Toronto Blue Jays fans and pitching conquer Seattle Mariners

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 04: Blue Jays fans watch batting practice before the game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 4, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 04: Blue Jays fans watch batting practice before the game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 4, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /

With Toronto Blue Jays fans invading Safeco Field for the team’s annual trip to the west coast and were treated to a rare series victory thanks in large part to strong pitching.

There aren’t many occasions where a fanbase takes over a visiting team’s ballpark which is what happened when the Toronto Blue Jays travelled to Seattle this past weekend.

Luckily for the thousands of fans who made the trip across the border, the team rewarded them with a series win which has been tough to come across. The victories weren’t a fluke either because of how strong the pitching and unfortunately for Seattle, their playoff hopes were impacted by it.

Going into series opener, the Blue Jays were preparing for a bullpen day with Tyler Clippard getting the start, what would happen next was something nobody saw coming.

As Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reported, Mike Hauschild went through a physical an hour before first pitch even though he was supposed to go triple-A. Changes to his flight led to him pitching six scoreless innings throwing five strikeouts in a 7-3 win. 

In game two, fans were treated to a milestone night from rookie Ryan Borucki as he earned his first career win. Pitching into eight innings has been a rare occasion for the starting rotation and the 24-year-old did it at ease.

Seven starts into his MLB career and it’s hard to not be excited by the possibilities that the left-hander can bring going forward. He also got a taste of how Blue Jays fans come together in large crowds in Seattle and the impact it has on the players.

"“I’m on cloud nine right now,” Borucki said to the media postgame. “It was definitely worth the wait. These fans here, I was just riding on those fans. They were keeping me in it. When I went out in the eighth, I felt myself getting a little bit tired, but those fans kept me going. It was a lot of fun.”"

In their third game, it was Marco Estrada‘s turn to continue the strong trend for the starting pitching and what better time than with the Blue Jays still having a chance to trade him to a contender.

So what did Estrada do? Almost throw a no-hitter as he went into the seventh but gave up a double to Mitch Haniger, but what allowed the righty to get back on track?

"“He was painting the fastball; he threw some good curve balls,” manager John Gibbons said about Estrada’s performance. “Not a lot of ’em but some really good ones that buckled some guys. And of course a good changeup.”"

What this past weekend showed is that the Blue Jays formula to win comes from how their pitching stacks up. The offence was able to generate more than enough run support but it helped that the team wasn’t down early.

Whether the Blue Jays can find a way to build on that going forward remains to be seen.

It has been a disastrous season from their starting rotation with Aaron Sanchez still on the DL, Marcus Stroman and Estrada have battled inconsistency and injuries, J.A. Happ is pitching in pinstripes after being the only reliable starter to trade, and Jaime Garcia was a failed experience.

What the team hopes is that Borucki can step in next season and continue his strong start but expectations have to be tempered a bit. Then there’s the possibility of Happ and Estrada returning depending on how the offseason plays out.

If the rotation can sort itself out, the Blue Jays have a chance to make next season less miserable than how 2018 has been.

Granted that’s not the only thing that will have to change next season but at least this past weekend in Seattle showed that all is not lost with this team. The best part is that the players got a taste of the Blue Jays invasion.

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What did you think about the Blue Jays series in Seattle? Does it provide some hope going forward? Let us know in the comments below.