I was originally confident heading into today, Estrada against a crappy starter I’ve never heard of, Robinson Cano being a late scratch, and the Jays coming off a series win despite missing half their best possible lineup. In the infield, Coghlan fielded at third, with Devon Travis at second and Goins at short. With Morales out, Steve Pearce was again playing in left field, with Zeke at right and Joey Bats DHing. Also, to top things off for the Jays, Liriano is now on the DL with a sore shoulder, so fuck.
My early confidence dissipated almost immediately, I had a bad feeling from the moment Segura fouled off four pitches. Sure enough Segura bloop doubled (yes bloop doubled) to Pillar in center. After a strikeout, Nelson Cruz hit a two-run shot to deep, deep center on a pitch Estrada just missed. Following another hit, Estrada was able to get out of the inning, with two balls to Steve Pearce, the second catch of which was a terrific catch that may’ve saved a run, leaving the margin 2-0 heading into the bottom of the first. (just like last night)
Segura made an error off Pillars tricky, hard-hit grounder. Zeke followed up with a single to left, putting runners on first and third. On a 3-0 count, Joey Bats got the green light, he smashed it right to Kyle Seager, who was unlucky to not double off Zeke, Danny Valencia still being a shit fielder unable to catch the ball at first base to turn two. Smoaky then delivered, scoring Pillar with an RBI single to center. A DP ended the inning, but the Jays were at least able to claw back the deficit to 2-1.
Estrada had a 1-2-3 second, while the Jays again got people on base, with a 1-out infield single for Devon Travis but couldn’t cash anything in. In the third, Segura again began with a leadoff double, this time standing up. Unlike last time though, Estrada was able to pitch around it, keeping the score at 2-1. De Jong had a 1-2-3 inning to get though the third, although Joey Bats nearly hit a home run, caught at the edge of the warning track.
Both pitchers cruised through the fourth, Estrada then crusied through the early part of the fifth, before a two-out walk to Ben Gamel complicated things. Estrada then pitched to Nelson Cruz, something you never want to do, Pillar however made a running catch to prevent any damage.
Damage though would be inflicted, vengeance striking the Mariners for their decision to claim my hero Casey Lawrence off waivers. This came out of nowhere as well, a 5-run fifth pretty much bringing the Blue Jays home. After a couple of cheap outs from the bottom of the lineup in Coghlan and Maile, Pillar walked. This set off an avalanche, Zeke singled and Joey Bats walked to load the bases. Bless his heart, Smoaky again got an RBI single, this time scoring two and giving the Jays the lead. Next up was Steve Pearce, and he cleared the bases, a 3-run shot to left giving the Jays an unassailable 6-2 lead.
The way I’m writing this, you can guess how this ended, Estrada pitched six, before the pen finally cleaned up, three scoreless innings giving the Jays a 7-2 lead, with an insurance run added on in the seventh on a home run by Smoaky. Grilli though did have a nervous eighth, a bunch of line drives resulting in Cruz doubling, Valencia singling and an out, but he got out of the inning stranding people on base. Point is, we won 7-2.
To conclude, I’d like to bring up both Casey Lawrence and Danny Valencia. Admittedly heading into today’s game, the plan was to talk about Danny Valencia and how wrong I was about him, however Casey needs to be brought up, and fast. I’m talked extensively about why I love Casey, and his story, but this came as a surprise to me. The Mariners may be out of pitching depth, but why take Casey, I guess whatever works for them.
As for Danny Valencia, when he was DFA’d, I thought the world was closing in. I had no idea why he was DFA, he wasn’t hitting terribly, they could’ve chosen others who had options to go down to Triple A instead, the move just made no sense. I thought that this was a short-sighted move that would come back to bite the Jays hard. As it turned down, it worked perfectly, we made the ALCS, and Danny wandered in the purgatory of former Jays that is Oakland. Now he’s in Seattle, and playing first base, how things change.
So, with the win, we move another game closer to the Yankees, Estrada pitched 6 innings, five of which were very strong, he gave up 2 earned runs, allowing 4 hits and 3 walks. Tomorrow is a normal start, I think with Biagini pitching against some Seattle guy, I don’t know, I’m at work posting this. GO JAYS