At least I got some sleep today, with the game being a night game, and starting 7AM local time, I had the opportunity of a full nights rest. So I was in a good mood for the ballgame. I was in an even better mood when I saw who the first baseman is, admittedly I’m probably the biggest fan of Justin Smoak you’ll find. I don’t really understand why everyone wanted to release him, he’s a sunk cost, and his production at worst will still be 15 home runs, and a BA of around .230, so get off his back.
Then Smoak made an error in the bottom of the first, and just like that, I’d lost my patience with good ol’ Smoaky. Somehow, the error was credited to the Bringer of Rain, personally I think that was a travesty, right up there with Beijing’s air quality, and Rougned Odor. Luckily, the Jays got out of the dig without being down.
The game quickly devolved into a pitching duel, with the Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy and J.A pitching like men possessed. The Jays eventually took the lead in the 3rd, with my man Justin Smoak hitting a single, Pillar and Travis singles brought Smoak home. With men on first and third with one out in the third, my thoughts were that Bundy would crumble, but he got out of the jam, which would be indicative of how the game would progress.
The Orioles then started tacking on runs, normally I’d devolve into criticising the pitches, however I went out for breakfast after the top of the 3rd, so all I know is that there were two home runs by Baltimore, one of them by Murderer’s Row.
I came back to witness the continuation of a pitching duel, despite 3 earned runs, J.A was dealing, hitting his spots, and even getting strikeouts. As for Bundy, the sheer amount of first-pitch strikes showing his comfort on the mound, and was truly value for the quality start.
As this review lends itself to, the Jays offence was no match for the starters. I feel that there were missed opportunities in the 8th and 9th. In the 8th, Smoaky led-off with a ground-rule double (who’s laughing now), eventually it was first and third with one out. At which point the inning ended anticlimactically, with KP popping up and a ground-out by Devon Travis.
The 9th inning though took the cake for disappointment. Against 2016 ‘Cy Young Winner’ Zach Britton (you can disagree with my opinion and that’s ok, as long as you don’t think Rick Porcello deserved to win it), the Jays had the bats finally going. Having the bases loaded with one out, and Steve Pearce coming to the plate. Britton looked shook, having allowed hits to Joey Bats and Morales, and allowing a walk to Russell Martin. On a full-count however, Pearce grounded into a game ending double play.
Looking at only the record, 0-2 obviously isn’t ideal heading into Tampa, however, with the performances of the pitching staff this series, I’m very confident in the other three rotation members, who I genuinely thought would be the top three staff members by ERA. So, record not encouraging, but performances very encouraging.
Ending it, I want to talk about Russell Martin’s toughness, in my opinion, his decision to play on after being struck on his unprotected wrist while catching was idiotic. However, that decision to stay in the game is a perfect microcosm of how Russell plays the game. Pure toughness, refusing to leave even when it is in his best interests to, how can you fault toughness like that. Toronto and its Blue Jays are proud to call this fine Canadian its own.