Another game on the road trip, and another start for the Jays against a substandard Rangers rotation. What a time for the Jays to change things up, and in what a manner.
Unlike my previous nights talking smack about how the lineup never changes, today saw several major changes. Firstly, Pillar had the night off, and was replaced by Dwight Smith Jr in center. Tulo would replaced by Goins, with Barney playing second. Russell Martin would also have his traditional night-off, with Maile catching. There would also a changeup in the lineup order, with Smoaky moving in front of Morales in the lineup, Shades of 2015 Colabello there. As well as that Joey Bats leading off just for tonight, with Donaldson batting third behind Smith Jr.
Joey Bats was the lead-off and would walk, bringing Smith Jr to the plate, during the AB, Joey Bats would advance to second on a Tyson Ross throwing error. Dwight Smith Jr would advance the runner to third through a ground-out to the first baseman, putting Joey Bats at third with only one out. Smoaky would be clutch, hitting a single to score Bautista. Morales would then single to put runners on first and third for Steve Pearce. Steve Pearce continued his great run here, with a double to score Smoaky. That brought Ryan Goins to the plate, so I expected the inning to be over there.
Again I was wrong, as Goins belted the ball, a ringing double to the wall scoring two, and making it 4-0. A hidden fact, Goins is one of the league’s leaders in average with RISP, crazy isn’t it. So the bases-clearing double meant Barney couldn’t strand too many at the plate. Barney would get to 3-0, with a wild pitch also allowing Goins to get to third, Tyson Ross was wild. On a full count, Barney would truly clear the bases, with a two-run homer to left field. Holy cow, we were 6-0 up. Maile’s line-out to end the inning was meaningless, 6-0 up, even Biagini couldn’t blow this.
Biagini began with a lead-off walk on 8 pitches, after getting ahead 0-2. Barney had to make a good play just to get Andrus, a runner on second with one out. Another grounder meant the Rangers were in the same scenario as the Jays in the first. Runner on third, two outs. Beltre would line-out, stranding the runner at third, and giving Joe a better stat-line then last start.
Tyson Ross actually came out to pitch the second, with Joey Bats again leading off. No déjà vu this time, Ross going 1-2-3, making a good play to get Donaldson to end the inning. Same for Biagini, scoreless dig.
Smoaky was seeing the ball like a beach ball, another double to leadoff the third. After a fly-out by Morales, Pearce would single through the shift, putting runners on the corners with one out. Ryan Goins would get another RBI, this time through a groundout to Odor at second. 7-0 Jays. Barney would groundout to end the inning, Napoli with a good pick of Gallo’s throw to get the runner and end the inning.
Joey Gallo would double to leadoff the third, with one out, Biagini’s troubles returned, with Shin Soo Choo homering to right center. Donaldson made a good backhand play to get Andrus, for the second out before with a runner on first Beltre would ground out to Goins to end the inning.
Tyson Ross was yanked for some AAA Rangers long-man. Smith Jr would get a two-out single, and a walk would bring Smoaky to the plate with another RISP. This time no runs, a fly-out to shallow left leaving the scores 7-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth. Biagini then had a clean fourth.
Steve Pearce one-out singled on an attempted quick-pitch in the fifth, justice in my eyes. Although adding onto that, Goins grounded into a DP to end said inning.
Things would turn bad quickly to start the bottom of the inning, Joey Gallo would hit a home run, but not in a conventional manner. Steve Pearce tried to make a play on a deep fly ball, and would go right into the railing to the bullpen in left field. Pearce was down, trying to limp to the ball that bounced into left field. Joey Gallo meanwhile kept on running, an inside the parker, for a rather slow runner an amazing feat. Pearce would stay in the game despite common sense, Gibby was determined to give Pillar a day off.
Continuing the inning, Dwight Smith Jr would make a good play in center to get DeShields, before Choo had a smart bunt single. Andrus would then single to Pearce, runners on first and second with one out. Biagini though would strike out Mazara, before Beltre grounded out to end the inning, Barney playing a play at second with a ball hit down the middle.
The Jays were retired in order in the sixth. Pillar would eventually come in to field in the sixth, with Biagini coming out for another inning.
Biagini would also retire the first two in the sixth, however a single to Napoli was it. Gibby had Loup ready to face the lefty Gallo, and Biagini was out. Loup did what he normally does in high-leverage situations, allowing a double to Gallo, leaving runners on second and third for Danny Barnes to mop up. Barnes couldn’t mop up, a single scoring two. On the same play, DeShields looked like he was tagged out by Smoak after rounding first, however the challenge by the Rangers overturned the out verdict, keeping the inning alive.
The Jays would finally get out of the inning with a strikeout of Choo, the damage though was done, 7-5 Jays after six.
Dario Alvarez came in for the long-man in the seventh to pitch for the Rangers, he’d go 1-2-3. Barnes had a cleaner seventh, also going 1-2-3.
Morales was out to begin the 8th, trying to leg out a double, I swear he is the slowest guy I’ve ever seen on a baseball field. It’d be even worse, as Pillar would follow with a single, Alvarez was then called for a balk. After Goins flew out, Pillar would steal third with a great jump, that was off the first pitch of the Barney at-bat. Barney would end up walking on a full count, and that would also end the night of Alvarez. Maile though couldn’t cash them in, lining out to Joey Gallo at third.
Tepera swept through the 8th, keeping the two run lead.
Joey Bats walked to leadoff the 9th, but three quick outs put a dampener on things, so that meant Osuna coming on for his second save attempt in three nights.
Gallo would be retired for the first time to leadoff, before Osuna got DeShields to fan on a slider. A walk brought the tying run to the plate but a groundout to Donaldson by Andrus ended things, Jays win 7-5.
Biagini would pitch five and two-thirds, giving up four runs all earned, off of 7 hits and a walk, he struck out five. Tyson Ross, well what can we say about that, three innings, giving up seven runs off of seven hits and a walk, striking out only two.
To conclude, I’d like to bring up the fact that the Ranger seemed to be quick-pitching the Jays today. Called strike threes on Donaldson and Joey Bats were both quick-pitches that the umpire had no issue with. Sometimes I wonder, does the league have an issue with the Jays?
Also, this new lineup seems permanent, I don’t know what exactly the order will be, but I’m sure Joey Bats is now leading off, and Pillar won’t be, and that Martin will bat second with the Bringer of Rain third. The exact order will be known tomorrow I guess when everyone is back.
Tomorrow Stroman will pitch against Martin Perez, with an early afternoon start tomorrow and another chance at reaching .500 and to take out the series.