Latest bullpen game sets up Blue Jays for best-case scenario in October

TORONTO – This weekend is a chance for the Toronto Blue Jays to focus the rest of the regular season on what’s ahead of them rather than what’s behind, a chance to help Securing the Oct. 3-5 comeback commitment against those Baltimore Orioles is a deal, nothing more.

How their rotation unfolds from here after another bullpen game – buoyed by two home runs from Matt Chapman and a three-point shot from George Springer – in Friday’s 6-3 win over Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman may be available for this closing set. at Camden Yards.

It’s great, if necessary. Much better for the Blue Jays (82-63), now six games ahead of the fourth-placed Orioles (75-68) in the wildcard standings, is ensuring their two dominants are rested and available for throw first. round of the playoffs starting Oct. 7.

They created a split with the upstart Orioles by taking three of the four in Baltimore Sept. 5-7 and while it’s perilous to look too far ahead, if the Blue Jays capitalize on this streak, they’ll make life much easier for the rest of the campaign and beyond.

A third day in the bullpen in the past two weeks, not counting Mitch White’s loose outing Tuesday in the doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays, couldn’t have gone better for the Blue Jays. Trevor Richards opened by retiring the side, Julian Merryweather followed with two clean frames and Chapman’s first homer, off Jordan Lyles in the second, opened up a 1-0 lead.

Almost scripted Yusei Kikuchi took over in the fourth, immediately allowed a triple to Cedric Mullins and a homer to Adley Rutschman, then settled in to retire his next six batters, Jekyll and Hyde’s final outing which is both infuriating and intriguing.

It carried the Blue Jays through five frames and they took control in the bottom of the fifth when Lyles left a 3-2 curveball down the middle and Springer swung it over the wall on the left to take it to 4 -2.

After Tim Mayza tore through the top of the Orioles order, Chapman hammered a two-point shot over the wall on the left in the sixth and Adam Cimber, Anthony Bass and Yimi Garcia, which allowed Gunnar Henderson to shooting solo in the ninth, closed things down. from there.

The Orioles lost for the seventh time in 11 games since slipping within 1.5 games of the Blue Jays for the final wildcard spot earlier this month, perhaps a sign that their move from the doormat to relevance this season is running out of steam.

Manager Brandon Hyde, a finalist for the Blue Jays job when Charlie Montoyo was hired in the fall of 2018, spoke before the game about how the experience would benefit his current squad and in front of a crowd of 36,573 at Rogers. Center, another lesson was learned.

« These types of playoffs are just different from the May or June playoffs, » said Hyde, whose team is going to be a problem in the AL East for years to come. « Being able to play in games like this, for me, it gives you confidence for the future. That’s the big difference for us this year compared to last year, we gained confidence, the guys took confidence in their abilities, the guys have grown in confidence in each other. I feel like that changed a bit in May and we stayed that way throughout. And you add Gunnar, who is a confident guy and extremely talented, the more matches you can play like this the better.

The Blue Jays got their apprenticeship last year. They intend to do a lot more this time around and prepare as best they can for a wild card streak that will be tough no matter how crucial the opponent is in that regard.


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