching staff. This time, it’s T.J. Zeuch.

Zeuch has been placed on the 10-day Injured List with right shoulder tendinitis and Santiago Espinal has been called up from the Alternate Training Site in a subsequent move.
That means that the Blue Jays currently have Kirby Yates, Patrick Murphy, Ross Stripling, Jordan Romano, Tyler Chatwood, Julian Merryweather, Nate Pearson, and Tom Hatch on the Injured List among pitchers on the 40-man roster. Only Elvis Luciano, Ty Tice, and Travis Bergen remain as pitchers on the 40-man who aren’t currently either injured or on the active roster.
Zeuch hasn’t exactly been all that good this year, as he’s allowed nine earned runs over 12 innings of work and he’s walked more guys than he’s struck out, but the fact pitchers are dropping like flies is obviously worrying. Of course, this isn’t just a Blue Jays thing so save your ‘hurrr durrrr more like the low-performance department!!!’ jokes. This is a thing all around baseball and it likely has to do with last season being significantly shorter than normal seasons.
Anyway, that’s eight pitchers on …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays head to Fenway for a two-game series against the surprisingly good Red Sox

Coming off of an ugly performance in Kansas City, the Blue Jays will play a two-game set with the best of the American League East which, just as we all expected, is the Boston Red Sox.

How they’re doing…
It’s only been a little over half a month, but the Red Sox are killing it this year. They’re 11-6, tied for the top spot in the American League, and they’re fresh off of kicking the shit out of Chicago White Sox ace Lucas Giolito.
The expectation was that Boston would be a middling team this year and that would score quite a few runs but also allow quite a few in return. So far, the offence has come even more than advertised, as Boston has the second-most runs-per-game in baseball, and the pitching has been better than expected, as their 3.70 team ERA is above league average.
Now, of course, a few-week-long hot streak shouldn’t mean all too much, but this team has a good base here with Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez, and Xander Bogaerts, and we’ve certainly seen the Red Sox inexplicably fart their way to a successful season despite low expectation. 2013 comes …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays Nation Radio Ep. 5: Bad times in Kansas City? What else is new?!?

The Blue Jays rolled into Kauffman Stadium, a place of shadows, darkness, and sadness, and had their momentum squashed.

After completing an exciting series win over the New York Yankees that was capped by a Bo Bichette walk-off dinger, the Blue Jays had themselves an opportunity to start climbing up the American League East ladder with a four-game set against the thoroughly mediocre Royals. That didn’t happen as the team dropped three of four.
We talked about the downs from the series, of which there were multiple, such as the stagnant offence, Randal Grichuk’s suddenly stone-cold bat, and Charlie Montoyo’s puzzling bullpen management. But we also managed to find some positives, such as Steven Matz’ killing it, Vlad Jr. arriving, and what appears to be the impending return/debut of George Springer.
We also took a look ahead to the upcoming two-game set with the Red Sox at Fenway. Boston has been weirdly good this year. Is it a mirage? Or should we be worried about some weird, 2013-level stuff from them?
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

A disappointing weekend in Kansas City is capped off by limp bats and some “WTF, Charlie?” moments

Yet again, the Blue Jays came out of an impressive series win against the Yankees and gave it all back by underperforming against a mediocre opponent. The Royals win the finale by a score of 2-0, the Blue Jays drop the series 3-1, and they now sit at 7-9 for the season.

Things worth mentioning…
Robbie Ray made his second start of the season and it was a really weird one. Despite walking six batters, Ray managed to walk the tightrope and not allow a single run over five innings of work. Out of 92 pitches thrown, he only generated 41 swings, and only 13 whiffs, which is pretty unusual for a strikeout guy like Ray. Even when he’s walking a lot of guys, as he was today, Ray generally still gets more whiffs than that.

After Ray came out of the game, we got a big-time “what the fuck, Charlie?” moment. Tim Mayza came out and pitched a scoreless sixth, and then Montoyo opted to bring in T.J. Zeuch to face the middle of Kansas City’s order in the seventh. Zeuch allowed a double on his first pitch and then allowed Sal Perez to smash a two-run bomb to …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

More Injuries! Julian Merryweather to the 10-day IL, Ross Stripling scratched with forearm tightness

The Blue Jays are already without, among others, George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Nate Pearson, and the team was dealt another couple of blows on Wednesday morning.

Julian Merryweather is going on the 10-day Injured List with a left oblique strain. He left last night’s game after throwing just a few pitches with what the team called a hip issue. This is obviously really, really unfortunate as Merryweather has been excellent and Toronto’s bullpen is already without Tyler Chatwood. This leaves either Rafael Dolis or Jordan Romano as the closer.
Coming up in Merryweather’s place will be Anthony Castro, who the team claimed off waivers from the Detroit Tigers back in December. Castro has just one inning at the big-league level but pitched fairly well for the team in spring training and was in the mix to crack the team right up until the end. Castro tossed nine-and-one-third Grapefruit innings and struck out 15 batters.
David Phelps is listed as day-to-day after getting drilled by a liner last night. He won’t go on the Injured List but also won’t be available tonight.
And then there’s Ross Stripling, who was supposed to start today, but won’t …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Hyun Jin Ryu tosses a gem, Vlad stretches and flashes leather, Rowdy finally smashes a dinger, and the Blue Jays down the Yanks

After a frustrating loss on Monday, the Blue Jays were facing what low-key felt like a must-win game with ace Hyun Jin Ryu taking the mound. And, oh boy, he delivered.

Things worth mentioning…
For the third time this season, Ryu put together a very nice start. The bats actually showed up this time around so he was also able to earn his first win of the season. Ryu went six-and-two-thirds innings, allowing one run (unearned) on four hits and one walk while striking out seven. He’s allowed just four earned runs over 19 innings so far this season. It was impressive to see Ryu just carve up New York’s righty-heavy lineup, especially given the fact they saw him just a couple of weeks ago. The Yanks only managed to put 17 balls in play, and only about half of those balls were hit particularly hard. All told, it was a gem for Ryu, who had New York just totally confused and off-balance all night.

Things got sort of weird pitching-wise after Ryu left the game. David Phelps came in to finish off the seventh inning and then came out for the eighth but got drilled in the back by …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Teoscar Hernandez has tested positive for COVID-19, George Springer won’t join Blue Jays on upcoming road trip

There was some good Blue Jays-related injury news earlier today in regards to Nate Pearson, but Charlie Montoyo provided us with some more not-so-good news later on.

First up, Teoscar Hernandez has tested positive for COVID-19. He had been quarantining after coming into contact with somebody who had a positive test last week. Montoyo said that Hernandez started feeling symptoms on Monday but is feeling better today. He’ll be out for at least 10 days, per MLB’s COVID protocol.
The hope, Montoyo says, is that since Hernandez has been isolated from the team since Friday, this situation is limited to just him and that it hasn’t spread to anybody else on the team. We don’t know yet if that’s the case, though.
Next up, George Springer took batting practice on Monday but won’t join the team on their upcoming road trip. After the New York series ends tomorrow, the Blue Jays hit the road to Kansas City, Boston, and Tampa Bay, and don’t play at home again until they face the Nationals on April 27. This would indicate that Springer won’t join the team until then, at the earliest.
Finally, in more positive news, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Yankees and Blue Jays, a match-up of teams looking to break out of underwhelming starts

The Blue Jays had a rough showing last week.

They lost two of three to Texas and then lost two of three to Anaheim while the fourth game in the series was rained out. They’re now 4-5 on the season, which is obviously disappointing given their impressive series win over the Yankees on opening weekend.
On a bright note, that 4-5 record isn’t quite as alarming when you look at how the Tampa Bay Rays and the Yankees, two key teams the Blue Jays are fighting with this season, are doing so far.
How they’re doing…
Like the Blue Jays, the Yankees own a 4-5 record on the season. After getting dropped on opening weekend, New York took two of three from the Orioles and then went into Tampa Bay and lost two of three to the Rays.
The struggle for the Yankees thus far, surprisingly, has been their lineup. New York is averaging 4.22 runs-per-game, which is slightly below league average. The Yankees boasted the fourth-best offence in baseball last season despite a wealth of injuries to important players, so seeing them struggling with a healthy lineup isn’t really what you expect to see.
Some ugly …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Why is Teoscar Hernández Striking out so much?

The Blue Jays record of 3-4 feels a little disappointing after they took two of three from the Yankees in New York to start the year. The pitching and defence which was of concern for everyone, has been solid, it’s the offense or lack thereof that has hurt them.

Blue Jays batters set a franchise record for the most strikeouts thru the first 7 games of a season (72)
They struck out 71 times thru the first 7 games of 2016.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) April 9, 2021

The Blue Jays aren’t quite as bad as Baltimore who lead the league with 91 strikeouts, but for a team that wants to contend they need to improve. It would be one thing if Gerrit Cole got them for 12 strikeouts in the opener, you could tip your cap to one of the best pitchers in the league. But seeing the hitters get mowed down by arms like Dane Dunning and Kyle Gibson is slightly alarming.
The biggest culprit of this is Teoscar Hernández. Hernández has struck out 14 times this season, tied with Tyler O’Neill and Miguel Sano for the league lead. Teoscar has had 29 plate appearances and has struck out in just under half of them. Hernández is …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation