The Blue Jays edged the Rangers, but will they have enough arms for Sunday’s bullpen final?

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Almost everything is going according to plan for the Jays these days.

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For the second weekend in a row, the Jays traveled to a city against a team already absent from the playoff draw, having to start with their bullpen with a bigger streak looming and a double-header on the schedule. in the next few days. .

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It could still happen this weekend, but the margin for error has narrowed thanks to a relatively long night for the bullpen on Saturday.

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Last weekend it was a three-game sweep at Pittsburgh, including a bullpen win, followed by three wins in four nights at Baltimore, including a doubleheader sweep.

So far this weekend, it’s two wins in two games, including Saturday night’s 11-7 victory over the Rangers and now it’s the bullpen’s turn on Sunday to reassemble about nine innings. and complete the scan.

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The weekend was not perfect. Friday was a bit rough and, with a huge lead early on Saturday, the Jays let the Rangers come back to make it a game, expending some potentially needed throws from the Toronto bullpen. But it is undeniable that the final results were not satisfactory.

Jays starter Kevin Gausman had a 4-0 lead going into a pitch, but quickly gave up three on a three-run homer late in the first to Adolis Garcia.

No worries because the Jays offense was not nearly over with Texas starter Kohei Arihara.

Arihara got a little shy after the Jays got that fourth-place finish in the first and started snacking like a hard-hit pitcher is used to. He scored twice in the second inning but escaped unscathed when Matt Chapman failed weakly in the third for the final out.

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But two more walks in the third around a Raimel Tapia three-run homer eventually turned into a five-run inning and Gausman’s big lead was restored.

The Jays would add two more in the fourth as Danny Jansen chased Arihara with a two-run homer to make it 11-3.

Gausman appeared to be in control until Rangers were sixth when he began to approach the 100 shot mark. He started the inning at 89 pitches and left at 101 after allowing a two-run homer to Sam Huff.

Zach Pop replaced Gausman and gave up two others before crashing out of the inning on a Corey Seager double play fly ball.

The Rangers were back in this one though, down just four and the Jays bullpen was up and pitching.
Toronto would need to go through four relievers after Gausman left to complete the final 11 outs.

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After Pop was Anthony Bass for one inning, then Adam Cimber for two-thirds of an inning.

Cimber gave up a single to Josh Smith and hit slugger Kole Calhoun, turning a two-for-two out to left-hander Tim Mayza.

Mayza came in to face left-handed hitter Seager and smashed him in first to end the threat and maintain the four-run cushion.

Mayza came back for the ninth to end the match.

Where that leaves the Jays heading into this series finale, it takes at least one of Sunday’s relievers to give them four innings with Yusei Kikuchi the likely contender.

Trevor Richards hasn’t pitched in this series, so he’ll supposedly be in the mix with Kikuchi, David Phelps and Julian Merryweather the most likely front four for action.

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Needing one more day with family following the birth of his third child, and his paternity leave already capped at three days, the Jays added outfielder Teoscar Hernandez to the shortlist on Saturday, but will activate him at time for Sunday’s game… The bullpen, which was attracting all the attention before the trade deadline as the area most in need of reinforcements, has become an area of ​​strength for the Jays. The bass and pop additions along with some health feedback by others settled things nicely there. The stabilizing force was closer to Jordan Romano, however, who locked in his 32nd save of the year on Friday night. The Markham native has allowed no runs in his last 11 games, and only seven hits in that span while striking out 17. All that in 12.2 innings.

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Martin E. Berry