This is not a good idea. Let’s be clear about this, Joey Bats was a third basemen, and he has fielded at third before, even this season. But he is not currently a third basemen, Coghlan is playing left field tonight, and all I have to say is that the best case scenario is that neither makes a mistake and makes the simple plays. The worst case, well I don’t want to think about the worst case.
The line-up is still sans Tulo and Donaldson. Coghlan was in left field, with Zeke in right and Pillar in center. As for the infield, Joey Bats was at third, with Goins at short, Travis at second base, and Morales playing field with the absence of the DH in the National League. Joe Biagini was up against Jimmy Nelson of the Brewers, both pitchers in form (ignoring the first inning of that Braves game).
Pillar began with a lead-off single to center, before a FC left a runner on first with Zeke. Joey Bats jumped on the first pitch, a single down the third base line off a fastball. Runners on first and second for Kendrys Morales (or Jose Morales if you ask Buck). Morales would ground into a double play to allow the Brewers to escape the field.
Going just off Biagini’s first batter, he looked in, mixing the curve, fastball and getting the strikeout on his changeup. A mix-up between Goins and Travis on a roller between the two allowed Thames to reach on a single. Neither of them claimed ownership of the ball, and it simply went between the two and rolled into center field. Following that, Ryan Braun would ground into a FC before Biagini struck out another to end the inning, this time with a curve.
Two straight singles to start the second by Travis and Martin put runners on first and third. Coghlan would then be walked, leaving the bases loaded with Ryan Goins heading to the plate. Goins would deliver, an RBI single just over the outstretched glove of Orlando Arcia at short giving the Jays a 1-0 lead. The issue was that Biagini was coming to the plate. He had to swing with the bases-loaded, or at least hope for a walk. Biagini got lucky, he hit the ball so poorly while getting jammed on a fastball that he was able to beat the DP. Runner on first and third, one out, and an RBI for Biagini giving the Jays a 2-0 lead. That was the first career RBI for Joe Biagini. Pillar would then groundout, with Coghlan caught in a rundown at third. To end the inning, Zeke struck out, leaving the score at 2-0.
After a lead-off walk, a line-out to Goins would leave a runner on first. The next at-bat ended the inning on a DP, Joey Bats making a good play at third to start the DP. The Jays would do nothing in the third, Jimmy Nelson going 1-2-3. Joe would then go 1-2-3 in the bottom of the third, score still 2-0. Nelson would also cruise in the top of the fourth, a leadoff double pitched around with no damage, Biagini grounding out to end that inning.
After Thames flew out to left, Braun would reach on a walk, Biagini would then strike out Travis Shaw before a groundout to Jose at third would end the inning. In the top of the fifth, a two out single by Joey Bats was followed by a shot to dead center by Morales, the homer giving the Jays a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.
The Brewers began the inning back-to-back singles, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Another single scored a run, and a pinch-hitter in Jesus Aguilar would come in Jimmy Nelson. Joe Biagini’s Dad was in the stands tonight, and he looked on the verge of mental collapse as Joe began to get hit. Meanwhile the pen got up and prepared to warm up. Back to the play, Aguilar would hit a slow roller that would advance the runners to second and third with one out. Another single, this time by Jonathon Villar would make it a one run game.
Still in the bottom of the fifth, Villar would steal second to eliminate the double play threat. After walking Eric Thames, Biagini would be pulled for Danny Barnes. The Brewers would successfully pull a double steal, eliminating the double play ball. At this stage I thought we were fucked, especially with Ryan Braun at the plate, but Barnes would strike out Braun with a high heater. He would then strike out Shaw with another high heater, keeping the Jays ahead 4-3 after five.
A lead-off hit by pitch was negated by a DP, Coghlan grounding out to Thames to start it. Goins would then groundout to Villar to end the inning. Danny Barnes would pitch, and cruise through the bottom of the sixth, going through 1-2-3 thanks in part to a good play by Joey Bats at third.
AA would pinch-hit for Danny Barnes to start the seventh, and he nearly went deep, the ball coming off the top of the center-field wall, despite that, AA still had a leadoff double and his first career major league hit. AA would advance to third on a groundout by Pillar before a pop-up by Zeke brought Joey Bats to the plate with two outs and a man on third. Jose would walk, bringing Kendrys Morales to the plate. All Morales could do however was fly-out to shallow left, keeping the score at 4-3.
Ryan Tepera would pitch the bottom of the seventh, and would give up a two-out walk to Villar. Villar would then steal second, just beating a great throw by Martin. Tepera would then hit Thames on a 2-2 count, bringing Ryan Braun to the plate with the score still 4-3 Jays. The Jays would come through, Braun only flying out to Alford in right to end the inning. Note Alford came on the field for Zeke in right field.
The Jays would be retired by Neftali Feliz in order in the eighth. Joe Smith would pitch the eighth for the Jays and began by striking out Travis Shaw, who at that point was 0-4 with 4 strikeouts. He would go three-up-three-down, continuing by striking out Santana and getting a groundout to end the inning.
Feliz continued to start the ninth, Goins would fly out to leadoff, before AA struck out and Pillar struck out swinging to end the inning.
Osuna would come out for the save opportunity, with Smoaky in as a defensive replacement. The first out came on a groundout to Goins, while the second out would come to a hard-hit lineout to Pillar. The Brewers would obviously pinch-hit for the pitcher, with Eric Sogard coming in, he’d walk on a full count, bringing Jonathon Villar to the plate in a one-run game. From a 2-0 count, Osuna would go on to strike out Villar, giving the Jays a 4-3 victory.
Both pitchers had shaky outings, or more specifically shaky innings. Joe was terrific up to the fifth, and even then, the pitches that went for hits weren’t bad. Joe went four and a third inning, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out three. As for Jimmy Nelson, he only lasted five innings, giving up four runs off eight hits and a walk, he also struck out three.
To conclude today, I’d like to talk about the forearms, or just the size of Eric Thames. I never watched Barry Bonds play, but Eric Thames is the biggest baseballer I’ve ever seen. He looks like a bodybuilder on TV, who just happens to play baseball and can steal bases. This is technically the same person that the Jays drafted years ago, but it isn’t the same man, this guy is huge, and he’s nearly produced the value of his contract already.
With the win the Jays are now 3-3 on the road trip, and with an overall record of 20-26, tomorrow afternoon (US central time) will see Stro Show up against Matt Garza.