August 9, 2022

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Blue Jays miss likelihood to realize floor in AL wild-card race with loss to Twins


MINNEAPOLIS — Let’s begin with the plain: Thursday’s recreation was an entire write-off for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Their beginning pitcher, Steven Matz, wanted 80 pitches to make his approach by three innings. His substitute, Thomas Hatch, threw extra balls than strikes earlier than leaving with proper hamstring discomfort. And his substitute, Julian Merryweather, promptly allowed a three-run house run to the primary batter he confronted.

It wasn’t simply the pitching that offered trigger for concern, both. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the Blue Jays’ hottest hitter in current weeks, additionally left the sport with an damage after Randal Grichuk stepped on his proper hand whereas making a throw house.

And most significantly, the Blue Jays misplaced, 7-2, lacking an opportunity to realize on the Yankees and Red Sox, each of whom had been idle forward of their weekend collection at Fenway Park. With 10 — make that 9 – video games remaining, each provides a treasured likelihood at a win. On Thursday, the Blue Jays fell properly wanting that aim.

But as irritating as each loss is that this time of 12 months, there’s little to be gained by dissecting the particulars of this one. More essential are the questions this loss raises and the potential options out there over the season’s ultimate stretch.

Because as dangerous as Thursday was, they do have their three finest pitchers lined up for the remaining video games in opposition to the Twins, a last-place group. Behind the scenes, George Springer and Hyun-Jin Ryu proceed making progress. And ugly loss or not, the Blue Jays are nonetheless simply 1.0 recreation out of a playoff spot.

Clearly, they nonetheless have an opportunity to get the place they need to go. Now it’s on the Blue Jays’ decision-makers to proceed with an growing sense of urgency and for the group’s gamers to reply between the traces.

The most urgent questions raised by Thursday’s recreation should do with well being. While Hatch has spent many of the season at triple-A, there’s no simple approach to substitute Gurriel Jr., who entered play Thursday with a share of the American League lead in RBIs, slugging share and complete bases throughout the month of September. X-rays on his hand had been unfavorable, however he did get two stitches on his center finger.

It was Corey Dickerson who changed Gurriel Jr. in left discipline Thursday, nevertheless it’s potential the Blue Jays will get one other outfielder again earlier than lengthy. Springer did some defensive work in centre discipline Thursday afternoon and emerged feeling inspired, creating the likelihood he may return to the sector for the primary time since Aug. 14.

Before the sport, supervisor Charlie Montoyo indicated a return to the outfield is an actual risk. “Hopefully soon,” he mentioned earlier than retreating from the sector to serve his suspension. After what transpired in left discipline Thursday, Springer’s glove may quickly be much more helpful than anticipated.

As for Ryu, if he solely wants the minimal 10 days on the injured record, he may theoretically return in opposition to the Yankees subsequent Tuesday. While Ryu struggled earlier than hitting the injured record, Matz’s newest outing doesn’t encourage full confidence forward of a matchup with New York both.

Regardless, the Blue Jays have plenty of work forward. Depending on what occurs in Boston this weekend, it may take one thing like 91 or 92 wins to safe the AL’s second wild-card spot now held by the Yankees (Boston’s now 3.0 video games forward of Toronto). The approach the Blue Jays have performed for many of September, it doesn’t take a lot creativeness to see them going 6-3 or 7-2 over the subsequent ten days.

“Every game counts now even more,” Montoyo mentioned. “There’s no approach you may win video games and fear about someone else. We’ve bought to play our recreation.”

Opportunity nonetheless exists right here — a giant one. But letting winnable video games slip away is a luxurious the Blue Jays can not afford.



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