After sweeping the Detroit Tigers, the Jays went back home to the Rogers Centre for a 3-game set against the current NL champion St. Louis Cardinals.
The Jays lost 2 of the 3 games, scoring only 3 runs in the entire series, all of which were scored in the first game. While the Jays have averaged 4.9 runs per game this year, these three games were an exception from the usual high-class performances.
In game one the Jays scored 3 runs, accompanied by another promising start by prospect Marcus Stroman, in which he went 6 innings with 7 strikeouts, gave up 7 hits, 2 walks, and 1 earned-run. As a starter, Stroman now is 2-0 with 13 strikeouts, a 1.50 ERA, and a 1.17 WHIP. Considering that these are his only two starts in the MLB, these numbers are very promising.
The runs in this game were scored by solo-shots from Lawrie and Bautista, with the other run scored by Reyes. The batting was by no means spectacular in this game, but they earned enough to secure a win in game 1. The next two games were among the Jays weakest efforts this year, with two back-to-back 5-0 losses.
In game two, ace Mark Buehrle started, giving up 1 earned-run over 7 innings, with 6 strikeouts and 4 hits. Everything looks like all of the other strong numbers Buehrle has put up this year, until you get to the fact that he gave up 5 walks in his start. This is an unusually high number for him, as he’s only averaged around 2.5 walks per nine innings pitched this year. Fortunately he was able to battle out of it.
The other four runs given up were earned by relief pitcher Aaron Loup, who didn’t even last a full inning. Loup has had decent stats this year (2-1, 3.56 ERA), but he has failed to produce in clutch scenarios. While he isn't a closer, he has gone 2 for 5 in save scenarios, showing how he can crack under pressure at times. Some may say it’s unfair to compare him to closers, but this just another example of where he hasn’t been able to produce in clutch scenarios, something he could work on for the future.
In game 3, Drew Hutchison got the start, and he gave up all five runs in the game, lasting only 3 innings. Relief pitcher Todd Redmond picked up the slack well, going five innings striking out 3 and giving up 4 hits with no walks. The pitching wasn't great by any means, but it wasn't nearly as poor as the Jays hitting.
After a strong game 1 with 11 hits, the Jays hitters were only able to produce 3 hits in game 2, and 4 in game 3. This is unlike the Jays hitters, who have been the driving force for the 1st place squad up until now. This is simply a bump in the road, you can’t expect them to be perfect every game, and games like these happen every now and then. The Cardinals pitchers proved to be too much for them, and it showed in the end results. They will most-likely bounce back in the upcoming series against the 29-32 Minnesota Twins.
Altogether this wasn’t the Jays best effort, but don’t expect to see series like this too often. The Jays are looking to send Dickey, Happ, and Stroman to the mound against the Twins.