GAMES 122-124, AUG. 17-19: JAYS AT YANKEES
RESULT: New York sweeps series 3-0
1. Tough weekend for rotation in the Bronx
On Friday, Marcus Stroman had another start cut short by a blister.
On Saturday, the Yankees welcomed Sean Reid-Foley to the AL East with a trio of home runs.
On Sunday, Ryan Borucki couldn’t make it out of the first inning.
The story is shorter than the outings: The starting pitching wasn’t very good and it led to the Jays being swept.
In total, the Jays rotation allowed 17 earned runs over three days in the Bronx.
Overall, Jays starters have pitched to a 5.07 ERA this season, fifth-worst in the American League.
2. Stroman sent to DL, Pannone starts Wednesday
Speaking of Stroman, after leaving a third-straight start with a blister issue, he couldn’t avoid the disabled list this time around.
Stroman says he’s been struggling with the problem for a good portion of the season, and the Jays now hope 10 idle days will help the right middle finger blister subside and allow for a strong finish in September.
While his outing Friday – five earned runs on six hits over four innings – was a challenge on a rain-soaked night, Stroman holds a 3.84 ERA in 11 starts since returning from a DL stint due to a shoulder issue.
Lefty Thomas Pannone is scheduled to start Wednesday in Stroman’s place, while right-hander Justin Shafer, an eighth-round pick from the 2014 draft, was recalled to add some bullpen depth.
3. Estrada set for another showcase start
Three games between the Jays and Baltimore Orioles in the dog days of August isn’t going to lure anyone away from the cottage, but Monday’s series opener is sure to draw a few MLB scouts.
With contenders still trolling for pitching depth, there’s a chance Marco Estrada could draw trade interest before the waiver trading period comes to a close at the end of August.
Estrada’s overall numbers — a 4.87 ERA that is fully supported by a 4.88 FIP —don’t impress, but the 35-year-old has managed a 4.00 ERA in 10 starts since the beginning of June, allowing just 41 hits over 54 innings.
The return would be minimal, but there’s no point in keeping him.
Same goes for fellow free-agents-to-be Curtis Granderson and Tyler Clippard if a team comes calling.
4. Gibbons and Pillar exchange words in dugout
Simply run expectancy numbers are the reason you never want to make the first or last out of an inning at third base, but that’s exactly what Kevin Pillar did Sunday when he was thrown out at third base to end the top of the sixth inning.
Pillar didn’t adhere to the old baseball adage when he was gunned down trying to steal third – have you ever seen a worse team on the bases than the Jays this season? –and television cameras caught manager John Gibbons tearing a strip off the 29-year-old centre fielder when he returned to the dugout.
Gibbons would finish off the frustration in the bottom of the sixth by getting ejected for the sixth time this season.
Fun times in Blue Jays Land.
5. Donaldson, Sanchez trending in right direction
After posting a video of himself running the bases to Instagram last week, Josh Donaldson seems to be getting closer to game action, but the Jays have yet to announce any sort of timeline.
The hope is that Donaldson, who’s been out since the end of May with a left calf strain, is ready to start a rehab assignment this week, which would allow the Jays to place him on waivers in order to start the process of potentially trading the third baseman over the next 11 days.
Meanwhile, right-hander Aaron Sanchez was transferred to the 60-day disabled list Sunday, but that was simply a paperwork move to open up a spot on the 40-man roster.
Sanchez threw 3.2 innings for High-A Dunedin on Wednesday, and he’s expected to need at least one more rehab start before he’s considered for a turn at the major-league level.
Up next: Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre
Monday: RHP Andrew Cashner (4-10, 4.71) vs. RHP Marco Estrada (6-9, 4.87)
Tuesday: RHP Dylan Bundy (7-11, 4.99) vs. RHP Sam Gaviglio (2-6, 5.13)
Wednesday: RHP David Hess (2-7, 5.95) vs. LHP Thomas Pannone (0-0, 4.15)
VLAD WATCH: On Sunday against Gwinnett, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 1-for-4, dropping his Triple-A average from .345 to .339. Since hitting homers in four straight games, Vladdy Jr. has slashed just .200/.286/.200 without an extra-base hit over his last 25 at-bats to leave his overall batting average at .389 this season.