Another Day, Another Loss
I honestly thought there was an off day today, I slept in til 8.30, and just instinctively checked ESPN around 9, just wanting to see the NFL Draft. Turned out the score was 1-0 in the bottom of the 5th, WTF. This annoyed me for two reasons, first of all I was hungry as fuck, and secondly, I’d actually checked twice yesterday seeing if there was an off day, and all signs said there was, I couldn’t find the Blue Jays games, ESPN said the Jays had no game tomorrow, so I thought ok, there’s no game tomorrow, I was wrong.
There was only one surprise in the line-up today, and that was Luke Maile catching, so what did that mean, Salty’s Strikeout Watch was over before it even began. I’d say that’s a pity but I’m secretly rapt that I don’t have to watch anymore of Salty’s at-bats. Lefty Blake Snell was pitching for the Rays, that meant Steve Pearce playing in left and Darwin at third instead of Chris Coghlan.
So, the first thing I saw was a Kevin Pillar double off the wall in left. Darwin was then clearly told to bunt, because why not let a guy hit with a runner on second with no outs. On strike out, Darwin then lined a ball past the first base line to right, scoring Pillar with a single. Joey Bats then bunted for some reason, attempted arguably the worst bunt ever (to the point where I’m unsure if that was a bunt). Thankfully, he fucked up the bunt for a foul, allowing Joey Bats to get a base hit against the shift, hitting it into the gap exactly where the second baseman would’ve been. Instead of the DP that normally would be, runners were on first and third with no outs. Another run came into when Morales grounded into a DP. To end the inning Smoaky grounded into the shift, regardless the Jays were up 2-1 after five.
Stroman started the sixth with a strikeout, with the news that that was Stroman’s ninth strikeout astounding me. Stroman went three up three down to close out the inning. Snell didn’t come out to pitch the bottom of the 6th, meaning his night ended with five innings pitched, having given up two earned runs, 6 hits and 3 walks, while striking out three.
Austin Pruitt pitched the bottom of the 6th, after Zeke (pinch-hitting for Steve Pearce) grounded out to third, Devon Travis hit a double over the head of Steven Souza Jr, playing shallow in right. Travis though would be stranded, the Rays getting out of the inning unscathed.
Stroman came out for the seventh, and began with a weird out, the batter Beckham not running thinking the ball was foul, and Barney keeping it in-play. After a fly-out, a deep fly-out ensured a 6-pitch inning for Stroman.
Pillar led-off the 7th with a solo shot that stayed fair by about a foot, a line drive off a hanging breaking ball giving the Jays a 3-1 lead.
Corey Dickenson hit a solo shot to left-center to lead-off the 8th, Stroman though stayed in the game to get Kiermaier with a strike-out. Stroman’s night would end with him in line for the win, having pitched 7 and a third, conceded two earned runs, and giving up 5 hits and 2 walks. Most promisingly, at least in Stroman’s quest for the Cy Young was his 10 strikeouts.
Grilli came out to finish the 8th, he started by levelling the scores, Longoria hitting a solo shot straight to center. Brad Miller than walked on a full count, on another full count to Souza Jr, Grilli struck him out looking. That would end Grilli’s night, with Dominic Leone coming in to hopefully get out of the inning without further damage. You can guess what happened, Leone conceded a home run, Logan Morrison belting it about 450 feet. It was smoked, absolutely smoked. Beckham than tripled off the wall in right, leading the crowd to start booing and leaving me dumbfounded, yet again. Mercifully, the inning was ended with a pop-out. Out of nowhere, the Rays had a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom of the 8th.
Pruitt again came out to pitch, with Smoaky beginning the bottom of the 8th with a ground-out, again into the shift. Zeke then followed by reaching on an infield hit, which was helped by Beckham slipping over after a real tough hop meant he had to throw from a bloody unnatural position. Zeke advanced to second on a soft groundout by Devon Travis. So it would come down to Luke Maile, his first pitch said it all, Mailes bat went flying backwards to the back-stop on a swing and miss. Maile though reached on a miracle, with a Beckham error (this time definitely an error), putting runners on first and third. Goins though lined out to left field to end the inning, leaving the Jays down two after eight.
Leading off the 9th, Derek Norris made it 6-3, then Corey Dickinson doubled (giving the Rays their 6th hit for extra bases since the start of the 8th), Gibby had seen enough, going with JP Howell. The way this game has gone, the error committed by Devon Travis, the second of the night as it turned out, was just fate. Maile then committed a passed ball, making it 7-3 as Dickinson came home. A DP ended the inning at 7-3.
The crowd went nuts to start the 9th, not because of a home run, or even an at-bat, the Sportsnet feed just turned on and the crowd was cheering, just thought that it should be brought up. Jumbo Diaz came out to pitch the ninth, with Pillar needing a triple for the cycle. He only doubled, but he should’ve gone for three, he probably wouldn’t have made it, but with the game over, I would’ve loved to see him try.
Coghlan got a base hit to leave runners on first and third, a sac fly by Joey Bats made it 7-4. The Rays weren’t taking any chances, replacing Jumbo Diaz with another Rays pitcher. Morales popped up while Coghlan moved to second then third on defensive indifference. Smoaky struck out to end the game, and having wasted another awesome start by Marcus Stroman, lost 7-4.
To conclude, I’d like to bring up some trivia, the only team to ever make the postseason after being 10 games under .500 in April was the 1951 New York Giants, they won the pennant, so there’s still a chance. Also, I’d like to say how impressed I was with Luke Maile today, he was getting the borderline calls in a way Salty couldn’t, and even if he couldn’t/can’t hit, as long as his defence stays average, I have no problems with him being the backup catcher for the season.