36-11. That was the Texas Rangers’ record in one-run games last year. Now look at the Blue Jays. With the exception of one or two games, they have had the winning or tying run at the plate in the 9th inning during every loss this season. They’ve made the best reliever in baseball sweat more than any team did during all of last season. Yet they’re 1-9 to start the year.
W: W. Miley 1-0
L: A. Sanchez 0-1
S: Z. Britton 0-0
L, 0-1 | 5.1 IP | 5 (5) | 7 H | 1 BB | 3 K |
93 PC, B: 34, S: 59 | 4.38 ERA
For the first time in a few days, the Jays’ starting pitching let them down. Aaron Sanchez started off strong, before he completely fell apart. His final line reads 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 3 K 1 BB. Sanchez made quick work of the Orioles through the first 4.0 innings. Baltimore could only muster one run off of a wild pitch during that stretch. But things took a turn for the worse in the 5th. Sanchez gave up a couple of doubles, along with a couple of home runs. Jonathan Schoop hit a solo shot and J.J. Hardy drove in two. Sanchez got rocked again to start the 6th, as Chris Davis took him deep. The long ball has been a problem for the Jays’ starters this week, as JA Happ and Marco Estada had similar problems. It’s not clear why Sanchez suddenly became completely ineffective, but we might find out that his blister was a factor. At any rate, it was a very disappointing end to an outing that had a promising start.
There was a moment tonight when it looked like the offence had some life. It didn’t come in the first inning (Wade Miley struck out the side). They turned things around in the 2nd though. Kendrys Morales hit a leadoff single, and Troy Tulowitzki followed with a double. A couple of batters later, Justin Smoak hit an RBI single. Darwin Barney followed that with a grounder which Manny Machado bobbled, which allowed Tulowtizki to score. It was a fun inning. The Jays scored again in the 4th, as Smoak hit a solo shot. He had a nice night.
The offence dried up after that. They looked pretty sluggish through the middle innings. Things got a little interesting in the 7th. With one out, Ryan Goins hit a pinch hit(!) single. Devon Travis then struck out, extending his streak of awful horribleness to 0-for-29. Pillar followed that with a single. The Jays then had the tying run at the plate. Unfortunately, Steve Pearce popped out, after putting up a decent battle against Darren O’Day. Personally, I would have pinch hit the newcomer, Chris Coghlan, in that situation. Pearce has been in a slump, and Coghlan mashes right-handers. Fair play to Pearce though, as he did make O’Day work for the out. How did the Jays follow that promising 7th inning? Three more strikeouts, this time from Jose Bautista, Morales, and Tulowitzki.
The Jays did score against Zach Britton in the 9th though. Russell Martin hit a single, and Travis later drove him in to break up his 0-for-29. Those two are heating up, relatively speaking. Kevin Pillar then hit a single, and just like that, the Jays were on top of Britton again, and once again, they had a real chance to win in the 9th inning. The stage was set for Pearce to redeem himself against Britton after last night. But Pearce struck out. They have had Britton on the ropes four times this season, and yet he’s managed to escape every time. It’s infuriating.
|D. Leone (0-0)||1.1||0||0||1||1||1||18 (8-10)||2.08|
|A. Loup (0-0)||0.1||0||0||0||0||1||5 (2-3)||3.00|
|R. Tepera (0-0)||1.0||0||0||0||1||0||15 (7-8)||1.80|
|J. Grilli (0-1)||1.0||1||1||1||1||1||28 (12-16)||3.86|
The bullpen had more work than might have been expected after the first couple of innings. At least they were fresh, after having yesterday off. Dominic Leone was the first into the game, with one on and one out in the 6th. He got Hyun-soo Kim to ground into a fielders’ choice, and J.J. Hardy to fly out. Leone was back for the start of the 7th. The inning started well, as Caleb Joseph popped out. Seth Smith followed that with a walk, and Adam Jones hit a single. Leone got Manny Machado to strikeout, before Gibbons came out of the dugout. It was another good showing for Leone, who could build himself a nice niche as a mop-up man. With two on and two out, Aaron Loup came in to face Davis. The move paid dividends, as Loup picked up the inning-ending strikeout.
Ryan Tepera came out to start the 8th. After a lengthy delay to treat home plate umpire Dale Scott, who took a foul ball off of his face mask, Tepera walked Mark Trumbo to start the inning. The defence helped Tepera out after that, as Goins and Travis turned a nice double play on a ground ball from Schoop. The inning ending with a flyout from Kim. Like Leone, Tepera has been fine this year. Unlike last April, the weaker arms in the bullpen haven’t been a problem.
Jason Grilli hadn’t pitched since Tuesday, so he was given the ball in the 9th. Hardy popped out to start the inning. Grilli followed that by striking out Joseph. The Orioles tacked on another run, though, when Smith hit a solo homer. That made it four on the night. Grilli followed that by walking Jones. The inning came to an end thanks to a popout from Machado. Despite Smith’s home run, the bullpen still only allowed one run over 3.2 innings. I’ll take that every day of the week.
The Blue Jays are supposed to win when Aaron Sanchez matches up against Wade Miley.