Toronto Blue Jays: Guide for the Part Time Fan Week 18

For anyone who may have tuned out after Monday’s 14-1 loss (read: embarrassment) at the hands of the Red Sox, the Jays managed to take the next three games from Boston and are currently tied with the Yankees for second place in the AL East.

In hopes of shaking things up, the Jays shuffled their roster several times this week. Erik Kratz and Darren Mastroianni were sent to AAA-Buffalo. Second baseman Ryan Goins and outfielder Anthony Gose returned to Toronto while top prospect Aaron Sanchez was also promoted to the big club. Meanwhile, pitcher Brad Mills, who was the principal player in Monday’s awfulness, was ‘designated for assignment’ – which is baseball lingo for “please go away.”

The much-anticipated debut of Aaron Sanchez finally occurred on Wednesday with rave-worthy results. The 22-year old pitched two innings out of the bullpen and retired all six batters he faced. His pitches were described as “lights out.” It was a Hollywood-style script and hopefully a glimpse at things to come for the Blue Jays.

The following day, Jays fans enjoyed another great look into the future, as youngster Marcus Stroman took a no hitter into the 7th inning before giving up a bloop single to Shane Victorino. It would prove the only hit of the game. Even better, the Jays offense was dominant with contributions all through the lineup – including two hits by Ryan Goins – a great sign given the Jays’ need at second base. Our boys eventually won 8-0.

The Jays now begin a road trip that will take them through New York, Boston, and Houston. For Friday night’s 7:07pm game, the Jays send Mark Buerhle to the mound against New York’s Hiroki Kuroda. Though Yankee Stadium is often unkind to our boys, this is an opportunity to break away from them damn Yanks in the standings. 

Insider Stuff
Though little discussed, the Blue Jays may be headed towards a wall. As is common practice with young pitchers, the Jays have set “innings limits” on some of their young stars – namely Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, and Aaron Sanchez. The aim is to protect these developing arms against overuse too early in their young careers.

But with the Jays’ reliance on these players in the rotation, what happens in mid-September when these innings limits are met? Are these limits negotiable? Can management really afford to shut half the rotation down if they find themselves in the middle of a pennant race?

Look for the Jays to bring in some veteran reinforcements. They may not be the marquee names the fans would prefer to see, but they will be, we hope, pitchers who can take the ball every fifth day.

Buzzword of the Week: Bunt
On the surface, this doesn’t seem like much of a buzzword. Most of us are familiar with the term ‘bunt’. Rather than swing, the batter squares to the pitcher and holds the bat out to make light contact with the ball. But let’s highlight some of the variations that exist in the baseball lexicon.

Sac Bunt – With a runner on base, the batter may choose to ‘sacrifice’ his at-bat in order to push the runner forward. Similar to a sac-fly, the batter is not charged with an official at-bat, and so his batting average is unaffected.

Squeeze Bunt – With a runner on third base, the batter will drop a bunt, preferably up the first baseline. While the defense rushes to field the ball, the runner on third attempts to score.

Suicide Bunt – This is a squeeze bunt, but coordinated and with no room for error. Both the batter and the runner have a job to do. As soon as the pitcher begins his motion towards home, the runner will break – essentially stealing home. It’s the batter’s job to drop a bunt allowing the runner time to cross the plate. However, if the batter is unsuccessful, the runner is a sitting duck – trapped somewhere between third and home. Hence the term ‘suicide bunt’.

Drag Bunt – Think of this like a running bunt. The batter will drop a bunt while already in motion, hoping to make it to first base before the defense can field the ball and throw him out.

With Anthony Gose’s incredible speed, he is evolving into a great drag bunter. If he sees that the infielders are positioned deep (or perhaps just sitting on their heels), Gose will often attempt to bunt his way on base.

So what have you learned?
The Jays managed to win 3 of 4 games against Boston, in spite of blue Monday’s 14-1 calamity. Top prospect Aaron Sanchez finally arrived and demonstrated why he’s one of the most envied young talents today. Marcus Stroman was ‘lights out’ in his last start, while the offense appears to have woken from its slumber. And the Jays may need to add some veteran pitching before the season is over.

We suggest you refine your bunting skills, and we’ll race you back here next Friday with more tips and techniques on the best damn (and only) ball club North of the Border.


Want more updates on the most Notable things happening so you know before your colleagues do? Get our exclusive newsletter here and follow us on Twitter for all the latest.