By: Ryan O’Connor
The Blue Jays completed a resounding sweep of the Texas Rangers Sunday afternoon, outsourcing their AL West opponents 25-2 over the course of three games. Here’s a recap of what went down over the weekend.
GAME 1 - BLUE JAYS 10 - RANGERS 2
Robbie Ray was the starting pitcher for the first game of the series on Friday. Ray ended up going 6.2 innings with eight strikeouts and no earned runs. The strong outing is more or less what we’ve come to expect from the big lefty this season, as his ERA now sits below three for the season. The bullpen cleaned up the game nicely, even when it was more or less over by the end of the sixth inning. Ryan Borucki, who was reinstated off of the IL before the game, had a nice performance out of the pen, pitching an inning with two strikeouts.
Vladdy started the Jays’ offense off early in the first inning of the game with a 468-foot solo shot off of Jordan Lyles. Marcus Semien, Teoscar Hernandez, and Randal Grichuk all hit home runs in a four-run third inning to put the team up 5-0. This is not surprising from a trio of power hitters who have been producing all season long for Toronto. The remainder of the game saw Bo Bichette knocking in a couple of runs and Vlad hitting a three-run shot in the sixth inning for his second homer of the game.
It was nice to see pretty much all of the Jays’ offensive weapons contribute to this win, with all four of the team’s All-Stars (Semien, Hernandez, Bichette, Guerrero Jr.) having a nice outing at the dish. Everything came together for Toronto in this game and provided some foreshadowing as to how the rest of the series would play out.
Standout performers: Robbie Ray, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Marcus Semien.
GAME 2 - BLUE JAYS 5 - RANGERS 0
After Saturday’s game was postponed due to heavy rainfall in Buffalo, the Jays started off Sunday’s doubleheader action with a nice win that saw Hyun-Jin Ryu return to his 2020 All-Star form, throwing a complete-game shutout. The Rangers recorded only three hits all game and could do very little against Ryu in the shortened seven-inning game. It took Ryu just 81 pitches to complete his gem and brings his season record to 8-5 with a very respectable 3.32 ERA.
On the other hand, Rangers starter Kolby Allard had a tough time with the potent Blue Jays lineup, being charged with all five of Toronto's runs on seven hits with one walk and only one strikeout in 5.1 innings. The Jays took a 2-0 lead in the second inning off RBI singles from Bichette and Semien. Danny Jansen hit a two-run blast in the fifth inning and Grichuk a sixth-inning sacrifice fly to provide insurance runs for Toronto. This game was actually the shortest game played in the MLB this year with a swift 1-hour 48-minute runtime.
Standout performers: Hyun Jin Ryu, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Danny Jansen
GAME 3 - BLUE JAYS 10 - RANGERS 0
The third game of this series, and the second game of the day for both teams, saw Toronto flex their guns once again with a blowout win behind strong pitching performances.
Steven Matz quietly had a nice outing in this game, going five innings while allowing 0 earned runs with just two strikeouts. This was a very Matz-like outing from a guy who is known to pitch to contact and rely on his control over his stuff. Rafael Dolis and Tyler Saucedo wrapped the game up out of the bullpen, both allowing no hits with an inning pitched each.
The Jays scored all of their runs in the first two innings of the ballgame, proving to be more than enough for the game’s remainder. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. started the Jays’ offense off in grand fashion, clearing the bases with his second career slam in the first inning. Grichuk, Springer, and Guerrero Jr. also went deep in the early innings, with Guerrero Jr. hitting his 31st home run of the season, totaling 3 for the series. Mike Foltynewicz of the Rangers allowed 10 runs over just 1.2 innings, adding to his already treacherous 2021 pitching campaign. This was another absolutely dominant showing from a lineup that has been among the best and most exciting in the majors this season.
The Rangers could only produce three hits for the second time in the series, with a lineup that looked totally lost. They will have to try to awaken their bats on Monday as they head to Detroit following the series sweep.
Standout performances: Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Steven Matz
This series was a great omen for a team that has been trying to find its groove in an ultra-competitive division this season. Every game in the series saw strong hitting and pitching from Toronto against the struggling Rangers. The question now is if the Blue Jays can maintain this level of dominance over other teams during the final stretch of the season. Winning aside, Jays fans can all agree that the best news to come out of the weekend was the announcement that the team will be returning to Toronto on July 30 when they play the Royals. The team will allow 15,000 fans to attend the game at the Rogers Centre.
Toronto is now 48-42 coming out of this series, which is good for third in the AL East. The sweep also puts them just 2.5 games out of the American League’s second wildcard spot. They will face the Red Sox in Buffalo on Monday evening.