April 2017 has been one shitty month when it comes to this team. This is probably the worst month I’ve witnessed in the 11 seasons of writing about Blue Jays baseball. It was some combination of terrible play, injuries and bad luck that made it just seem like an endless test in patience and resilience. How many times can I be punished and still come back for more?
Endless injuries, endless bad luck. Endless strings of games with good hitting and bad starting pitching, games with great starting pitching and no hitting, games with enough hitting, great starting pitching and a tire fire in the bullpen. Endless.
Marcus Stroman getting 10 strikeouts on Friday night and ending up with neither a pitcher win or a team win is about as April 2017 as I will ever want anything to be.
The win on Saturday was a bounceback for the bullpen, which blew Stroman’s brilliant start on Friday night.
Liriano held it together through five and the bullpen took over, which redeemed itself. Roberto Osuna credits Russell Martin with encouraging him to go back to his four seam fastball. Per Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith:
Offensively, Russell Martin seems reborn, as though he has realized that it was getting late early.
It’s unclear as to whether the return of “stir it up” is a cause or an effect, but Stoeten summed it up pretty well today:
Stir on, Coltrane. Stir on.
Solid starting pitching, timely hits and a shutdown bullpen. The Jays were a good baseball team on Saturday.
I missed the first inning of Sunday’s game and tuned the radio on while driving around doing Sunday stuff. I knew Sanchez was scheduled to start and wondered why Joe Siddall was talking about Ryan Tepera so much. Sanchez split his injured fingernail. Horizontally.
It was a bullpen game vs the other team’s ace that the Blue Jays actually won. It looked very bad when the Rays bunted home a run in the top of the 8th. It had all the makings of one of those sucker punch games the Jays have been specialists at so far this season. This happening while they were wearing those red jerseys I hate with the heat of a thousand suns felt especially cruel.
However, they were not going to go quietly. José Bautista scorched a double (his 1000 hit as a Blue Jay) to the wall, scoring Darwin Barney to tie it up. Two batters later, Russell Martin (him again) hit a two run single, making it 3-1. Osuna shut it down and all was right in the world.
Except Aaron Sanchez’s fingernail, which is still quite terrible.
That pretty much sums it all up:
Let's see what new dizzying highs and devastating lows await us in May.