With sport on hiatus as the world tries to slow the spread of COVID-19, there are still ways to fill the void created by the lack of games. In order to distract from the much more serious things going on in the world, Sportsnet Blue Jays radio broadcaster Mike Wilner will simulate every Blue Jays game scheduled in what was supposed to be the 2020 season and provide updates weekly days in this space. . You can follow the games as they happen on Twitter @ Wilnerness590. The simulation is done using Dynasty League Baseball, a table (and online) simulation game of cards and dice.
It was another rough simulated week for your Blue Jays 2020 when they ran into a jigsaw in the Minnesota Twins juggernaut and then had what looks like their usual tough journey to their home of horrors, Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
The week started with the Blue Jays licking their injuries after a 1-0 home loss to Kansas City, and those injuries became much deeper in a hurry. The Twins came to town – their great all-season hitting team from last season bolstered by the addition of Josh Donaldson – and threw an old-fashioned home game, scoring in each of the first five innings to build a 10-0 lead and roll to an easy 16-4 victory.
Donaldson was sort of held in check with “only” a single and two walks, but Nelson Cruz completed two circuits and drove in four and Luis Arraez had three doubles in four hits, scored five times and rolled in three.
Tanner Roark allowed five runs on eight hits in just 3 1/3 of the innings, and the riser enclosure was (clearly) no better behind him. The Jays did not score until seventh, when they were already lagging behind by 11. Randal Grichuk and Rowdy Tellez have made consecutive home runs.
The playing environment for the series was much calmer. A formidable duel of launchers, in fact. Matt Shoemaker dropped a heat in the first heat, while Jorge Polanco doubled and was immediately selected by Cruz, then the right-hander went to work. After Cruz’s single, Shoemaker retired 20 twin hitters in a row, taking two batters in the eighth inning.
But Kenta Maeda had held the Blue Jays’ bats in check, taking one of his two batterers into seventh without scoring a point. In this seventh inning, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. started with a single and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went far behind to give the Jays a 2-1 lead, and it looked like Shoemaker’s incredible work would be rewarded.
Shoemaker ceded a double to Miguel Sano to start the eighth inning, and a withdrawal later placed Eddie Rosario in third. That was all for the right-hander, and the call went to Sam Gaviglio, because he had been almost perfect at this point in the simulation, while editing man Anthony Bass was still trying to make his way into the right ones thanks after the return-puffed back saves the previous week.
Byron Buxton hit the ground for the shortstop. With the inside field behind, Bo Bichette could not go home to try to reduce the race to marble, and with Buxton’s speed, there was no double play to turn. Draw. Arraez and Polanco then chose to bring Buxton and put the Twins at the top.
The Blue Jays tried to rally, charging the bases with an exit at the end of the eighth, but Sergio Romo entered the game to eliminate Gurriel and bring out Teoscar Hernandez (Guerrero was out of the game at the top of the sleeve) after s be injured when entering the shelter while chasing a fake pop-up).
In the ninth, the Jays placed the men in first and second place with two withdrawals, but Taylor Rogers pulled Joe Panik to keep a 3-2 win against the twins.
The Blue Jays tried to prevent a sweep in the series finale, but Minnesota got everything they needed in Chase Anderson’s first inning, which allowed Arraez to double to start the game and then after a withdrawal, hit Cruz and abandoned a bachelor in Donaldson to load the bases. Anderson followed this by walking in a race, then allowing a sacrifice to Sano. The twins had two, the Jays would only get one. This race would happen in the fifth, when Brandon Drury’s field scored a triple Panik.
Minny added later with two-run homeruns by Jake Cave and Max Kepler and a solo shot from Donaldson, who went 3-for-11 with four walks in the series. The Twins won the Blue Jays with a 7-1 victory, and now it was time to hit the road.
After a day off, the Blue Jays traveled to St. Pete to begin a three-city road trip that would also take them to Boston and Baltimore, and it started with intense drama.
Trent Thornton was magnificent with 7 1/3 innings without a deserved point, but again suffered from a lack of attacking support. A Hernandez circuit in the second placed the Jays in the lead early, but the Rays recovered as an error from Guerrero loaded the bases with a withdrawal in the third. Ji-Man Choi followed with a ground ball chosen by an RBI defensive player to tie it up.
He stayed 1-1 until the sixth when the Blue Jays took a break as Bichette picked the ball and approached a ball passed by Mike Zunino. He managed to score easily on a Gurriel single, but the Blue Jays had runners in the corners with a withdrawal and couldn’t add.
Still, they gave the ever-reliable Ken Giles a one-point lead at the bottom of the ninth, and he had two quick outs before punching Kevin Kiermaier with a throw. Zunino was next and, with the game at stake, he found a gap in the center left for a brace that easily marked the Ray’s quick midfielder to tie the game. A forced stop for Giles was his first in the simulation, but the fourth on the team so far.
In the eleventh, Jonathan Davis (who had come to the defense to protect this one-ninth-point lead) started with a single from the sixth Ray spokesman Jalen Beeks. He went second on a single by Reese McGuire and third on a ground ball of choice by defender Tellez. Next, Grichuk, who struck a ball in the center. Kiermaier caught it, Davis scored and just beat the pitch to put the Blue Jays at the top.
Gaviglio stepped out of the “pen”, seeking redemption, and found him (temporarily) with the perfect frame to seal the 3-2 victory.
With Hyun-Jin Ryu taking the ball for the midfield of the series, the Blue Jays were in an excellent position to take the series and the left-hander delivered. Ryu threw a full game of three hitters, allowing only one run, walking only one and striking out ten. It was a wonderful performance, but you can’t win if you don’t score, and the Blue Jays didn’t.
While Ryu was spinning his gem, Ryan Yarbrough, Nick Anderson and Jose Alvarado also combined on a triple, and the Blue Jays never managed to get a runner after second base. Their best chance at scoring was in the seventh, when Gurriel eliminated Yarbrough from the game with a header double. But Anderson came to retire Guerrero, get Hernandez on a routine fly and Jansen on a comebacker.
It was the third time in five Ryu starts so far this season in which the Blue Jays have been shut out, and their second loss 1-0. The Blue Jays have, on average, a wave of support for Ryu when he leaves, which is hardly a surprise that he is 1-4 to start his career with the Blue Jays, despite a BPM of 2.31.
The final included old-fashioned Sunday programming, with all of Davis’, Derek Fisher, Drury and McGuire’s bench starting. After all, the regulars had done nothing to save playing time, with the team scoring three points or less in six of the last seven games.
And it worked! In the beginning, anyway.
The Blue Jays hit Blake Snell for four points in the second inning – tied in one game over the previous nine outings.
The round started with Choi starting a Grounder Fisher, but the bats took it back. Tellez delivered a two-point homerun and a few hitters later, Panik led a pair with a double.
Roark was trembling again, because after getting the fourth place, he immediately returned one on a duplicate of Willy Adames RBI, then loaded the bases in the second before blasting Austin Meadows out of it.
After the Blue Jays added a point in the fourth on a triple Panik, Roark allowed an unearned point at the end of the heat after a mistake by Guerrero, while Meadows doubled for this runner. The Rays would charge the bases again, but Hunter Renfroe failed to get Roark out of another jam. In his four innings, he batted 23 batters, 11 of which hit base, but only allowed two runs and returned to the relievers’ enclosure.
Ben Nicholson-Smith is the Sportsnet baseball editor. Arden Zwelling is a senior writer. Together, they bring you the most in-depth Blue Jays podcast in the league, covering all the latest news with opinions and analysis, as well as interviews with other insiders and team members.
After the Panik triple, the Blue Jays would only succeed one more time the rest of the way. This is not the case for the shelves.
He was still 5-2 in Toronto late in the seventh when Gaviglio took over from Shun Yamaguchi, who had provided two scoreless relief runs.
Gaviglio withdrew the first two hitters he faced, and then all derailed.
Adames has doubled. Jose Martinez struck for Manuel Margot and chose to score Adames. Michael Perez overtook Martinez to make it a one-point match and Gaviglio walked Brandon Lowe and then gave way to Bass.
Bass gave up a single to Meadows who tied the game – his third blown save – then accompanied Yandy Diaz to charge the bases before bringing Choi back on a return. The Rays in six straight games reached base, all with two outs, to tie the game.
The Blue Jays could not do anything in the eighth and failed a double Biggio double in the ninth.
Wilmer Font came to face the bottom of the Rays’ order at the bottom of the ninth, with Giles (who only had one day off after pitching two innings) in case the Jays take the lead on the extras. And after all, it was the bottom of the control, right? Well, Kiermaier and Perez have had consecutive doubles and that was it. Rays win 6-5 to take the streak, and the Blue Jays drop to 8-14 on simulation after a 1-5 week. This week – three each at Fenway and Camden Yards!
Each match is simulated on the day it was supposed to have been played – follow it daily on Twitter @ wilnerness590 to “watch” the simulated season!