Get the brooms out, as the Blue Jays finally sweep a series

It took two months into the season to get it done, but the Toronto Blue Jays have their first sweep of the season, as they beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1, although the victory came with a price.

Blue Jays SP Alek Manoah didn’t last long in his start due to right elbow discomfort, according to a Blue Jays official. Manoah’s velocity was noticeably down, only hitting 90mph with his fastball, compared to his normal 93 to 95, and he showed signs of lingering pain after throwing a pitch in the second inning.

It’s unclear whether Manoah’s injury will land him on the IL. Jays manager John Schneider said the RHP would have an MRI on his right elbow tomorrow.

Considering the Jays have no game on Thursday, the team could opt to go with a four-man rotation if Manoah is unable to start his next time up or call up Bowden Francis from his rehab in the minors. Francis threw 3.2 innings in relief for Triple-A Buffalo yesterday and could go four to five innings in a start, depending on his pitch count.

Manoah’s injury forced Toronto to use their bullpen earlier than expected. Trevor Richards was a hero for the Blue Jays bullpen, pitching 3 1/3 innings, allowing zero runs, and bridging the gap to Toronto’s best relievers. His refound success this season is partly due to a slower changeup, generating more depth, swing, and misses.

Between Richards, Tim Mayza, Zach Pop, Yimi Garcia, and Jordan Romano, Toronto’s bullpen only gave up one earned run in 8 1/3 innings pitched, a remarkable feat to clinch the series sweep. The only run from Chicago came via Korey Lee, hitting a home run off Romano in the ninth, as the closer continues to give up runs recently, allowing six earned runs in his last five outings.

The Jays offence started slow as usual. Chicago SP Chris Flexen certainly got his strikeouts on the breaking balls of Blue Jays hitters in the first two innings (5 Ks), but he also gave up walks simultaneously (3BB in two innings).

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would get Toronto’s first hit in the third, followed by Bo Bichette’s single to give Toronto an early lead. Guerrero Jr. has been a force to be reckoned with in MLB over the last week, with an OPS over 1.100 during that span.

In the fourth, another leadoff walk by Flexen to George Springer would come back to haunt the RHP, as Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled, extending Toronto’s lead by two. Kiner-Falefa is enjoying an eight-game hitting streak and has been a pleasant surprise this season after many fans disliked Toronto signing the infielder to a two-year contract in the offseason.

Another big postive from the series was George Springer, who wishes he could stay in the south side of Chicago for the entire season. Springer reached base 10 times in the series, including walking six times overall.

Alejandro Kirk added to the offense, hitting a blooper just in front of White Sox CF Dominic Fletcher, stretching Toronto’s lead to 3-0, which was ultimately enough to win over Chicago.

Flexen pitched five innings, allowing three earned runs and walking five. Chicago is currently off to its worst start in franchise history (15-42) and will have a massive sale come the trade deadline.

With their first sweep of the season, Toronto has some hope of returning to a playoff spot, even if their latest series was against the worst team in MLB. The Jays are now 26-29 and 4.5 games back of a wild-card spot.

Tomorrow will be the Jays’ first off-day in two weeks. They will get a rest day before starting a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are 5-5 in their last 10 games. Toronto will also debut their highly anticipated city connect jerseys on the field, which were allegedly leaked on social media last week.

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