Blue Jays Games I Attended in 2017
I had originally intended to post this earlier in baseball’s off-season, but I didn’t get around to it before. I was still interested in the results, so I’ll post it on this, Opening Day 2018.
From January to August 2017, I was living in Toronto, on a co-op term working for the Jonah Group. Since I was working so close, I was able to go to quite a lot of Blue Jays games, 19 while I was there. After moving back home, I also returned for one more in September, taking me to 20 games on the year. Here’s some information about the games I attended. All data in this article comes from Baseball Reference. Games won by the Blue Jays are shaded in grey.
|Date||Opponent||Runs For||Runs Against||Blue Jays’ Starting Pitcher||Opponent’s Starting Pitcher|
|April 11||Milwaukee Brewers||3||4||J. A. Happ||Wily Peralta|
|April 18||Boston Red Sox||7||8||Marcus Stroman||Brian Johnson|
|May 8||Cleveland Indians||4||2||Marcus Stroman||Trevor Bauer|
|May 11||Seattle Mariners||7||2||Marco Estrada||Chase De Jong|
|May 15||Atlanta Braves||6||10||Mike Bolsinger||Bartolo Colón|
|May 27||Texas Rangers||3||1||Marco Estrada||Yu Darvish|
|May 28||Texas Rangers||1||3||Joe Biagini||Andrew Cashner|
|May 30||Cincinnati Reds||6||4||J. A. Happ||Asher Wojciechowski|
|June 1||New York Yankees||2||12||Marco Estrada||CC Sabathia|
|June 13||Tampa Bay Rays||1||8||Marco Estrada||Jake Faria|
|June 16||Chicago White Sox||4||11||Joe Biagini||José Quintana|
|June 29||Baltimore Orioles||0||2||J. A. Happ||Ubaldo Jiménez|
|July 6||Houston Astros||7||4||Francisco Liriano||Lance McCullers|
|July 25||Oakland Athletics||4||1||César Valdez||Sonny Gray|
|July 28||Los Angeles Angels||2||7||J. A. Happ||Parker Bridwell|
|August 10||New York Yankees||4||0||Marco Estrada||Sonny Gray|
|August 11||Pittsburgh Pirates||2||4||Marcus Stroman||Jameson Taillon|
|August 16||Tampa Bay Rays||3||2||Marcus Stroman||Jake Faria|
|August 25||Minnesota Twins||1||6||J. A. Happ||Bartolo Colón|
|September 24||New York Yankees||9||5||Marcus Stroman||Jaime García|
In all, I went to five games on Tuesdays, five on Thursdays, three on Fridays, two on Mondays, two on Sundays, and one each on a Wednesday and a Sunday. For the Jays, I saw five starts each by Marcus Stroman, J. A. Happ, and Marco Estrada, two by Joe Biagini, and one each by Mike Bolsinger, Francisco Liriano, and César Valdez. In games I attended, the Jays had a record of 9-11 for a .450 winning percentage not dissimilar to their overall .469 percentage.
There were also some standout events I witnessed firsthand:
- The Home Opener, against the Brewers. The game wasn’t so great, but the Rogers Centre was packed and I was there for the opening ceremonies, including the presentation of the AL Silver Slugger Award for third basemen to Josh Donaldson and a celebration of Tim Raines’ induction into the Hall of Fame. They also unfurled their giant Canadian flag in the outfield.
- I made sure to get tickets in advance to the first game the Indians played in Toronto last year, so that I could be there for the return of Edwin Encarnación. He signed in Cleveland after the 2016 season, but his career in Toronto is still iconic, especially for his walk-off home run in extra innings in the 2016 wild card game.
- I saw Bartolo Colón pitch twice, once for the Braves and once for the Twins. Colón is the oldest player in the Major Leagues (151 days older than Ichiro Suzuki) and is five short of Dennis Martínez’s record 245 wins by a Latino pitcher. Despite the facts that the Jays lost both games and that Colón is far from an admirable human being (what with the PEDs and the secret second family), he’s very entertaining to watch.
- Against the Reds on May 30, Donaldson hit a home run into the fifth and highest deck of seating in the Rogers Centre. Watch it here.
- On July 25 against his previous team, the Athletics, Valdez recorded his first Major League win in seven years. His following appearances weren’t so good, but this was a pretty great showing, with 6.0 IP and only one earned run.
- The starting pitcher for the Athletics that same game was Sonny Gray, in what turned out to be his last start for the team. At the trade deadline on July 31, the A’s traded Gray to the Yankees. A little over two weeks later, I saw his second start for the Yanks as well.
- In addition to the Home Opener, I was able to attend the Home Closer against the Yankees. It ended up being a better game than the Opener, a 9-5 Blue Jays win, but it was bittersweet as it was most likely José Bautista’s last home game as a Blue Jay. He was pulled during the ninth inning to allow for a proper farewell. I’ll let the video speak for itself.
I also put together the stats for individual Blue Jays in the games I was at. First are the batters. I didn’t see any triples, and I saw four stolen bases: two by Kevin Pillar and one each by Bautista and Ezequiel Carrera.
And here are the pitchers.
|J. A. Happ||5||27.0||25||33||10||4||16||16|
|J. P. Howell||3||3.0||3||6||1||0||5||5|
|T. J. House||1||1.0||0||3||1||0||1||1|
Some observations about these individual player performances:
- Rob Refsnyder was the only Blue Jay I saw with at least one at bat and no hits. Even Dwight Smith had a hit in his one at bat that I was in the building for. Granted, Refsnyder was only 0-for-8, but this was in line with his general pattern of not hitting.
- I watched Kevin Pillar hit more doubles than anyone else on the team, with nine. Three of those came in one game against the Red Sox on April 18, and every one of the three went straight down the third base line.
- Ryan Tepera led relievers with 11 appearances in games I was at. Dominic Leone and Aaron Loup were close behind with 10 apiece.
- Roberto Osuna had six save opportunities in his nine appearances in these games, and he converted all six. The most memorable for me was against the Astros, where the last out was a weak grounder hit back to the mound by Carlos Correa. Correa wasn’t happy with the way Osuna handled the play but I didn’t think it was a big deal.
- Bautista’s best known for hitting home runs, but he’s also walked at an exceptional rate in his career. He easily had the most walks at games I was at in 2017 with 11; only Justin Smoak came close, with eight.
- Lately it seems like the thing Troy Tulowitzki is best at is getting injured, and sure enough, he did it again while I was at the ballpark, sustaining a season-ending ankle injury against the Angels on July 28.
- I mentioned Donaldson’s moonshot into the 500-level above, but as it turns out, that was the only Donaldson home run I saw in person. On the season, he hit one roughly every 15 plate appearances, but I only saw one in 59 plate appearances. On the other hand, I witnessed six home runs by Justin Smoak, the team leader in that category. On average, I saw one home run for roughly every 14.17 plate appearances by Smoak, and across the season he hit one roughly every 16.76 plate appearances.
It’s unlikely that I get to quite so many games this year, seeing as I won’t be living in Toronto for at least the first five months of the season, but I hope to get to a few and compile another post like this next year.
Let’s go Blue Jays!