Another newsworthy week for the Blue Jays as they traveled west to take on the Athletics and Astros. The series represented a homecoming of sorts for Marcus Semien and George Springer. Semien had spent the previous six seasons playing for the A’s. Springer had been a member of the Astros since making his big league debut in 2014.
Semien had come into the series against Oakland swinging a hot bat and didn’t let up against his old team. The second baseman went 7 for 17 with a homer, 2 RBI and 3 runs scored. Combined with his hot streak over the past week and a half, Semien raised his batting average from .174 to .254. He also was part of 5 double plays defensively.
Marcus Semien is enjoying his return to Oakland. pic.twitter.com/MvxUuLhNWM— MLB (@MLB) May 6, 2021
Unfortunately, Springer was unable to play against his former team. After sitting out the first game of the Oakland series, the veteran centerfielder was placed on the 10-day IL. He’s eligible to return as early as May 13th. The team has given indications that they expect him to be out a little longer than that.
A month and a half into the season, Springer has barely played. He made his debut last week and hit a pair of long home runs. His continued absence is part of a larger problem that has plagued the team since mid-March.
Blue Jays outfielder George Springer is expected to need more than 10 days on his latest stint on the injured list.https://t.co/prUxbtUCFa— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 6, 2021
Injury Woes Continue
The news early on in the week was that catcher Alejandro Kirk would be out longer than originally anticipated. His hip flexor strain would keep him out a minimum of six weeks. That would turn out to be an underestimation because he was put on the 60-day IL on Saturday.
ROSTER MOVES:— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 8, 2021
🔹 RHP A.J. Cole selected to the 26-man roster and will be active tonight
🔹 RHP Ty Tice optioned to Triple-A
🔹 C Alejandro Kirk transferred to 60-day IL pic.twitter.com/sSnSfZKcl6
Riley Adams got a taste of the big leagues but was ultimately sent to Triple-A Buffalo. He’s not considered MLB-ready just yet and the consistent playing time he’ll get with the Bisons should help his development. Reese McGuire was added to the roster as a backup catcher and pitcher Julian Merryweather was placed on the 60-day IL. Merryweather is eligible to return in mid-June at the earliest.
When Rowdy Tellez was sent down to Buffalo, it left a hole in their first baseman’s depth chart. That meant Joe Panik would have to play there if they wanted to give Vladimir Guerrero Jr. a break. He played one game at first and suffered a left calf strain.
Bo Bichette has had an up-and-down season. He’s tied for the team lead with 8 home runs but has also committed a team-high 7 errors. He’s looked better with the glove lately, making a great play in Wednesday’s 9-4 win over Oakland. He didn’t have a great hitting week (6-26, HR, 2 RBI) but his defensive improvement is encouraging.
West Coast Blues
It was a tough week for Jays’ fans in the eastern time zone. With games against the Athletics starting at 9:40 pm EST many followers likely had difficulties watching the whole game. They would’ve been better off getting a good night’s sleep early in the week.
Steven Matz got the ball in Monday’s game and didn’t look great. He gave up a pair of homers and exited after giving up 5 earned runs over 5 innings. It seemed fairly obvious that his night was over. However, when Manager Charlie Montoyo broke the news, Matz didn’t take it well.
To his credit, Matz responded with a solid performance in Saturday’s 8-4 win over Houston. There seems to be one pitcher on every staff that always gets good run support. Matz gave up 3 earned runs over 5 innings to improve to 5-2 despite his 4.86 ERA.
Danny Jansen’s struggles at the plate so far this season have been well-documented. He showed signs of breaking out of his extended slump last week. He took it a step further this week by homering in 3 consecutive games.
Danny Jansen – Toronto Blue Jays (3) pic.twitter.com/4f0v4SRI69— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) May 8, 2021
The first and third long flies were no doubters. In fact, the third one hit on Saturday was measured at 448 feet, the longest of Jansen’s career. The one in between was a wall-scraper that wouldn’t have gone out of any other ballpark. Semien hit a similar one as well in the same contest.
Marcus Semien – Toronto Blue Jays (8) 3-run. pic.twitter.com/VDP334QGZ7— MLB HR Tracker (@hr_mlb) May 9, 2021
Odds & Ends
How in the world does Athletics’ second baseman Jed Lowrie already have 22 RBI?! The guy routinely looks like a 34-year-old batboy due to his short stature and double ear-flap batting helmet.
Mitch Moreland always seems to hit the Blue Jays hard. He went deep during Tuesday night’s 4-1 A’s win. It was his 17th big fly in 80 career games vs. Toronto.
The Blue Jays will play out of Buffalo’s Sahlen Field starting June 1st.
Blue Jays set for return to Buffalo’s Sahlen Field on June 1 vs Marlins after two months at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, per sources: https://t.co/lGolAnxhy0— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) May 5, 2021
Nate Pearson was called up and made his season debut on Sunday. From the onset of the game, the team’s top prospect labored. He was working very slowly, wasn’t hitting his spots, and didn’t appear to be comfortable. He gave up 3 earned runs and walked 5 batters over 2.1 innings.
“I just felt like I couldn’t get into a groove.”— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 9, 2021
Blue Jays rookie starter Nate Pearson weighs in on the struggles he faced in his season debut against the Astros. pic.twitter.com/EcE5nSUrhA
Anthony Kay has also been a disappointment, although A.J. Cole was steady in his first appearance.
The Blue Jays have already made 83 roster moves this season, by far the most in the majors.
The Blue Jays are at 83 transactions and counting, and that’s before Nate Pearson is added Sunday. The injuries are mounting and their exhausted bullpen has logged 49% of the team’s innings this season. All of it made a win over the Astros even sweeter: https://t.co/juvhU19zYW— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) May 9, 2021
Happy Mother’s Day Everyone!