WP: Junichi Tazawa – 1.0IP, 1H
LP: Casey Janssen – 1IP, 2H, 3ER
The Blue Jays fell 11-7 to the Red Sox on Tuesday night, fighting their way back to a 4-4 tie only to be sunk by a massive 11th inning by Boston. The Blue Jays were forced to use six relief pitchers on the night, with Steven Tolleson ending the game on the mound. Although fun to watch, a Tolleson pitching appearance rarely suggests that a game is going well.
Jays starter R.A. Dickey struggled early on, allowing a two-run home run to Dustin Pedroia in the top of the first inning. Following a single and a walk, Dickey then surrendered a hard hit double over the head of CF Kevin Pillar by Will Middlebrooks. Mike Napoli scored on the play to put the Red Sox ahead 3-0, but the inning was ended with a play at the plate as Allen Craig tried to come around from first.
As an ace should, however, Dickey shut the Red Sox down from then on and held the door open for Blue Jays hitters. Lasting six innings while allowing 6H and striking out six, Dickey began to mix his speeds and locations better as the evening wore on.
The Blue Jays offence chipped away consistently through the game, and broke into the run column in the bottom of the third when a Melky Cabrera grounder brought home Munenori Kawasaki, who had advanced to third on a double by Jose Reyes.
Kawasaki continued his hot night in the bottom of the fourth as he drove in Juan Francisco to draw the Blue Jays within a run. Toronto would pull even on another ground-ball RBI, this time from Edwin Encarnacion, in the bottom of the fifth.
Dustin McGowan entered the game in the top of the seventh inning for Dickey, and struggled immediately with his location before allowing Yoenis Cespedis to single in the pesky Brock Holt. McGowan would give way to Brett Cecil after recording just one out, and the lefty notched 2 strikeouts to guide the Blue Jays out of the inning with the 4-3 deficit intact.
After scraping runs together any way they could through the early innings, Jose Bautista reminded Blue Jays fans of their old friend in the bottom of the inning: the home run ball. Bautista knotted the game back at 4-4 with a deep drive to left field and is showing signs of going on a hot streak after being the centre of controversy following his ejection earlier this week. With Edwin Encarnacion making consistently hard contact, signs could perhaps be pointing to a resurgence of the deep fly in Toronto
Aaron Loup took the mound in the 8th and proceeded to shut down the Red Sox. After recording another out in the ninth, Loup handed the baton to Aaron Sanchez, who atoned for last night’s loss by maintaing his composure and keeping the Blue Jays deadlocked at 4-4.
Then, the 11th inning happened. Boston plated seven runs in the inning, with the big blows coming off the bats of Allen Craig and Mike Napoli. Mike Napoli’s home run still has not hit the ground, and Sergio Santos has still not figured out how to pitch. With Casey Janssen (2H, 3ER) and Sergio Santos (3H, 3ER) struggling mightily, the back end of the Blue Jays bullpen is not inspiring any confidence in Toronto.
With Jays fans reaching a breaking point, the players on this roster must realize that these remaining games impact not only the 2014 season, but also the coming years due to the perception it will give Toronto throughout the Major Leagues. Ending strong, even if it does not result in a playoff berth, will, at the very least, work to better entice free agents to the city in 2015.
Until this turns around, Blue Jays fans are left to sit and wonder “why?”. Now at the .500 mark, Toronto continues to fall in uninspiring fashions.
Coming to a theatre near you this October: “The Toronto Blue Jays: How to Lose a Game in 10 Ways”. Critics say it is a four hour movie with a disappointing ending.
MVJ: Munenori Kawasaki! Always able to put a smile on the face of Jays fans, no matter how dark this season gets. Muni went 3-4 with a run, RBI, and HBP. His classic at-bats full of fought-off pitches are a joy to watch. If his passion for baseball and determination to win night in and night out were put inside every Blue Jays player, things could be much different.
Tomorrow’s Probably Starters (7:07ET – Rogers Centre):
TOR: Marcus Stroman (7-5, 4.11ERA)
BOS: Joe Kelly (0-1, 4.09ERA)