Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Toronto Blue Jays 5, Baltimore Orioles 3

There were lots of homers tonight. It was about time, really. Toss in a good start from Sanchez, and some shaky late-game work from Osuna, and this was a tense affair.

Tim Heitman - USA TODAY Sports

Toronto

5

Baltimore

3

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Toronto 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 5 9 1
Baltimore 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 3 8 0

There were lots of homers tonight. It was about time, really. Toss in a good start from Sanchez, and some shaky late-game work from Osuna, and this was a tense affair. Maybe now the Orioles will finally start to die.

The Starter

B+

A. Sánchez

12-2 | 6.0 IP | 1 (0) | 5 H | 3 BB | 2 K |
112 PC, B: 45, S: 67 | 2.88 ERA

This was a positive outing for Sanchez. Was it his most convincing? Certainly not. But he was coming off of a 10-day break, so there was bound to be some rust. His final line read 6.0 IP, 0 ER/1R, 5 H, 2 K. Sanchez scattered some baserunners throughout the game, though all five of his hits were kept to singles. Each of the three walks were to Chris Davis, and it’s certainly possible that the game plan was to keep the ball away from him. I know that Sanchez profiles as a strikeout pitcher, but he primarily relies on the groundball. To that end, he picked up eight groundouts tonight, which meant that his approach was consistent with the usual. That should also quell any concern about his low strikeout total.

Although the Orioles had runners aboard in several innings, the only real trouble came in the 5th. After a couple of singles, Manny Machado reached base and a run scored on a Donaldson error. Sanchez then loaded the bases, but worked his way out of it. Sanchez also tossed a career-high 112 pitches tonight, which was quite the way to come back from his break. All told, it was a good night.

This start raises some interesting questions about the rotation moving forward. Should the Jays continue to space Sanchez’s starts between every 6-10 days, and possibly add more rust to him with each appearance? Should they go back to a regular rotation with regular rest, thus benefitting Estrada and bolstering the bullpen with Liriano (so you know my preference)? Or should they stick with the regular six-man rotation? Beyond that, how should Sanchez be managed during games? Some were shocked to see him stay in the game past 100 pitches. But if you’re going to use him, then I think you use him like any other starter. I don’t think that Sanchez should be pulled at the first sign of fatigue. Such an approach requires a bullpen arm to be on standby at all times, and that simply isn’t realistic. I just want to throw it out there – how would you manage Sanchez’s workload over the next month?

The Hitting

B+
Player H-AB R RBI BB SO 2B-3B-HR SB AVG OBP Slug
J. Bautista 2-4 1 1 0 1 0-0-1 0 .230 .351 .460
E. Carrera 0-0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0 .237 .317 .335
J. Donaldson 2-4 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0 .296 .407 .579
E. Encarnación 0-4 0 0 0 1 0-0-0 0 .265 .357 .544
J. Smoak 0-0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0 .228 .315 .413
M. Saunders 1-2 2 1 2 1 0-0-1 0 .270 .354 .518
M. Upton Jr. 0-0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0 .214 .252 .350
R. Martin 1-4 1 2 0 1 0-0-1 0 .247 .340 .418
T. Tulowitzki 0-4 0 0 0 1 0-0-0 0 .250 .319 .456
D. Navarro 2-4 1 0 0 1 0-0-0 0 .215 .270 .342
K. Pillar 0-4 0 0 0 2 0-0-0 0 .264 .294 .386
D. Travis 1-3 0 1 0 0 1-0-0 0 .293 .326 .465

The offence got off to a thunderous start tonight. For at least one inning, it looked like Gallardo had lost his Blue Jays magic. Bautista opened the game with a leadoff homer on the first pitch of the night. A couple of batters later, Martin hit a two-run blast. All of a sudden, it seemed as though Vance Worley would finally make an appearance. Unfortunately, Gallardo remembered who he was facing. From the 3rd to 7th inning, Gallardo retired 11 batters in a row. Navarro finally broke that streak with a bloop single. That was a key hit, as Travis then hit an RBI double, and Navarro was able to score from 1st! That’s the benefit of losing 35 pounds, and Saunders certainly enjoyed it.The Jays then added another insurance run in the 8th, when Captain Canada hit his 23rd bomb of the year (only two more to go!). This was a disappointing game for Encarnacion and Tulowitzki, but the rest of the offence was able to carry the load. Hopefully they come back to life at the Trop.

The Bullpen

B-
Player IP R ER H BB SO PC (B-S) ERA
J. Benoit (2-1) 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 15 (6-9) 3.26
B. Cecil (1-7) 0.1 0 0 1 0 0 10 (1-9) 4.82
S. Feldman (7-4) 0.2 0 0 0 0 1 9 (3-6) 3.65
R. Osuna (2-2) 1.0 2 2 2 0 1 18 (6-12) 2.48

After a night off on Tuesday, Benoit came out to start the 7th. The inning started with a walk to Hyun-Soo Kim. Benoit took care of that, with a double play from Jonathan Schoop. The inning ended with a flyout from Machado. I know that Grilli has received a ton of love lately, and rightfully so. But let’s not forget about Benoit, who has also had a terrific Blue Jays career.

Cecil came in for the 8th. I was hesitant about it at first, but Saunders’ home run in the top of the inning made it a little more comfortable. Cecil’s first pitch was sent on a ride by Chris Davis, but Upton made the catch at the wall in left field. Trumbo then picked up his first hit of the series with a single. Pedro Alvarez was the scheduled batter, but the Orioles went to Steve Pearce. That brought an end to Cecil’s night. The lefty was fine. He shouldn’t have pitched to a righty, and gave up a single because of it. Really not much more to say. Feldman came in to wrap up the 8th. He struck out Pearce, and Wieters grounded out. It was a good outing for Feldman. With an off-day tomorrow, he should still have plenty in the tank for a few innings against the Rays, if needed.

Gibbons turned to Osuna for the 9th. This was a little different from his last non-save appearance against the Twins. With a day off tomorrow, he should still be fine for the Rays series. Furthermore, the Orioles pose more of a threat in a four-run game than do the Twins. It was the right time to go to the closer. JJ Hardy lined one right into Osuna’s glove arm, and Travis threw him out at 1st. That was a scary moment. Thankfully, Osuna was able to keep pitching. In that moment, it was important to remember that the comebacker didn’t make the initial decision to go to Osuna a bad one. Gibbons can’t manage with the benefit of hindsight.

Moving along… Nolan Reimold then hit a single. Osuna rebounded with a strikeout to Kim. The inning took another turn after that, as Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run shot. There’s just something about non-save situations that turn Osuna loose. Maybe he experiments a little too much when he has a lead. Of course, tonight it might have been a throbbing arm. Nothing else came of the rally, as Machado flied out to end the game. Now for Osuna to get some rest.

The Jays won a series at Camden Yards! That’s as good a result as we could have hoped for. Meanwhile, the Red Sox haven’t made up any ground. The upcoming trip to the Trop should be hell, though.

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