With sport pausing and the world trying to slow the spread of COVID-19, there are still ways to fill the void left by the lack of games. To distract from the much more serious things in the world, Sportsnet's Blue Jays radio station Mike Wilner will simulate every scheduled Blue Jays game for the 2020 season and provide weekly updates in this area.
You can follow the games on Twitter @ Wilnerness590. The simulation is done with Dynasty League Baseball Powered By Pursue The Pennant, a tabletop (and online) simulation game with cards and dice, the player performance of which is based on statistics from 2019.
Things looked good for the Toronto Blue Jays last week. They'd just won two out of three against the New York Yankees powerhouse, and when the basement-dwelling Baltimore Orioles came into town, it looked promising to keep climbing towards the 500 mark, a place the Jays hadn't been to Simulation since they were 5-5 on the morning of April 6th.
Then the games started.
Things started well with a triple Homer by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the opening inner's first inning against Baltimore. It was just Gurriel's third home run of the simulation, a bit of a shock as we have almost a quarter of the season behind us. A little shock too – the tour didn't last long.
The Orioles tied it in the third before Trent Thornton, the big blow being a double from Renato Nunez. Then they took the lead forever in the fourth with a double from Dwight Smith Jr. with two exits and two runs. It looked like the Blue Jays had a rally in them when Travis Shaw and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove from below the eighth with two double packs to narrow Baltimore's lead to one, but the last six Jays players were withdrawn, to secure Shawn Armstrong and Mychal Givens' 6: 5 win in the opening series of Baltimore.
A win in the middle game would give the Blue Jays a chance to win the series and the ace was on the hill, even though Hyun-Jin Ryu's worst start of simulation had taken place in Baltimore a week and a half earlier (three innings, five runs).
This time Ryu was upset again, but it didn't start until the fourth when old Blue Jays archenemy Chris Davis and a few men sneaked over the wall to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead. The Jays returned in round six when they loaded the bases out and kicked starter Asher Wojciechowski out of the game. Rowdy Tellez drove a pocket fly and Guerrero Jr. added an RBI single.
But from that point on it was pretty much everything in Baltimore. Anthony Santander came to Ryu in seventh for a double with two runs, and Sam Gaviglio gave a three-run homer to Austin Hays in eighth. That was more than enough to counter Cavan Biggio's RBI triple and a Bo Bichette solo shot when the Orioles secured the series with a 9: 4 win.
The series finale consisted of Tanner Roark, who had struggled through seven starts with an ERA of 8.46 and had twice failed to get out of the first inning. He gave up two consecutive Homer to Nunez and Chance Sisco in the upper part of the second to take out the Blue Jays early, but they got those runs back and more in one fell swoop in the lower part of the frame. Randal Grichuk shot a Grand Slam to give the home team the lead – and they rolled out of there.
Grichuk drove another run with a third inning single to give him five RBIs during the night, while Gurriel Jr. and Tellez added solo recordings.
Roark gave up another run when he went through five innings and handed it over to Shun Yamaguchi, who threw two perfect frames before falling apart in the eighth and had to be saved by Anthony Bass. Ken Giles threw a perfect ninth place for his seventh save when the Blue Jays fought off the sweep with an 8: 6 win. They ended the homeland 4-5 and lost the series against the Red Sox and Orioles for their victory over the Yankees.
After a day off on the west coast, the Blue Jays opened a 10-game road trip with a weekend series in Oakland. At the start they wasted a brilliant pitching performance by Matt Shoemaker.
In his previous game, Shoemaker had played eight innings with three goals against the Yankees and withdrawn 22 of his last 23 goals in a 5-2 win. This time, Shoemaker was even better.
He started the game by withdrawing 17 of the first 18 athletes who came on the plate. The only flaw was a fourth inning walk to Marcus Semien. While taking a no-hitter in the sixth, left Oakland player Jesus Luzardo had a one-hitter in his first six innings (with only one Jonathan Davis single allowed in the third).
Shoemaker's no-hit offer ended in two outs in the sixth when Semien hit him deeply, and that would be enough for Oakland, even though they added two runs (with a hit Batsman on board) to Sean Murphys Homer in the eighth) .
Reese McGuire had a pinch hit single in the ninth before Oakland closer (and former Blue Jay) to Liam Hendriks, which gave each team a total of two hits. A complete game with two goals – but a loss – for Shoemaker when the A & # 39; s started 3-0.
The Blue Jays had a lot more chances in goal in the next game, but could not take advantage of it and only went 1: 10 with runners in goal position. The only goal was an RBI single by Teoscar Hernandez with two failures in the game sixth – a rarity as his batting average in the Sim along with Rowdy Tellez remains below 0.200 – the Oaklands lead reduced to 3 -1 at the time. This tour was built by Ramon Laureano on a Matt Chapman RBI Double and a Homer with two runs.
There seemed to be a rally in the upper part of the eighth when the Blue Jays loaded the bases with an out on three Jake Diekman walks, but Joakim Soria came in to put out the fire.
It was a tough day for Bichette, who made two mistakes, failed twice and played a double. The Blue Jays fell 5-1 and went back to the last game in a series to avoid being swept.
With Thornton on the hill against Frankie Montas, right-handed from Oakland, in the final on Sunday afternoon, Bichette was not on the starting line-up for the first time this season. Joe Panik – one of only two Blue Jays with an OPS over .800 in simulation (nobody is over .812) – played shortstop for the first time in his MLB career and landed flawlessly after hitting just two balls its way all day.
For the first time in the weekend series, the Blue Jays had a head start! They loaded the bases out in the fourth and after Hernandez failed, McGuire delivered the big hit they had been looking for for days, a double-to-right field. Two runners scored, but Travis Shaw was thrown on the plate and tried to make three, ending the inning. Still, the Jays took the lead 2-0 and Thornton acted. Oakland got a semien single to derive the first inning, but didn't get another hit until the sixth.
However, the sixth was a problem. Semien went to deduce it, and after a Chapman groundout persuaded him, Matt Olson connected the game with a massive home run in the middle. Thornton then went to Khris Davis and was ready for the day with Wilmer Font taking over.
In 13 previous appearances this season, Font had been outstanding, posting an ERA of 1.53 and a whip of 1.13 over 17 2/3 innings of work. But this was not a good day for him.
Mark Canha greeted the right-hander of the Jays with a double pack to drive into Khris Davis and give Oakland the lead. After a flyout, Font gave up two more singles, the second with Canha, before beating Chad Pinder to end the inning.
The Blue Jays gasped again when Hernandez left with a double pack from Hendriks from ninth place. A rare Chapman mistake brought the binding run to the base.
After Brandon Drury was supposed to be hit, the call went instead to Bichette, who hit the plate as the starting shot and … jumped out. He still leads the team in runs that have been scored and doubled, is at the top in home runs (nine with Tellez) and is third in OPS. Don't get me wrong, Bichette was clearly one of the glowing lights in the simulation. He only had a few hard days.
The Blue Jays still had one shot left, but Hendriks knocked out Biggio to end the game and finish the Oakland sweep with a 4-2 win.
It was a difficult start for the road trip as the Jays in the three-game series in Oakland only scored three runs in total and hit a collective .172 as a team to drop to 16-24, which was only slightly better is as a 100 loss pace.
This week's schedule runs the Blue Jays through the central time zone, with three games in Texas, followed by four on the south side of Chicago.
Each game is simulated on the day it should be played, usually late afternoon for scheduled night games, early afternoon for day games – follow every day on Twitter @ wilnerness590 to "see" the simulated season (when) the real thing starts!