BUFFALO — Arriving back here for a seven-game homestand and his team in a playoff spot is new territory for Ross Atkins, and the Blue Jays general manager plans to make the best of it. Atkins made it clear he intends to be a buyer in advance of next Monday’s trade deadline, a shopping urgency […]Blue Jays pitching collapses in loss to Sox as GM Atkins prepares to be trade deadline buyer — Toronto Sun
BUFFALO — Arriving back here for a seven-game homestand and his team in a playoff spot is new territory for Ross Atkins, and the Blue Jays general manager plans to make the best of it.
Atkins made it clear he intends to be a buyer in advance of next Monday’s trade deadline, a shopping urgency that may have heightened some on Tuesday due to a miserable six-run, sixth inning at Sahlen Field by the visiting Boston Red Sox.
Blue Jays pitching collapses in loss to Sox as GM Atkins prepares to be trade deadline buyer
The 9-7 loss — after opening with a 4-0 lead in the first and having the bases loaded with one out in the second — took some of the steam out of a series split in Tampa Bay on the weekend.
But it won’t dull Atkins’ desire to make a deal, given that his young team remains the front runner for the eighth post-season spot in the AL.
“It’s nice to be in this category where we’re thinking about adding at the highest level,” Atkins told the Toronto Sun. “It’s much more fun.”
On Tuesday, the Jays began a stretch of 13 in a row vs. Boston, Baltimore and Miami, a schedule that in theory would be conducive to solidifying a playoff spot. As they found out in their latest loss, however, there won’t be any gimmes when you counter with weak pitching.
As for his shopping plans, Atkins said the team is looking beyond “moving a rental” and looking for some potential short-term gain.
“We’re mostly focused on how we make the organization better at the major league level and how we can continue to complement this group,” Atkins said.
That’s music to the ears of fans who have suffered through selloffs at the previous two deadlines. And music to the ears of the mostly young team in the Jays dugout which believes it can be playoff material sooner or later.
“You can definitely feel that there is momentum,” Atkins said of the trade discussions with fellow GMs. “The cadence of calls and the exchanges is much higher.”
The Jays jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first, with a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. double leading the way. When they loaded the bases with one out in the second it looked like a potential rout was in the making. Instead, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. grounded into a double play for the fourth time this season and that was that … Guerrero made up for it in his next at-bat — somewhat — singling between third and short to drive in a pair and bump the lead to 6-3. The timely knock extended Guerrero’s hit streak to eight games … Though he was touched for seven hits and three runs, at least Jays starter Chase Anderson got through five-plus and his team up by three runs. It was the plus that was going to start the trouble in the 82-pitch outing … The Jays couldn’t take advantage of the gift presented by the Sox of starter Kyle Hart, who brought his 11.12 ERA to the downtown ball yard … Travis Shaw left the game in the third inning after feeling some pain in his right knee. After the game, Charlie Montoyo said the veteran is listed as day-to-day … Montoyo hinted at a roster move, but with bullpen days likely on Wednesday and Friday, it will be difficult to bring in a position player. “We need the pitchers to cover innings,” Montoyo said.
Though the Jays lead never felt truly comfortable, it came tumbling down in a disastrous sixth. Anderson started by issuing a leadoff walk to Mitch Moreland, which gave way to a particularly poor version of Wilmer Font.
When the carnage was done, the Red Sox had batted around, scored six runs and turned a 6-3 deficit into a 9-6 lead. The biggest damage came on a three-run, bases-loaded triple from Rafael Devers.
The low point might from Font may have been hitting Jose Peraza with a pitch to load the bases. Montoyo couldn’t get A.J. Cole in soon enough and the Red Sox romped.
The six-run outburst tied for the most by any team in an inning this season.
AROUND THE BASES
The longer this grind of a schedule goes, the more Montoyo is going to try to protect his players physically, starting with Wednesday’s second of three against the Red Sox. “What I’m trying to do the next couple of days is just show up and play, optional (batting practice) and keep them off their feet,” the manager said. “Playing so many games, nobody’s going to be 100 per cent, that’s a fact.” … Montoyo said that Guerrero had been taking some ground balls at third base over the past couple of days as a “just in case” precaution … Of the black holes offensively, the manager was honest about infielder Brandon Drury who is hitting a meagre .152. “He hasn’t done much offensively, that’s the best way I could put it. Offensively he hasn’t had many good at-bats up to this point … Teoscar Hernandez had his fourth homer in six games and team-leading 11th to pull the Jays within a run in the ninth.
While both starting pitcher Nate Pearson (elbow) and shortstop Bo Bichette (knee) are nowhere near returning both are hoping pick up in activity this weekend
Montoyo said that Bichette will resume “baseball activities” and Pearson will start tossing this weekend.
Bichette was originally pegged to be back in mid-September, that would be ideal for a Jays team in the midst of a Yankee-heavy conclusion to their schedule.
“We’re not going to rush him back,” Montoyo said. “Whenever the kid’s ready we will go. We don’t want to have a setback.”
Injured closer Ken Giles (right forearm strain) took a notable step forward throwing his first bullpen since suffering the injury in the first series of the season.
The prognosis for starter Trent Thornton (elbow inflammation) could be more concerning. Thornton is scheduled to get checked out by noted surgeon, Dr. James Andrews.