Buck is Back, he’s returned from holiday, and has come to save us all.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but we need some saving. Estrada hasn’t looked too great, the Jays are in trouble, and the Red Sox are in town.
For the line-up today, we saw Maile replace Russell Martin, as per normal whenever Estrada starts. The order was as follows: Joey Bats, Zeke, Bringer of Rain, Smoaky, Morales, Tulo, Goins, Pillar, Maile. Up against Doug Fister who had a great start last year against the Jays, I hoped that the bats would light up for once.
Estrada laboured through the first, with a tight strikezone complicating matters. He walked Benintendi with one out, who was then caught stealing. Pedroia then walked, before Moreland grounded into the shift to end the inning.
In the interval of the first, Goins went down into the clubhouse with a sore shoulder suffered when athletically tagging out Benintendi, he’d come out for the second though.
The Jays would tag Doug Fister for three in the first. A lead-off single by Joey Bats, where he nearly tried to stretch for extra bases or a Red Sox contract was followed by a one-out walk by Josh Donaldson. Smoaky, batting lefty would then go yard, a three-run shot giving the Jays a 3-0 lead after one.
Estrada would generate back-to-back strikeouts to start the second, a curveball doing away with Hanley Ramirez, before a high fastball against JBJ. A pop-up would make a clean inning. Likewise Fister would pitch a clean inning.
Estrada problems resumed after the brief pause in the second, with three straight walks to the bottom of the lineup and Mookie loading the bases. Luckily Benintendi’s at-bat was garbage, and despite more control issues, Benintendi kept on swinging, eventually popping up to Maile, Maile making a good play to reach the ball. Pedroia then flew out to shallow right, and a strikeout of Moreland left the bases loaded, and Estrada showing his emotion.
Donaldson would double with two-outs, and following an intentional walk to Smoaky, would leave Morales with a chance. Morales would ground into some luck, an infield hit caused by hitting it into the one place in the right side of the infield where the shift didn’t cover. Tulo would be the batter with the bases loaded, all he could do however was ground out to Fister, score somehow still 3-0 after three.
Estrada’s no-hitter would end in the 5th, an infield hit by Betts that left men on first and second. Pedroia would finally break through for the Sox, a two-run one-out double reducing the margin to one and ending the night of Marco. Danny Barnes would come out of the pen for relief.
Joey Bats got the leadoff walk, and Zeke then tried to bunt for a base-hit. He failed but got Jose to second. Near-trouble then ensured on a full count for Donaldson. With Fister about to pitch, Vazquez called for time and it was granted, Fister nearly falling of the mound trying to hold onto the ball. Clearly affected, Fister then walked Donaldson, putting men on first and second with one out for Smoak, aka the same scenario as the first. He’d only fly out, and another groundout by Morales would end the threat.
Things would turn for the worse. A fly-ball from JBJ was lost in the lights by Zeke, a leadoff double. With one out, Devin Marrero would score JBJ with an RBI single. That would tie the scores at three. With two-outs, Benintendi would then get an RBI double off LOOGY Jeff Beliveau to give the Sox a 4-3 lead. Beliveau would eventually work out of the inning, leaving the bases loaded but leaving the Jays down 4-3.
Doug Fister would be removed for the Sox bullpen, Heath Hembree first out. That lead wouldn’t last long, as a lead-off homer by Tulo tied it at four. 4-all it’d remain after six.
Leone would get through the seventh, and the Jays would again threaten in the seventh, with a Smoaky walk leaving men on first and second with one out. However Morales and Tulo would do nothing.
Nothing of note in the eighth, as Osuna came out to pitch the ninth. He pitched around a one-out double by JBJ, leaving the Jays needing just a run to win it in the ninth. It would go to extras though, as Zeke would be left at first.
Loup would pitch for the first time since that meltdown in KC. He wouldn’t allow a hit, but had the bases loaded with two outs. Eventually, it’d come to Moreland against Loup. On a 2-0 count, Moreland hit a soft grounder as Tulo made a good play in the shift to get him and keep the Sox off the board.
We’d do nothing in the 10th, and Loup would give up the leadoff double to Hanley Ramirez to start the 11th. A JBJ single would leave runners on first and third with no outs. Loup stayed in the game and got Vazquez to fly out. Bogaerts would come in to pinch-hit, and his RBI single would give the Sox a lead. Gibby saw enough of Loup, Glenn Sparkman would make his debut in the majors, needing two outs to get out of the jam.
Things turned to shit quickly, with a double steal putting two in scoring position. Sparkman would allow an RBI double to Marrero, it was basically over. Goins would then make an error, dropping a catch over the shoulder while on the run. It would be 7-4 with Kimbrel to save.
So by looking at the stats alone (some of them), Marco wasn’t too bad, he only gave up 2 hits and 2 runs in four and a third, and then you look at the walks, my god the walks. SEVEN walks, it’s a miracle the damage wasn’t much. As for Doug Fister, he recovered to some extent from his first inning troubles, he pitched 5 innings and gave up 3 runs, all earned. That off the back of 4 hits and 3 walks.
Blaine Boyer was credited with the win for the Red Sox, for the Jays Aaron Loup was given the loss.
To conclude, the fact is Sparkman doesn’t have what it takes. Perhaps one appearance is too hasty, but I’ve seen enough. His delivery looks like, and his peripherals were great, but the fact was he was getting hit annoyed me. Perhaps I’ll be wrong, after all I wasn’t a massive fan of a double-A pitcher coming into our bullpen at the expense of Ryan Tepera last year. So let’s hope Glenn Sparkman provides the spark we so desperately need.
Tomorrow will see Chris Sale against Liriano, not enjoying this at the moment.