Swept out of untamed card, Jays face winter of disappointment


TORONTO (AP) — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. appeared to Hollywood to carry the spirits of Toronto followers after the Blue Jays completed one win shy of a postseason berth in 2021.

“What we did last year was a trailer,” Guerrero mentioned via a translator at spring coaching. “Now you guys are going to see the movie.”

Unfortunately for Guerrero and Toronto, that film was a horror present come playoff time.

The Blue Jays have been swept out of their AL wild-card collection towards Seattle, dropping every of the 2 video games. They have been shut down by Luis Castillo in a 4-0 loss within the opener, after which blew an 8-1 lead in a 10-9 loss on Saturday.

“It’s really hard,″ said Teoscar Hernández, who homered twice and drove in four runs for Toronto in Game 2. “There’s nothing I can say that’s going to make me feel better for a while.”

Toronto has misplaced 5 straight playoff video games and eight of 9, relationship to a five-game loss to Cleveland within the 2016 ALCS. The Blue Jays additionally have been swept by Tampa Bay within the 2020 wild-card spherical.

Interim supervisor John Schneider went 46-28 after changing Charlie Montoyo in July as Toronto completed one win higher than the earlier season to clinch the highest AL wild-card spot. But when the playoffs arrived, the Blue Jays couldn’t ship.

Even amid the ache of postseason defeat, Schneider pointed to consecutive 90-win seasons and a robust core of stars as purpose for optimism.

“This group will be back in the exact same spot very, very soon,” Schneider mentioned.

Besides Guerrero and shortstop Bo Bichette, the AL hits chief, Toronto additionally might convey again outfielder George Springer, third baseman Matt Chapman and Hernández. Right-handers Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman are anticipated to assist anchor the rotation.

Gausman wasn’t with the Blue Jays in 2021, however tasted his personal October anguish when his San Francisco Giants misplaced to the Dodgers within the division collection after profitable 107 video games within the common season.

Gausman mentioned the Blue Jays had visions of a deep October run, and echoed his supervisor’s constructive outlook for 2023.

“From day one of spring training, the expectations on this club were sky high,” Gausman mentioned. “We’ve been playing this entire season with the expectation of being in the World Series. Now we kind of know what to expect next year when those are the same predictions. We’re all excited for that. Unfinished business.”


Toronto’s greatest free agent is right-hander Ross Stripling, who appeared good after getting into the rotation to interchange injured left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu. Stripling went 10-4, reaching double digits in wins for the primary time, and posted a career-low 3.01 ERA in 134 1/3 innings.


In his first full season, Manoah went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA, fourth-lowest within the majors. Manoah gave up three first-inning runs in his postseason debut and, whereas disillusioned by the result, is aware of he’ll be higher off for the expertise.

“Good to get the feet wet,” Manoah mentioned. “I went out there and grinded as much as I can.”


The Blue Jays are blessed with depth behind the plate, the place Danny Jansen and All-Star Alejandro Kirk cut up time this season. One of the pair usually began at designated hitter when the opposite was catching, and the 2 mixed for 29 homers and 107 RBIs. Still, that productive pairing is obstructing high prospect Gabriel Moreno, who appeared in 25 video games this season. If Toronto doesn’t commerce one in all its catchers, the Blue Jays may transfer Moreno, 22, out from behind the plate. He noticed time in left subject, at second base and at third base within the ultimate week of the 12 months, and in addition has performed third within the minors.


Expect normal supervisor Ross Atkins to attempt to construct a extra balanced lineup in 2023 given that each one six of Springer, Bichette, Guerrero, Chapman, Kirk, and Hernández are right-handed hitters. Curiously, being stacked with highly effective righties didn’t assist Toronto towards left-handed starters — the Blue Jays have been 12-20 in video games began by southpaws.


Springer, who finalized a $150 million, six-year contract with Toronto in January 2021, was restricted to 78 video games final season due to indirect and quadriceps accidents, and a sprained left knee. He performed in 133 video games this season, however skipped the All-Star Game and sat out 10 video games in August due to a bothersome proper elbow that’s anticipated to want consideration this offseason. He additionally obtained damage in a collision with Bichette throughout Game 2.

The Blue Jays could transfer Springer from heart to proper subject subsequent season to decrease the damage and tear on his battered physique.


More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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