It really leaves you wondering how on earth the Jays are in this position. The Jays were able to trot out yet another Cy Young candidate in Marco Estrada against Luis Severino and the Yankees. Then you remember the Jays regulars with the injuries, Coghlan at third, Goins at short, Zeke at left, and Maile catching in order to give Russell Martin a much deserved day off.

Before I talk about the game, I should note that I watched the game on YES because I watched this on a live stream in another city in China, and it was the most annoying experience I may have ever had watching a baseball game.

The Jays threatened hard in the first two innings, the first had singles by Pillar and Bautista, but they couldn’t be cashed in. After a 1-2-3 by Estrada, the Jays broke the deadlock, a single by Travis followed up by a home run by Ryan Goins.

Estrada began to get hit in the third inning, stranding runners at first and third to keep the shutout going. They’d score in the fourth though, three straight singles, first by Castro after he’d fouled off about six pitches and faced 10 in total. Ellsbury then bloop singled to center, putting runners on first and second, before Aaron Judge singled to right. A DP limited the damage, but the Jays cut was cut in half, Jays 2-1 up after four.

The Jays fucked up a glorious opportunity to score at least one run in the fifth, a Coghlan single, following by a Pillar walk and sac bunt by Zeke put runners on second and third with one out. The Yankees were willing to give the Jays a run, the infield back, Joey Bats however struck out on a full count. To end the inning, Morales lined out to leave the scores 2-1.

In the sixth, a ground rule double by Devon Travis, following an infield single by Smoak put runners on second and third with no outs, and yes Smoaky did get an infield single, because when you shift, you leave yourself open to things like this. Goins cashed them in, with a sac fly on a 3-0 count that Ellsbury somehow caught, slamming into the wall. That was always going to score Smoaky, however Ellsbury, down on the ground and shaken up, tried to flip the ball to Aaron Judge, but flipped it straight over Judge’s head. This allowed Devon Travis to score from second. In the scorecard, it was scored as a two-run sac fly, giving Goins 4 RBIs for the night. Following that Severino looked angry, or at least pitched that way, firing three straight 100MPH fastballs to Maile. After getting Maile to strike out, Chris Coghlan then homered to right, giving the Jays a 5-1 lead and ending Severino’s night. Luis Cessa would clean up, getting Pillar to ground out to third.

Estrada’s sixth would be just as eventful, following an easy out, Castro again singled, this time to right. The Jays then thought they got the lead runner on a groundout, however the umpires called catcher’s interference on Maile (don’t know what for), putting runners on first and second again with one out, and again with Judge coming to the plate. It may’ve been deja vu, but this time there was a better ending, Judge, then Greg Bird, flying out to end the inning.

The Jays would add two more in the 7th, Zeke led-off with a single. Bautista then smashed a two-run no-doubter for his second home run of the year. Morales then singled to left before Smoaky did Smoaky stuff, grounding into a DP. After that flew out to end the inning. Continuing my stereotype of Americans, the seventh inning stretch featuring a Yankee rendition of God bless America (I’m in China, I know what nationalistic fervour and propaganda when I see it) that left me yearning for the days of Buck and Pat (so yesterday then).

Estrada worked another 1-2-3 inning to get through the 7th and final inning of Estrada’s night. The Jays meanwhile couldn’t get nothing going in the 8th, Cessa clearly pitching out the game at this point. This game was over by this point, even the Jays couldn’t blow a 7-1 right? No, Danny Barnes pitching a 1-2-3 eighth. Barnes struggled to finish off hitters in the 9th, with a single by Ellsbury, following by some long at-bats by Judge and Bird. Barnes though got both of them, at least he did his part of the deal. Darwin Barney, the defensive replacement at third, dropped the pop-up, putting runners on first and second with one out. Barnes stayed in the game, and was able to end the game on two grounders.

A good 7-1 victory for the Jays, a three game winning streak propelling the Jays to the lofty heights of… scratch that we’re still 9-17. Estrada pitched great, pitching seven full innings for the win, conceding one, striking out 5 while scattering 7 hits. Luis Severino though was tagged for the loss, pitching five and two-thirds, conceding 5 runs (all earned), and gave up 8 hits and 2 walks. Despite pitching 100 mph thunderbolts, he was only able to strike out 3, after his last start against the Red Sox, today really was a disappointing outing for Severino.

To conclude, I’d like to talk about my experiences the MLB shop in China. There’s about 80 MLB stores in China, and I decided a couple of weeks back to visit the MLB shop in EC Mall in Beijing, about a 15 minute walk from where I live. My excitement was palpable, then I set foot in the store. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it wasn’t an MLB store, it was a New York Yankees store (on a later blogpost I’ll post pictures of what the store looked like). I’d say 95% of the store consisted of Yankees gear, caps, t-shirts, jackets everything (actually that’s all that was sold there), with a muttering of Red Sox and Buccos gear there. I took about three minutes in there, just looking for other teams, the whole time asked by a pushy sales staff dressed in, you guessed it a Yankees t-shirt.

It was sickening in there, and yet indicative of baseball in China, even though no-one here plays Baseball, I see heaps of people in Baseball merch, all of it being Yankees gear, I guarantee that none of them plays or knows much about the game (this includes two Australians who always wear Yankees caps). This sounds old-fashioned, or stupid, but I’m happy the Jays aren’t part of pop culture, the Yankees may have a lot of money because of entering the pop culture lexicon, but what they don’t have is a massive core of diehards. I’m happy to be a Blue Jay, because at least I know, when I see a person wearing Jays gear, we can talk ball.

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