WP: R.A. Dickey - 7.0IP, 3H, 1ER, 1BB, 10K
LP: Clay Buchholz - 5.0IP, 7ER, 7H, 4BB, 4K
The Toronto Blue Jays walked all over the Boston Red Sox on Monday night, recording a big 14-1 win. In a critical victory to pull the Blue Jays within 2.5 games of the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East race, they received ace-level pitching from their ace, and rode a well-distributed offensive attack.
Melky Cabrera‘s first of two home runs on the night put the Blue Jays on the board early in the top of the first inning. R.A. Dickey, who has been starved for run support at times this season, brought his “A” knuckleball to Fenway and pitched ahead of batters early on. After being provided with the early lead, Dickey locked the game down and preserved the Blue Jays bullpen for the rest of the series.
R.A. Dickey lasted 7.0IP strong, scattering just 3H and fanning 10 along the way. When Dickey’s knuckleball is “on” like it was in this matchup, the ball hits the bat with a dead contact that produces slow rollers and lazy fly balls. It was a fun day to be a Blue Jays fielder. Rob Rasmussen entered to start the 8th inning and took the Blue Jays home with a strong 2.0IP, surrendering just two hits while striking out three.
The Blue Jays next struck in the top of the fourth inning, following a beautiful sac-bunt by Josh Thole to move the runners to 2nd and 3rd with one out. Ryan Goins singled in both runners on a 3-0 count, benefitting from a well-timed green light from the dugout. Fire Gibby, right?
Everything finally fell apart for the Boston Red Sox in the 6th inning, with the Blue Jays tallying 9 runs. Clay Buchholz struggled with his control all night long and was unable to record the first out of the inning. Felix Doubront entered out of the bullpen and managed only two outs, quickly allowing 6R on 6H and 2BB in an effort that was painful to watch at times. Another RBI single from Ryan Goins was followed by a Jose Reyes sac fly, Melky Cabrera three run HR, Colby Rasmus RBI double, and a 2RBI double from Munenori Kawasaki. To throw salt on the wound, Ryan Goins beat out a double play to extend the lead to 13-0 in his second at-bat of the inning.
Perhaps most encouraging from the Blue Jays offensive explosion was how evenly balanced their attack was. Prior to the game, a bottom four of Munenori Kawasaki, Josh Thole, Ryan Goins, and Anthony Gose appeared to be a resting spot for the starting pitcher, and a feast for lefty relievers later in the game. Sometimes, however, it feels great to be wrong. The four unlikely producers combined to go a staggering 9-16 with 6RBI and 5R. If John Gibbons can receive anything close to this level of production from his bottom half until Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, and Brett Lawrie return, then the Blue Jays will be seeing blue skies ahead.
MVJ: Surpassing the very honourable mentions of Ryan Goins, Munenori Kawasaki, and R.A. Dickey, the Most Valuable Jay of the night goes to Melky Cabrera. With a home run to each field and one from each side of the plate, Cabrera’s 5RBI sparked the Blue Jays lineup as he continues his red-hot play in late July. If Melky Cabrera can continue this production into the return of Edwin Encarnacion, the heart of the Blue Jays order will be very intimidating.
Tomorrow’s Probable Starters:
TOR: Marcus Stroman (6-2, 3.21ERA)
BOS: Rubby De La Rosa (3-3, 3.54ERA)