After yesterday’s debacle, let’s start the detailed description from the 6th onwards (when the bullpen came in).
The line-up for today was dictated by the fact that the Jays were playing against a righty in Matt Andriese (it’s so difficult not to write Mario). So Devon Travis had the day off, as Coghlan came into the line-up at third, with Barney shifting over to second. Zeke started in left.
The Jays struck early in the first, Bautista scoring off a throwing error by Beckham that scored him from second. The Rays followed that with one of their own, a single scoring Beckham and levelling it at one. A DP to end that inning though stranded a runner at third. The Jays took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 4th, with an RBI double by Russell Martin scoring Smoaky.
Basically, the Jays were up 2-1 heading into the 6th, with five ‘good’ innings by Liriano. A lead-off walk then an error by Chris Coghlan left runners on first and second without an out. So off came Liriano, who in all fairness had nearly 100 pitches and had control issues all day. Joe Biagini as per normal came in for mop-up work, and he did his job. Stranding the pair after a third-strike bunt by Beckham (who really had a shit game), a Brad Miller strike out and a Logan Morrison ground-out.
In the bottom of the 6th, Joey Bats led off with a walk, then stole second, I must admit I don’t how, my connection went off in between the walk, and Bautista advancing to third on a Morales soft groundout to third. Smoaky was having an awesome night, after a couple of hits in the bag, he added a couple of RBI to his stats as he cashed in Joey Bats with a two-run homer to straight-away center, Smoak’s 4th home run of the season making it 4-1. Martin grounded out and Coghlan struck out to end the inning, but the Jays went into crunch time up 4-1.
Biagini came up to pitch the 7th, perhaps because the rest of the bullpen has been trash this season. After getting a groundout, he got Steven Souza Jr (not out, he hit him, probably breaking his hand with his running fastball). Souza was replaced by Shane Peterson (he played yesterday, but I haven’t heard of him either). Following that, Kiermaier hit a jammer to Goins (leaving Kiermaier’s hands ringing as well) proving that Joe Biagini really doesn’t like the Rays outfielders. Biagini got a grounder to end the inning.
Andriese had a quick 7th, Barney struck out, Goins had a hard-hit ball tracked down by Kiermaier, and Pillar grounded out to Longoria at third. Joe Smith relieved Biagini and started with a strike-out, with Derek Norris ruled to have gone around on an off-plate slider. Dickinson then got a single, grounding a ball through a gap between first and second. Beckham then struck out looking, rather harshly but Martin’s pitch framing got the call. The umpires then evened up the scores, with Smith walking Miller despite having a perfectly good strike three. To top everything off, Zeke then dropped the ball in foul territory to end the inning off Logan Morrison. In an act of mercy, Morrison didn’t take advantage of it, instead flying out to Pillar in deep right-center to end the inning.
The bullpen entered for the Rays in the 8th, and gave up a lead-off single to left field, Zeke continuing his hit streak to nine games. A DP though erased that, and Morales grounded out to end the inning. This meant Osuna would come on for the save opportunity. He’s been 1-3 this season, blowing a one run lead, and a two run lead, could he do it again?
Osuna started with two balls smoked off the bat, luckily for him and the Jays, both went straight to Bautista in right. To end the game, Kiermaier hit one hard straight to Smoak. So he got the save with a scoreless inning, but it wasn’t necessarily a good inning.
The starting pitchers both had decent nights, Liriano went five innings giving up one earned run. He had control issues all night, giving up 4 walks but he only gave up 4 hits, so he saved himself there. Liriano also struck out six. Andriese meanwhile pitched seven innings, giving up 4 runs (3 earned), he gave up 5 hits (including the Smoaky HR) and 3 walks while striking out four.
To conclude, I’d like to talk about something I briefly mentioned yesterday, and that was the Blue Jays Cy Young prospects. Obviously wins have been hard to come by, but Stroman and Estrada (at least the ones not on the DL) have both pitched really well. At the moment Stroman and Estrada have proven to be more than just dependable. Stroman has already pitched two complete games (which will probably lead the majors come the end of the season), has struck-out plenty, has a good ERA and his OPS is 3.000. As for Estrada, his strikeout percentage is up on last season, and although he doesn’t have a win, his ERA is under 3. Seeing the Jays are in the AL, I see no reason why these two can’t fight it out for the Cy Young.