NEW YORK – Blue Jays manager John Gibbons gave first baseman Justin Smoak, catcher Russell Martin, and second baseman Devon Travis the day off on Saturday.
Martin caught Friday night and will start on Sunday against the Yankees. Gibbons would prefer not having him catch a day game after a night game. Martin’s backup, Luke Maile, started on Saturday. Maile has had a resurgence at the plate this season (though he went 0-for-4 in a 9-1 loss to the Yankees on Saturday). “You got the cult hero in there,” said Gibbons of Maile’s new found popularity brought on by his hot bat.
Smoak is hitting .233 so far this year with two home runs, but he has reached base safely in 18 of the 19 games in which he has played.
Travis smacked a foul ball off his left foot Thursday during the series opener and the foot is still a little sore. On top of that, Gibbons wanted to get his replacement, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., in the lineup again after Gurriel recorded two doubles and three RBIs in his major-league debut on Friday. “Day to day. Day to day. We’re all day to day,” said Gibbons, when asked about Travis. “But he’s better.”
One of Gibbons’ big challenges is getting all his players in games. “Yeah, try to keep them as sharp as possible,” he said. “There’s something about this game, guys get hot, they get on a roll, so you don’t want to mess that up either.”
AROUND THE DIAMOND
Injured third baseman Josh Donaldson (right shoulder inflammation) was eligible to come off the DL on Saturday but he remains in Florida on rehab. Gibbons said he feels good as he continues to hit. Donaldson is at Day 3 of a throwing program … OF Curtis Granderson drew a season-high three walks on Friday and has reached base safely in eight of his last 12 plate appearances (3-for-7, 4 runs , 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB). He is slashing .323/.462/.613 when hitting at the top of the order … Former Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, who signed a minor-league deal with the Atlanta Braves this week, last night made his debut with the Florida Fire Frogs, the Braves’ class-A Advanced affiliate in Kissimmee. Bautista batted leadoff and played third base … The seven runs Toronto pitchers allowed in the sixth inning on Saturday was the most runs allowed by the team in a single inning since Sept.20 2017 against Kansas City, when the Royals scored eight in the top of the second … The one run scored by the Jays in the game matched their season-low. They are 1-7 when scoring three runs or fewer this season and 12-0 when scoring at least four … The Jays need a victory on Sunday to avoid their first series loss of the season … Since the start of 2016, Marcus Stroman, who picked up the loss Saturday, is 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA at Yankee Stadium.
OSUNA SIZZLING OUT OF THE PEN
For obvious reasons (a 9-1 loss, Toronto’s most one-sided loss of the year), Jays closer Roberto Osuna didn’t come into Saturday’s game. In Toronto’s 8-5 win on Friday at Yankee Stadium, the 23-year-old closer picked up his sixth save in as many chances, throwing a scoreless ninth inning. Osuna last allowed a run on Sept. 5, 2017 at Boston and has gone 14 games and 14.1 innings since then without any runs scoring – giving up just four singles over that time with zero walks and 14 strikeouts. Osuna’s save Friday was his 101st in the majors. The 2017 all-star has surpassed Billy Koch for third on the Jays’ career saves list.http://blob:http://torontosun.com/0fd6ae83-ed23-4447-be72-8f9fedae8261