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BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 31: Pitcher Roberto Osuna #54 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates after defeating the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 31, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Sanchez pitches a solid start in return | Jays win series over Orioles | Six-man rotation messing with muscle memory | Bautista not what he used to be

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 31: Pitcher Roberto Osuna #54 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates after defeating the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 31, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Quick Reaction: Toronto Blue Jays 5, Baltimore Orioles 3 | Blue Jays Republic

This was a positive outing for Sanchez. Was it his most convincing? Certainly not. But he was coming off of a 10-day break, so there was bound to be some rust. His final line read 6.0 IP, 0 ER/1R, 5 H, 2 K. Sanchez scattered some baserunners throughout the game, though all five of his hits were kept to singles. Each of the three walks were to Chris Davis, and it’s certainly possible that the game plan was to keep the ball away from him. I know that Sanchez profiles as a strikeout pitcher, but he primarily relies on the groundball. To that end, he picked up eight groundouts tonight, which meant that his approach was consistent with the usual. That should also quell any concern about his low strikeout total.

Although the Orioles had runners aboard in several innings, the only real trouble came in the 5th. After a couple of singles, Manny Machado reached base and a run scored on a Donaldson error. Sanchez then loaded the bases, but worked his way out of it. Sanchez also tossed a career-high 112 pitches tonight, which was quite the way to come back from his break. All told, it was a good night.

This start raises some interesting questions about the rotation moving forward. Should the Jays continue to space Sanchez’s starts between every 6-10 days, and possibly add more rust to him with each appearance? Should they go back to a regular rotation with regular rest, thus benefitting Estrada and bolstering the bullpen with Liriano (so you know my preference)? Or should they stick with the regular six-man rotation? Beyond that, how should Sanchez be managed during games? Some were shocked to see him stay in the game past 100 pitches. But if you’re going to use him, then I think you use him like any other starter. I don’t think that Sanchez should be pulled at the first sign of fatigue. Such an approach requires a bullpen arm to be on standby at all times, and that simply isn’t realistic. I just want to throw it out there – how would you manage Sanchez’s workload over the next month?

Blue Jays roll with six-man rotation as Sanchez returns | Sportsnet.ca

The Blue Jays have yet to announce their rotation plans for their weekend series in Tampa Bay, but manager John Gibbons said Wednesday that he’ll reveal probable starters soon. If the Blue Jays keep their current rotation in order, Francisco Liriano, Marcus Stroman and R.A. Dickey would line up against the Rays.

In the meantime, Sanchez returns to the bullpen after a ten-day hiatus with Toronto’s Dunedin affiliate that was intended to give the 24-year-old a breather toward the end of his first full season as a starter. To keep Sanchez on his regular rhythm, the Blue Jays had hitters stand in against him during a simulated game.

“We tried to keep him on the same routine that he’s been on,” Walker said. “We treated that fifth day like a start even though he didn’t throw the number of pitches he’d normally throw in a major-league game, he treated the day the same.”

The Blue Jays haven’t said whether they intend to skip more of Sanchez’s starts in an attempt to weigh their short-term needs against the future health of a player who’s considered vital to the club’s long-term success. Walker described the balancing act as a “fluid situation” that will require constant discussions with the training staff and Sanchez himself.

With 30 games remaining, each member of the rotation now lines up for five more starts. If Sanchez were to pitch six innings per outing, he’d finish the season with 186.1 regular season innings. A few playoff starts would push him over 200 in that scenario, well beyond his previous career high of 133.1.

Long ball launches Blue Jays to win over Orioles | Toronto Sun

Sanchez cruised through four innings, allowing just four base runners along the way but ran into a spot of trouble in the fifth. He got the first two outs, needing just five pitches to do so. Then Hyun Soo Kim singled into right field. Jonathan Schoop followed with another single, putting runners at first and thrid Josh Donaldson booted Manny Machado’s slow roller, allowing Kim to score. Sanchez then pitched around Davis with a four-pitch walk that loaded the bases for league home run leader Mark Trumbo.

Sanchez extricated himself from the jam, inducing a lazy fly ball to right.

In the sixth, Pedro Alvarez battled Sanchez through an 11-pitch at bat but Sanchez froze him with a curve ball for the strikeout. After Matt Wieters singled, Sanchez seemed to be working on fumes but got Hardy on a fly ball to centre and finished off Nolan Reimold with a ground ball to short.

In all, over his six innings of work, Sanchez gave up five hits — all singles — and walked three, striking out just two while delivering a career-high 112 pitches.

Joaquin Benoit, Brett Cecil, Scott Feldman shepherded the lead to the ninth inning without incident but Roberto Osuna, in a non-save situation, gave up a two-run home run to Schoop to suddenly turn it into a tight finish.

Osuna induced a fly ball out from Machado to finish it.

MLB: Blue Jays 5, Orioles 3 | TSN

Aaron Sanchez returned to the Jays’ rotation and didn’t show any rust, allowing only one earned run over six strong innings to earn his 13th win of the season. Jose Bautista, Russell Martin and Michael Saunders all homered to help Toronto retain its two-game lead in the AL East.

Good start from Aaron Sanchez, Jays beat Orioles. | Bluebird Banter

Jose Bautista started the game off with a home run. And a couple of outs later, Russell Martin hit a 2-run homer. We thought we were going knock Yovani Gallardo out early. But no, we wouldn’t score off him again. He ended up going 6 innings, allowing 5 hits, just the 3 runs, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts.

We’d score another run in the 7th, maybe the most fun run of the year. Dioner Navarro was on first when Devon Travis doubled into the left field corner. I thought Dioner might make it to third, but he was waved home and scored. It was good he did, because Bautista struck out to end the inning right after.

And we got 1 more in the 8th, Michael Saunders hit his 23rd homer of the year. I would have bet against him getting more than 10 when the season started.

In all, we had 9 hits (3 of them home runs), 2 walks and 8 strikeouts. There were 2 hits each from Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Navarro (I’m sure I didn’t complain about him DHing and will ignore any evidence that I did).

Edwin, Tulo and Pillar had 0 fors.

Sanchez and Martin power the Blue Jays to victory | Jays Journal

Some early power helped kick this one off in the Blue Jays’ favour.  Jose Bautista took the first pitch of the game deep to put the Jays up.  The solo home run off of Yovani Gallardo was sent deep over the left-centre field wall for Bautista’s 17th of the year.  Russell Martin came up a few batters later after two outs and a walk to Michael Saunders looking to do some damage.  Martin took a full-count pitch with two outs to right field that continued to sail over Mark Trumbo and then the wall.

Aaron Sanchez returned to the Blue Jays rotation and picked up right where he left off.  Sanchez was sitting down Orioles hitters quickly until the 5th inning where he finally ran into some trouble.  The O’s got a few runners on and then Josh Donaldson mishandled a ball to allow a runner to score from 3rd.  Sanchez did not allow an earned run during his 6.0 innings of work.  He did allow five hits and three walks while striking out a pair.

Blue Jays Slug Their Way to a 5-3 Win and Series Victory. | Jays From the Couch

Sanchez would keep the Orioles high-octane offense at bay for 4 2/3 innings before a hiccup in the fifth inning. After securing the first two outs with four pitches, the right-hander surrendered consecutive singles to Hyun Soo Kim and Jonathan Schoop. Baltimore’s third baseman Manny Machado hit, what looked like an inning ending ground ball, but an error by Josh Donaldson allowed Kim to score. Sanchez would walk Chris Davis next to load the bases, but managed to get Mark Trumbo to hit a lazy fly ball to right field to end the inning. Crisis averted, and the Blue Jays escaped with a 3-1 lead.

In all, Sanchez pitched well in his return, however, he did labour through his last two innings of work. Not completely unexpected when factoring in his layoff and the Orioles lineup. He would leave the game after six solid innings, and a 3-1 lead, with a final line of 6IP, 5H, 1ER, 3BB and 2K. He would do so on 112 pitches, 67 which were strikes.

Toronto would add to their lead in the seventh inning thanks to an RBI double down the left field line by Devon Travis. His clutch hit would cash in Dioner Navarro all the way from first base. Navarro reached on his second single of the night earlier in the inning.

Jays win 5-3 to take the series in Baltimore, but not before a bunch of their own fans tried to negate a key insurance run! | JaysNation

The Orioles season is in trouble — they don’t have a Yoan Moncada to call up, to go along with an already filthy collection of amazing youth, like certain other scary-as-fuck AL East teams I can think of — and Aaron Sanchez looked alright, despite his ten day layoff in Dunedin. (I would have preferred a bit more swing-and-miss, but who could quibble?)

So… yeah… that was great! Another series win for the Jays. And though it seems all too common to come out of a series with a tough team thinking the Jays probably should have swept it, they’re still getting shit done. Maybe not as spectacularly as the gear they were in this time last year, but right now it looks like it’s going to add up up to a postseason berth all the same.

What a world!

Aaron Sanchez leads Jays past O’s in return from Florida | Toronto Star

Taking two of three from their division rival, the first-place Jays extended their lead over Baltimore to four games while maintaining a two-game lead on the Boston Red Sox, who also won Wednesday.

Like his manager, Sanchez was eager to get back on the mound after his sabbatical at the team’s spring-training complex in Dunedin, Fla. But the 24-year-old added that he understood the decision to skip his turn in the rotation in order to limit his workload and preserve his innings in an effort to protect him from injury.

“It was just one of those things, it had to be done,” he said after Wednesday’s win. “I went down to Florida and I took it very serious. My season’s not done and I knew that, so it was, ‘Go down there, get work in, understand what I’m trying to accomplish and come back in a big game.’”

Wednesday’s outing was good news for the Jays, who will need Sanchez to be strong down the stretch for their best chance to defend the division title.

“I didn’t forget how to pitch,” he said. “They were giving me a chance to rest my body. I went down there, I worked out, I slept, I rested — everything that would have been beneficial for me for this last push.”

Phillips on Sanchez: Impressive outing against strong lineup | TSN

Baseball Insider Steve Phillips breaks down Aaron Sanchez’s return to the mound after a 10-day rest, discusses how many times he thinks the Jays will keep him in the rotation for the rest of the season and if Jose Bautista is finally rounding into form.

Arthur: Jays are handling Sanchez with extreme care | TSN

he Toronto Star’s Bruce Arthur joins Gareth Wheeler and Jeremy Taggart to discuss the 49’ers future plans with Colin Kaepernick, and what tonight’s Aaron Sanchez start means for the Jays.

How Many More Starts Does Aaron Sanchez Have Left This Season? | Blue Jay Hunter

At this point, Aaron Sanchez is already thrown off his routine anyway, so whether he’s pitching on five, six, seven or eight days rest, it really shouldn’t matter very much for Sanchez. Because having him go to the mound on extended rest is better than not seeing Sanchez pitch at all down the stretch.

Is it crazy to try to plot these things when the postseason is more than four weeks away? Surely the Blue Jays have already played out all these scenarios and have a rough estimate of when Sanchez will cease throwing this year.

In that case, it allows the Blue Jays to line Aaron Sanchez up for at least one potential playoff start … if not more. Priming Sanchez for a potential Wild Card game or Game 1 of the ALDS would be ideal.

And I really think that’s the end game here for the Blue Jays. They know they won’t be able to ride Aaron Sanchez all the way to the World Series. They have come to grips with the fact that moving him to the bullpen could do more harm than good. So at the very least, taking one (maybe even two) playoff starts from Sanchez would be ideal.

Not to sound all presumptuous like the Blue Jays are definitely going to make it to the postseason, but the Blue Jays definitely have to factor in postseason innings. Otherwise, they’ll have a Stephen Strasburg situation on their hands.

Aaron Sanchez back in as Blue Jays return to unconventional six-man rotation | Toronto Star

The starter who appears to have been most adversely affected by the extra rest afforded by the six-man rotation is Marco Estrada, who had his two worst starts of the season after the six-man plan was put in place and then looked like his old self when he pitched on regular rest on Monday.

“Obviously Marco this past outing was a lot better on four days rest and we’re aware of that,” Walker said. “But I think for the majority of them they’ve done a great job with it and will continue to do so.”

Each starter has had to adjust their between-start routines in different ways. For instance, Estrada didn’t throw a bullpen session between starts, but with the extra rest he did. R.A. Dickey, meanwhile, added a second bullpen to his between-start routine to keep the feel for his knuckleball.

“If it helps us get to the World Series I could care less,” the 41-year-old said Wednesday. “I just have to do a professional job of getting myself ready to pitch and do my job when it’s my turn.”

On paper, Dickey said, the extra rest should be beneficial.

“The only problem is we’re creatures of habit and our bodies know it. Your body gets acclimated to doing it a certain way on a certain day with this much rest in between and it remembers. It’s an incredible computer, so the memory is something else. So it takes some adjustment. You have to reboot a little bit and figure out what works best to get the feel out of your hand.”

Ash: Liriano could be valuable member of Jays’ bullpen | TSN

Gord Ash, former Jays GM and current VP of Baseball Projects for the Milwaukee Brewers, joins Game Day to discuss the state of the Jays’ bullpen, their big series with the Orioles, and Tim Tebow’s potential future in baseball.

Blue Jays starter unlikely to win Cy Young despite overall success: Griffin | Toronto Star

The starting five (now six) have allowed the Jays, via remarkable consistency, to make up for a questionable bullpen over the first two months and then, after the relief corps sorted itself out, to put pedal to metal in relentless defence of its American League East crown. That being said, the chances of a Jays starter winning the Cy Young is slim.

Even though right-hander Marco Estrada was a legitimate mid-season AL all-star, the wonky back that has bothered him since imitating an ill-advised Bruce Lee core exercise called the Dragon Flag just before spring training has affected his endurance. His 8-6 record with a 3.37 ERA with 131 strikeouts fall short in a deep group of Cy Young candidates.

Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is a former winner in 2012 with the Mets, but at this stage of his career — in the toughest division in baseball with hitters’ ballparks in Baltimore, Boston, New York and Toronto — his best years are behind him. He most likely will be back in the National League in 2017 as a free agent to end his career.

And while opening day starter Marcus Stroman may be a future Cy guy, a prolonged lull in his season has cost him any chance.

That leaves J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez. Both Jays should be given consideration in the Cy Young field depending on their final five to six starts, but the final AL field is deep and talented, with no clear favourite.

Law: Bautista is not the hitter he used to be | TSN

Keith Law, ESPN Baseball analyst, joins TSN 1050 Today to discuss the Blue Jays’ stretch run, the state of the AL East, and Tim Tebow’s tryout.

Fowles: A More Personal Look at the Triumphant Return of Dioner Navarro | JaysNation

It’s true that in 2015 Navarro wasn’t exactly a stereotypical baseball hero. Backing up Martin, he played in only fifty-four games, and had only 192 plate appearances. He had five (very fun) home runs, twenty RBIs, and batted .246. But he captured my husband’s imagination regardless, just like his smiling face compelled the gleeful adoration of an entire playoff-intoxicated fan base. It’s actually not all that surprising that Navarro would sneak stealthily into my husband’s otherwise sports-hating heart — this is a ballplayer who wears the number 30 because that was the day in September 2003 that his wife survived a cerebral aneurysm after being given a 5% chance of survival. Also, I’m sure his status as an animal lover who is reported as having two dogs, two birds, a chameleon named Jeffrey, and a pig named Sassy who he “treats like a princess” doesn’t hurt either.

When Navarro signed a one-year deal with the White Sox last December, I worried that my husband’s love affair with the game would go with him. I was concerned that this was the end of the enthusiasm for baseball I had longed for all those years. Instead we made a plan to go visit the catcher in Chicago, a sweltering June game that featured both a miraculous inside the park home run care of Brett Lawrie , and a 10-8 win for the Jays. My husband may have (shock, horror) worn a White Sox cap the whole time, but it was a genuine thrill to see him cheer for his personal fave all over again. Despite his time away, I now have Navarro to thank for the fact that my husband comes home with baseball stories and stats, trade news and game theories, and that we can finally, truly share this thing I love so much.

When the news broke last week that Navarro was returning to the wide-open arms of the Toronto Blue Jays, there were baseball feelings abound. I actually didn’t see one negative reaction to the acquisition, the celebration less about stats and more about how good he makes us feel about the game. On social media, fans posted and reposted that classic photo of him sucking on a cigar in a borrowed cop hat (apparently a photo Navarro now has a blown up framed version of in his home.) But me? When I got that “Um, did we bring Navarro back?” text, all I could think about was how happy seeing him on that line up card again would make the person I love.

And sure, I may have thought about how this will make it a little more fun for us to go to games together—well into October and beyond.

Fehr: Jays active in trade talks, don’t expect major move | TSN

Steve and Todd are joined by Yahoo Sports Israel Fehr to talk about what the Jays may do at the trade deadline, they chat about Yasiel Puig and Tim Tebow’s workout.

Josh Thole clears waivers, expected to re-sign with Jays | Toronto Star

The Jays have yet to announce their probable starting pitchers for this weekend’s series against the Tampa Bay Rays. It suggests that they might be inclined to mix things up in order to keep Marco Estrada pitching on regular rest.

The finesse righty has struggled since the Jays implemented an unconventional six-man rotation, but he looked good in his most recent start, which was on regular four-day rest.

If the Jays were to continue to roll in order it would be Francisco Liriano on Friday, followed by Marcus Stroman on Saturday and Dickey on Sunday. But if Estrada were to pitch on regular rest he would go Saturday.

At the Letters: Checking in with Dalton Pompey | Sportsnet.ca

Here’s how episode 71 unfolds:

– Ben joins Arden from Baltimore to talk about the return of Dioner Navarro, the Blue Jays bullpen and potential September call-ups
– Arden talks to Dalton Pompey about making adjustments at the plate and what he’s learned this season

August 30, 2016 Minor League Report | Blue Jays from Away

Buffalo Bisons 0, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 4

The Buffalo Bisons are limping down the home stretch and were shut out by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Tuesday 4-0. Scott Copeland was solid for the Bisons, going eight innings and giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and one walk with four strikeouts. Danny Barnes struck out the side in the ninth to finish it off.

The Bisons had just three hits all night, off the bats of Matt Dominguez, Jesus Montero and A.J. Jimenez.

Player of the Game: Scott Copeland

Blue Jays MiLB Report: Dwight Smith Jr. providing pop | Jays Journal

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (64-72)   –   4
Trenton Thunder (85-51)  –   6

The Thunder struck late in this one to steal a win away from the Fisher Cats.  The Cat attack pounced early on a Dwight Smith Jr. two-run homer in the first inning.  The home run drove in Roemon Fields who had a great night.  Fields hit a solo home run in his second at-bat.  He finished the game 2-for-4 night with two runs scored, a stolen base, a home run, and an RBI.  Reese McGuire added an RBI on a single for the 4th run of the game.

On the bump Wilmer Font continued to show consistency.  He pitched 5.2 innings and allowed three earned runs.  A pair of the runs came on a Mark Payton two-run homer.  Font was solid and has been good in all six of his starts for the Cats.  He has yet to allow more than three runs in any start.  He also did not issue a free pass and struck out eight during his latest outing.

Jesus Montero and another season of capped resurgence | Jays Journal

The triple-A level has been a different story, though. From 2014 and 2015 with the Tacoma Raniers through to 2016 with the Bisons, Montero has, at the very least, salvaged his career.

On Tuesday, Montero was named to the International League postseason All-Star Team as the designated hitter. He was also named to the midseason All-Star Team.

Entering play on Tuesday, Montero ranked second in the league in hits with 150, just one behind Donovan Solano of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. With a .321 average, Montero ranks fourth in the league.

Montero has managed to keep his strikeouts at a manageable level, but 21 walks in 495 plate appearances leaves much to be desired. His 11 home runs and 24 doubles don’t quite match his former potential ceiling, but on a whole, the numbers have been there for a very productive season in Buffalo. Those I’ve spoken with also note there have been no unexpected issues with Montero’s conditioning or focus.

Between the suspension of Chris Colabello and a handful of slumps from Justin Smoak, Montero has been close to Major League consideration at times. Unfortunately for Montero, his lack of a natural position continues to hamper his chances. He’s played 25 games at first base this season, spending the rest of his time as a designated hitter. For a strict DH in triple-A, one’s numbers at the plate must be eye-popping, not just eyebrow-raising.

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