#9- The Devastating Double Header
It was April 17th, the Jays were set to play a double header against the Minnesota Twins in a makeup game for the rained out game the day earlier.
Things were looking good for the Jays. Dustin McGowan pitched a respectable four inning spot start, allowing three runs in four innings. Jose Bautista smashed his sixth home-run of the season and the Jays were out to a strong 5-3 lead, a great position to win their third win in as many games.
After a combination of Aaron Loup, Brett Cecil and Neil Wagner held the lead, they handed the ball to Steve Delabar for the 8th inning. Unfortunately, he didn’t last long. He started the inning, walking Josmil Pinto and Chris Herrmann before earning his only out on a Eduardo Nunez sacrifice bunt. Sergio Santos came on in relief and sadly faired no better.
Santos started by walking Trevor Plouffe to load the bases. Then, with Kurt Suzuki at the dish, he delivered a wild pitch allowing Pinto to score. Later in the at-bat, on ball four, Santos threw another wild pitcher allowing Herrmann to score, tying the game. Santos’ nightmare was almost over as he was granted one more batter, walking Brian Dozier and surrendering his final run on yet another wild pitch.
J.A Happ came on in attempt to stop the bleeding but instead walked Joe Mauer and Chris Colabello, scoring Darin Mastroianni from third. The Twins followed this with a two-run Jason Kubel single, cementing the 9-5 lead. In all, the Twins scored six runs on one hit and a disgusting eight walks.
The Jays were unable to surmount a comeback in the ninth as they lost one of the most embarrassing games of baseball in 2014.
The second game of the day faired no better for the Jays. R.A Dickey took to the bump and was ineffective to say the least. The cool, dry air at Target Field may be somewhat responsible for the knuckle-ballers struggles; however, at the end of the night, Dickey was responsible for five runs over four and a third innings pitched and was on the hook for the second loss in the same day as the Jays lost 7-0.
Surely, April 17th wasn’t the sole reason the Jays were on the outside looking in during the 2014 post-season but games similar to the first of that day manifest their inability to bury teams with sufficient leads. A trend certainly linked to the Jays demise in 2014.