This game started a little earlier than normal, I think because of daylight savings in California, but I wouldn’t know. This meant that it would start at around 9AM my time. Normally this would be perfect time-wise, today however less so. Having numerous school assignments, and having a drink or two on a Saturday Night, I crawled into bed around 3AM. By the time I’d woke up, Casey had conceded a grand slam to Andrelton Simmons, and the Jays were 5-1 down in the top of the fourth. With that in mind, I turned off the Sportsnet stream to look for breakfast.
Turning in from the bottom of the 6th, having had my morning dumplings, I got to see Casey retire the side in order, and work himself into his first Major League start. The top of the 7th was a disappointment, with Tyler Skaggs continuing his impressive start with a 1-2-3 inning. It was the bottom of the 7th that would see Casey’s night end.
After a ground-out to Barney to start the inning (note Barney had an error on the night and this throw only just got to Smoaky at first), Kole Calhoun hit a single to right. Up came Mike Trout and sure enough, he hit a ball that sounded like it was leaving the ballpark from the moment it was hit. However, this isn’t Rogers Center, it’s Angels Stadium and the ball only hit the top of the wall in left, a double for Trout following by an intentional walk to Albert Pujols leaving bases loaded with one out, with Casey Lawrence leaving in line for the loss. In relief came a guy named Campos (insert Compost jokes here) to pitch to CJ Cron. Somehow, Ryan Goins made a miracle play at short to start the DP, Campos officially getting out of the jam, Goins in reality saving two runs from scoring.
Baseball’s a funny game, perhaps it’s confirmation bias but it seems like every time a fielder makes an awesome play to end the inning, they lead-off and get a base hit. You know where I’m going with this, Ryan Goins started with a lead-off double to the right-field wall. This ended Tyler Skaggs night, who rightly got a standing ovation, leaving the game up 5-1, having pitched 7 strong innings. On came former Yankee Kirby Yates to minimise the damage, and he immediately got the runners off base, by conceding a two-run shot to Kevin Pillar on a hanging slider.
Yates was truly terrible, he got out of the inning without conceded a base-hit. This though doesn’t tell the true story, firstly, Chris Coghlan, pinch-hitting for Barney hit a ball to center that was caught at the warning track by the GOAT Mike Trout. Joey Bats then belted a ball into the power alley that was snagged by a laid-out Kole Calhoun. That description though doesn’t do it justice, this play probably won the game for the Angels, even though it was only the top of the 8th. Morales struck out tamely to end the inning
Campos again relied on the DP ball to get out of the 8th, this time a regulation Goins-Travis-Smoak DP allowing the Jays to get to the ninth down two.
In an act of pure stupidity, Mike Scioscia kept Kirby Yates in the game to start the 9th to face Justin Smoak. Guess what happened next? Obviously Smoaky blasted a ball into the right field seats, cutting the margin to one. Realising his error after the fact, Yates was removed for Bud Norris. Likewise, Zeke then came in to hit for Steve Pearce, and duly singled to continue the rally. That’s where it would end though. Devon Travis was next up and hit a hard-hit ball down the middle of the infield, which I at first thought would be a certain base-hit. Continuing the trend of brilliant shortstop play, Andrelton Simmons made a diving stop and forced the DP, stopping the Jays momentum dead in its tracks. Salty then came up to the plate with the chance to level the scores, but we all knew it was over. Sure enough Salty struck out to end the game, with the Jays going down 5-4.
The starting pitchers had vastly different statlines, with Casey Lawrence going six and a third, conceding 5 runs (4 earned), giving up 8 hits and 3 walks, while striking out four. For Tyler Skaggs, he pitched seven, conceded 2 runs, scattering 7 hits and 2 walks, while also striking out four.
I’d like to congratulate Casey Lawrence upon making his first start for the Blue Jays in the majors. As a low draft-pick, I’m sure that he’s had plenty of moments where he’s doubted himself, not only as a baseballer but as a person. Today was the culmination of your years of hard work and graft, and no matter what happened today, hold your head up high. Who am I in the grand scheme of things, a nobody and one who you will never meet nor care about, but it won’t stop me from praising you.
So the Jays are now 4-13, but they looked good today, especially after the intro of minor league pitchers from the Angels. In all seriousness though, they should be able to win tomorrow, and despite Tulo’s trip to the DL, things are looking up for the Jays.