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Marcus Stroman got a little wild in the fourth, hitting Alex Rodriguez and uncorking a wild pitch, allowing two runners across after giving up a single hit through the first three innings. After 30-plus pitches, it looked like the frame could be the start of the youngster’s unraveling – the tipping point to an evening gone south and an appearance that ended shorter than expected.
Instead, it was the lone bump in an other wise smooth road, as Stroman allowed just one more runner the remainder of the night, that coming in the very next frame when he walked Jacoby Ellsbury. His final three frames were spotless and Roberto Osuna went one-two-three in the ninth for his fourth save as the Blue Jays claimed a 2-1 series win over the New York Yankees and leveled their season record at 5-5 as they head to Boston for the weekend.
Toronto got all the offense they needed courtesy of two big flies. The first – a three-run bomb to center off the bat of Josh Donaldson – came in the fifth when Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi left a split-finger fastball up in the zone and “The Bringer of Rain” jumped all over it. The second – a line shot to left – came the following inning when Troy Tulowitzki atoned for a first-pitch pop-up two innings earlier when he stepped to the dish with runners on second and third and one out.
Now 10 games into the season, there are some early positives and negatives starting to emerge for this club.
On the plus side, Osuna has picked up where he left off last season, entering in the ninth, throwing smoke and shutting the door and Stroman has been strong in two of three starts so far this season. He’s had hiccups in each of his quality outings and wasn’t terrible in his one “bad start” either, so thus far, the third-year man looks like a great fit at the front of the rotation.
Aaron Sanchez has been lights out in his two starts and Marco Estrada returned to the mound with a gem last week, so the rotation looks like a strength thus far. The bullpen, outside of Osuna, has been a disaster, but part of that could just be guys needing to get comfortable in their roles.
At the plate, the Blue Jays are striking out at an alarming rate and have been almost exclusively reliant on the home run for their offense. Donaldson has been outstanding, collecting a hit in every game this season and having already tallied five home runs and 12 RBI. Michael Saunders and Jose Bautista have been consistent behind him in the order as well, with Ryan Goins hitting a surprising .293 through the first 10 games as well.
The flip side of that, however, is that Chris Colabello is hitting .053, Russell Martin is hitting .069 and Tulowitzki sits at just .139 through 10 games. Collectively, the club’s batting .221 with a .299 on-base percentage and a strikeout to walk ratio of 90:30. Not good.
Player of the Game: Josh Donaldson
In addition to hitting a “no doubter” that he stunted on just a little, Donaldson also lashed a double to left in the seventh. Even though he’s been dealing with a “barking calf,” last year’s American League MVP hasn’t missed a beat (or a bad pitch) to begin the year.
It’s real early – like just 10 games into the season early – but so far, Donaldson looks like he’s going to make a run at keeping the MVP trophy on his mantle.
On Deck: Friday begins a four-game set at Fenway opposite the Red Sox that wraps on Marathon Monday. R.A. Dickey gets the ball for Toronto, while Rick Porcello toes the rubber for the home side.