It’s so frustratin, so many hatin
Somebody gon’ make me break the law
But I ain’t waitin, there’s no escapin
You better get ready for the war
Xzibit may not have known it, but he said it best. Heading into the start of the West Coast Trip, the Jays looked in big trouble. Some fans calling not just for panic, but for the heads of Gibby and Mark Shapiro in response to the terrible start. Two-Fifths of the starting rotation are on the DL, two Jays making their first starts for the Jays this weekend, it was a good time for the Jays-haters (are there Jays haters) and an opportunity for the true fans to show their colours.
With the Jays facing Mike Trout for the next couple of days, the season would start to get back on track. There were a couple of changes from yesterday’s line-up with Devon Travis getting a rest, being replaced by Ryan Goins at second, and Chris Coghlan continuing at third. Mat Latos got the start for the Jays.
The first and the second were uneventful, with Alex Meyer only needing 25 pitches to get through his first two innings, and Mat Latos getting the job done thanks to some awesome defence from Chris Coghlan at third. The action truly began in the third, where the Jays put on a two spot. The inning began with back-to-back walks to the 8 and 9 hitters Chris Coghlan and Goins. From there, the Jays played some small ball in order to score, with Pillar sac bunting to advance the runners, and the runners scoring on a ground-out and a wild pitch. The Jays moving into the bottom of the 3rd up 2-0.
The Angels then exploded in the third, but not without a chance for the Jays to escape the jam. The Angels catcher Maldonado hit a single, then Latos began to have control issues through back-to-back walks, leading to a scenario where bases were loaded with one out and Mike Trout coming to the plate. Somehow, Latos got Trout to fly out, and due to the lack of speed of Maldonado, Latos was one out away from escaping the inning with the lead. In between that was the future HOFer Albert Pujols. On two-strikes, Pujols doubled along the third-base line, just sneaking the ball fair and past the outstretched glove of Chris Coghlan. Two scored easily, yet because of a terrible throw by Zeke, who missed not only one but two cut-offs, Kole Calhoun reached home from first, giving the Angels a surprising lead. After hitting the next man CJ Cron, Latos eventually got a ground-out to end the inning, with the Angels still ahead 3-2.
Alex Meyer’s control issues were even worse in the 4th, after a lead-off single by Morales, he got to second on a ground-out. The whole time, his control was deserting him, with a strikeout of Russell Martin not masking Meyer’s troubles. It was at this point where the Angels began to warm-up their bullpen and when his control then officially fell off a cliff. With two outs with a man on second, there Alex Meyer threw one strike the rest of his night. He walked of all people Justin Smoak, who got a four-pitch walk. Meyer was then visited on the mound by his manager Mike Scioscia, in order to give the pen more time to warm up. Meyer then proceeded to get to 3-0 against Chris Coghlan, which led to more time-wasting. Eventually Coghlan was walked on five pitches, and Meyer was slowly yanked for an Angels reliever.
As the Angels brought in a lefty, Goins was replaced by Darwin Barney. Barney nearly hit a home run on the first pitch he saw, hooking a ball just foul to left. Darwin then flied out to right, ending the inning. Somehow Alex Meyer escaped, and his night would end with a no-decision, conceding 2 earned runs and giving up 4 walks and 2 hits over three and two-thirds.
Things would eventually come to a head for Mat Latos in the fifth, with Mike Trout hitting a no-doubter to right-center to make it 4-2. Latos would get through the inning without further damage, and his night would end there. Latos in his first start for the Jays would get the no-decision, conceding 4 earned runs and giving up 3 walks and 6 hits over five innings.
The Jays would get a run back though in the top of the 6th, and it would occur in absolutely crazy fasion. With one-out, Tulo hit a pop to third base, where Yunel Escobar, in a nonchalant, arrogant manner proceeded to drop the pop-up, allowing Tulo to reach first. This wouldn’t be the only error of the inning though. After a Russell Martin walk put runners on first and second, Smoaky grounded into an easy DP ball. The Angels though continued to field like my baseball team, which in no way is a complement by screwing up the double play. The first out was barely made, CJ Cron throwing as if Carlos Correa was his shortstop, Andrelton Simmons just reaching it. The throw though left Simmons both off-balance and rushed, and his throw sailed high and wide of Cron at first. Smoaky reached safely and Tulo came around to score.
After some solid work by the pens of the two sides, there was a crazy 8th. In the top of the dig, Tulo reached on a full-count walk, then Russell Martin walked, leaving men on first and second with one out. Bud Norris was dragged for the Angles closer, Cam Bedrosian, who came in for a 5-out save. A wild pitch during the next at-bat left runners at third and second, Tulo just beating the throw. Tulo though would come out of the game with a hamstring problem, Devon Travis replacing him. To complete the wild at-bat, Smoaky would double, bringing home two and giving the Jays a 5-4 lead. The Jays wouldn’t be able to bring Smoaky home, but at that stage, things looked good for the Jays.
With a short pen, Dominic Leone came in to pitch the eighth, and the lead was soon lost. With two-outs and a man on, pitch-hitter Jefry Marte hit a ball that looked like a home-run right into the foul pole, Zeke though was able to keep the ball in play, saving a run and keeping the Jays in the game. After a video-review to see if the ball hooked foul or not, the run stood and eventually the game would head into the 9th 5-all
In the bottom of the 9th, Mike Trout would nearly hit a walk-out home run off Joe Smith, hitting a ball caught on the warning track by Joey Bats in Right-Center. Pujols would single to keep the Angels walk-off alive, but after a ground-out by CJ Cron, the game would be going to extras, with both the Jays and the Angels forced to rely on a depleted bullpen.
The Jays threatened again in the top of the 10th, with the bats going with a two-out single by Russell Martin followed by a smart bunt-single against the shift by Chris Coghlan. Darwin Barney though couldn’t bring either one home, striking out to end the inning. The Jays then sent out Ryan Tepera to pitch the bottom of the inning
After a pop-up to start the inning, the no-doubles defence cost the Jays, with Cameron Maybin hitting a single just out of reach of a diving Kevin Pillar. Tepera then hit Espinosa flush in the back of the knee, bringing Maybin into scoring position with one-out. UP to the plate with the winning run on second would be none other than Juan Graterol. If that name isn’t familiar to you, it’s understandable. Graterol was traded to the Angels from the Blue Jays last week, so the fairytale ending for him was there. Thankfully though, he grounded into an inning-ending DP, meaning the game would push on to the 11th.
Pillar led off the 11th, and we heard my favourite Buck Martinez saying. ‘Get Up Ball’ didn’t work it’s magic though, Maybin catching the ball on the wall, keeping the game at 5-5. Zeke struck out looking at a questionable strike on a full-count, Joey Bats reached on a walk, but Morales struck out swinging to end the top of the inning
Tepera came out again for a second inning, and when three up three down. He somehow struck down Mike Trout, which was a miracle. In the top of the 12th, Russell got yet another single, yet he couldn’t be cashed in. The inning ended with Russell Martin trying to steal 2nd, and being thrown out by about 10 feet. Tepera came out again for the bottom of the 12th, and again mowed through the order. At this point I was praying, not for a win, but to see Ryan Goins pitch.
The Angels moved into their weekend starters, bringing out Jesse Chavez to face his old side. Pillar got a two-out single down the middle, continuing his hit streak. A Zeke single got Pillar to third, leaving Joey Bats with yet another chance to hit a go-ahead run. After Zeke stole second, Joey Bats finally got a hit, and what a hit. His first home-run of the season giving the Jays an 8-5 lead. Morales then got an infield single, with a perfectly placed grounder to third, before Devon Travis struck out to end the inning.
Aaron Loup came on for the save situation, and it started terribly, with Smoaky making an error fielding a grounder at first. Loup then walked Danny Espinosa, but not before Espinosa was nearly hit again, jumping in order to avoid being hit again. It was midway through the Espinosa at-bat that Joe Biagini started throwing in the pen, even though he was publicly announced as being unavailable. Things then turned to shit, Chris Coghlan got a double play ball and fumbled it, meaning that instead of a save by Aaron Loup, bases were loaded with no outs. Biagini would come out of the pen.
Continuing the ex-Blue Jays pitchers theme, Cliff Pennington would be the one to face Biagini. Biagini struck out Pennington with a sweet, sweet curve. Next up was Calhoun, who singled to make it 8-6. Which led to the doomsday scenario, Mike Trout coming to the plate with the bases-loaded. On a full-count, Biagini hit him, or walked him. Frankly I didn’t care, because at that point I couldn’t believe what was going on. This meant that Albert Pujols would come to the plate down one. Biagini struck him out, meaning that the game would come down to CJ Cron. In an act of god, CJ Cron flied out to Kevin Pillar, giving Biagini the save.
After nearly six hours, the Jays finally got the W. The pen is stuffed, I don’t know what else to say. I’ve been up watching sport since 7am my time, and it’s now 4pm my time. Even I must have a life outside of sport.