What’s less obvious is how often a vulnerable pitching staff can steal their own wins, but that’s exactly what happened in each of Springer’s first two games back on the injured list. .
On Tuesday, the Blue Jays beat Miami 2-1. Then with Robbie Ray on the mound on Wednesday, the Blue Jays won 3-1 to sweep the Marlins, improved to 37-35 this season, and – for a few oddly quiet nights, at least – got past the paddock issues that have troubled them so much lately.
” It’s good. We can go in and shut it off when the hitters are having a little trouble, ”Ray said afterward. “We worked our at-bats, got the points we needed and it was great for the pitchers to shut it down – especially the bullpen. “
The win brings the Blue Jays’ longest winning streak of the season to four as they face a rare weak spot in an otherwise difficult schedule. With a weekend streak against the Orioles on the schedule, the Blue Jays have even more opportunities to prove they deserve significant reinforcements by the trade deadline.
So far, contributions from Ray and relievers Tim Mayza, Tyler Chatwood and Jordan Romano have been more than enough despite a quiet evening of Blue Jays training. For manager Charlie Montoyo, no night is completely stress-free, but some are certainly more comfortable than others.
“The key is that the starter goes deep,” Montoyo said. “We used the same three guys and they’re stuck. They are throwing really well and with the game on the line all three guys did a good job again. “
Throwing with his distinctive style of maximum effort, Ray gave the Blue Jays six innings while allowing just one run and striking out six at bat. The only flaw came on a Starling Marte solo home run, giving Ray 18 home runs allowed this season – the most in the American League.
Still, home runs are less expensive when you walk fewer hitters, and Ray’s tendency to throw more hitting throughout the season continued on Wednesday. Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas really earned the only walk Ray delivered with an 11-field base, but otherwise the Marlins only managed three singles against Ray, whose fastpitch peaked at 96.5 mph
During the season, the southpaw now has a 3.35 ERA while also placing in the top 20 in the American League for innings pitched.
“He’s been like another ace,” Montoyo said. “When he takes the mound, we have a very good chance of winning. “
From there, the Blue Jays put the game back in the bullpen and for the second night in a row, the results were excellent. In three relief innings, the trio of Mayza, Chatwood and Romano allowed only one total hit despite all three pitching the night before.
Of course, no two-game streak will fundamentally change the way the front office assesses its needs, so nothing that has happened in the past two days eliminates this team’s need for pitching help. Three relievers aren’t enough, after all, but at least those two wins are now in the bank.
Playing on center court for the second night in a row, Springer went out without a hitting in three batting appearances with one walk and one RBI. Down the middle, it was another relatively calm night for the 31-year-old, but he managed to find a line from Sandy Leon with apparent ease to complete the seventh inning.
By the high standards he is now held to, Guerrero Jr. had a quiet evening at home plate with a walk and a single, but ahead of the game he announced a decision that provides some insight into how he is approaching the game. season. After discussing the matter with a few people, including his Hall of Fame dad, Guerrero Jr. decided not to participate in this year’s Home Run Derby.
“Part of me sure wanted to say yes, but the other part was more about me mentally and physically,” Guerrero Jr. said through translator Hector Lebron. “In the end, I decided not to participate in the derby just to take care of myself physically and mentally and to be ready for the second half. “
After playing in each of the Blue Jays’ first 72 games, Guerrero Jr. still feels physically strong, so the decision is largely a cautious one. Just like he did last year, he hopes to contribute to every Blue Jays game. In fact, when Montoyo asks Guerrero Jr. what day he wants to leave, the 22-year-old will point out empty days in the calendar where no games are scheduled.
“What I like about the kid is that he thinks about winning here and he wants to play every game,” said Montoyo. “I love it about him. ”
Safe to say any manager would love to draw a talented player in the lineup 162 times a season. Just like every manager starts to look smarter once the bullpen can hold a lead.