It’s amazing to think that this is already the 20th game of the season, it’s even more amazing to look at today’s line-up card. Yes, I know that with the first interleague game there’s bound to be a couple of surprises, for instance those without knowledge of the National League would be surprised to learn that Marco Estrada is batting tonight. But that’s not the shock I’m talking about. Obviously, without a DH Morales moved over to first, putting Smoaky onto the bench. With Salty catching though, this meant Russell Martin moving to the bench right? No, at third base was Russell, in the words of Gibby to keep his bat in the line-up. Zeke was at field, and Barney was at second. The bench, ever so important in interleague consisted of Smoaky, Devon Travis, Chris Coghlan and Steve Pearce. Estrada was taking on Michael Wacha.
The Cards got on the board early in the bottom of the 1st, Dexter Fowler got a lead-off double and scored on a two-out single by Jedd Gyorko. With Wacha retiring his first seven, the Cards looked ominous. The Jays first base-runner was Ryan Goins, who got a one-out ground-rule double in the third. He was stranded, as Estrada struck out looking and KP flew-out to center.
The Jays ran into a hell of a lot of luck to start the 4th, Zeke took 4 strikes (per pitchcast) before an infield single to first. Bautista then singled to right, with Zeke taking off to third. Zeke was gone due to a great throw by Piscotty. However, Piscotty’s throw went right into Zeke’s helmet, so instead of being tagged out at third, the ball ricocheted into the Jays dugout, scoring Zeke and putting Joey Bats on third. Morales grounded out to score Jose and give the Jays a 2-1 lead.
After that passage, the Jays started stringing hits together like the Jays of old, Martin singled, and after Salty flew-out, Barney singled and Goins walked. This left Marco Estrada in a bases-loaded situation in the 4th. He did the best he could, having an 8-pitch at-bat, he struck out looking though to leave the score 2-1.
The bottom of the 4th meanwhile was a disaster. The inning began with a ground-rule double by Piscotty, followed by another double by Gyorko, that due to incompetent base-running by Piscotty left runners on second and third. It didn’t matter though, as Yadier Molina made it 2-2 with a bloop single to center. After a walk to Matt Adams loaded the bases with no outs, Estrada struck out Grichuk. After that, Barney and Goins turned a great DP to end the inning, leaving the game still at 2.
Things began to quiet down, with a quick 5th by both Estrada and Wacha, before Wacha escaped the 6th, stranding a runner in scoring position. Estrada again began the 6th conceding a double to Piscotty. After a strike-out by Gyorko and Molina, Estrada caught Adams looking to end the innings, and indeed end Estrada’s night.
As it turned out both starting pitchers were done, Wacha being replaced by Matt Bowman. After Goins struck out to start the seventh, Coghlan pinch-hit for Estrada and after reaching on a walk, scoring on a Pillar triple, somersaulting over Yadier Molina to avoid the tag and give the Jays an incredible lead. Zeke then reached on an error, enabling KP to safely plate and give the Jays a 4-2 lead. Joey Bats then struck out, before the inning ended on a Morales groundout into the shift.
In the bottom of the 7th, Biagini came in and started by striking out Grichuk, after Kolten Wong got an infield single, Salty’s shit pitch-framing cost Biagini a strike-out of Jose Martinez, Martinez thanked him by smacking a home-run to right, levelling the scores at 4.
To begin the 8th, Bowman was replaced by Siegrist. Siegrist struck out the two catchers to start the inning, before Darwin singled to center and Goins got an infield single. This meant that Biagini would be removed for a pinch-hitting Smoaky. All Smoaky could do though was fly-out to right (at least he’s not striking out as much), leaving the scores 4-4 heading into the bottom of the 8th.
Joe Smith came in to pitch, and after a quick out to short, conceded an infield single to Jedd Gyorko then a single to Yadier Molina. Despite runners at first and second, Gibby allowed Smith to stay in the game, being vindicated when immediately pinch-hitter Greg ‘OBP’ Garcia grounded to the pitcher for the DP. Note, Greg Garcia’s nickname is supposedly OBP, what a nickname.
The overpaid one, Brett Cecil came in to face his old side for the first time as a Cardinal in the top of the 9th. Starting with a walk of KP, Cecil gave another gift with a terrible pick-off throw that went into right field, this allowed Pillar to advance to third. Steve Pearce than pinch-hit for Zeke, striking out. This left Joey Bats to do what he’s done for the best part of 6 years, bringing home Pillar with an RBI single. With that, Cecil was knocked out of the game and demonstrated too well why he’s overpaid. In came some Cards pitcher named Socolovich, who ended the inning without further damage.
To close out the game, Osuna came out, and started by giving out a lead-off single. A sac-bunt left the tying run at second. The runner than advanced to third on a good play by Darwin at second, fielding a difficult grounder to get the out. This meant the game came down to Dexter Fowler against Osuna. Fowler began with a leadoff double, and sure enough, a well-placed infield hit, just out of the diving Russell Martin levelled the scores. A fly-out would send the game to extras, with a blown save for Osuna.
Socolovich motored through the 10th, with a 1-2-3 inning, while Grilli struck out the side. In the 11th, miracles occurred, the skies opened up, and with an almighty roar, God decreed that Marcus Stroman would get a pinch-hit double off Socolovich. Stroman than scored off some small-ball and an error by Aldemys Diaz at short.
So again, the Jays would be in a position to win, this time giving Ryan Tepera the save opportunity. I think you all know how this starts. A lead-off single was followed by a broken-bat grounder that only got the lead runner. A passed ball by Russell Martin, now catching broke up the DP, putting the tying run at second. Tepera than struck out the next man (by this point I didn’t know who was who), before Pillar made a KP play to end it.
The starting pitchers were both impressive, albeit with each having one weak inning. Both went 6 innings and conceded 2 earned runs, Marco also struck out nine, a season high. Wacha meanwhile struck out six.
Salty’s a fucking shit pitch-framer. I wasn’t really one to believe what the stats said about him, until that Biagini inning. No wonder he only catches for Marco, because Marco is the only one he knows how to catch for at an above-average clip. In general, I’m not one to completely hate on players, I know how hard it is to hit an 85 mph fastball, let alone a 95 mph one, and I struggle to catch average 70 mph pitchers. So, it’s not nothing for me to say Salty should be released, because it’s fucking disgraceful the way he’s played so far in Toronto. But he’s not cut-out to be our back-up catcher, and if a catcher makes me yearn for the days of Dioner Navarro, then you probably shouldn’t be on the roster.
Also, isn’t it funny, if that’s Chris Coghlan, or even Barney at third, the game probably ends, instead the game went to extras. Martin before then had a couple of easy plays at the hot corner, but when it counted, the Jays were found wanting.
I’m not even going to talk about tomorrow’s game, I’m just relieved the Jays won.