Game Recap: Blue Jays End Four Game Skid


This one was weird, long and a slugfest. 4 hours, 11 pitchers and 371 pitches were needed by both teams. Coming off 4 straight losses, the Blue Jays needed players to step up, stop the bleeding and get things back on track. They didn’t get a complete team effort from starters, relievers and hitting but they got enough of the latter to eke a win out.

Drew Hutchison had a difficult job knowing that he was being relied upon to go deep and save the bullpen. That pressure seemed to affect him. Early on, he couldn’t seem to shut the Red Sox down. It was partly bad luck. In the 2nd, Xander Bogaerts hit a ground ball single that plated Pablo Sandoval. Mookie Betts then blooped home Bogaerts. Pedroia bounced a single up the middle to score Hanigan.  Ortiz then hit Betts home. All four hits came with 2 outs and all four were squibblers or bloops. The misery of the past few games continued. The Jays dug themselves an early hole. That was very bad news as the Jays have been very poor hole-climbers this season. Down 4-0 in the second is not huge deficit but considering the Jays struggles, tonight it seemed as formidable as the Wall in Game of Thrones.

BUT, like Tormund Giantsbane and his band of wildlings, the Jays scaled the wall and responded in a big way the very next inning (translation for non-George RR Martin readers: they overcame something that seemed unlikely):

Clay Buchholz began his night very effectively, only allowing a hit to Russell Martin but in the 3rd, however, his command eluded him. The Jays put together a walk and two hits to score Kevin Pillar. Josh Donaldson battled Buchholz and slapped home Ryan Goins on the 8th pitch. Jose Bautista hit a sac fly scoring Devon Travis. Edwin Encarnacion smacked a liner to left which scored Josh Donaldson. Martin struck out but Michael Saunders picked him up with a RBI single that sent Buchholz to the showers. It was a surprising collapse by Buchholz.

Given a clean slate, Drew Hutchison was still shaky. He failed to make it out of the 5th inning. Betts scored in the 4th off a sac fly by Ortiz. With the red hot Sandoval at the dish, Hanley Ramirez felt it would be a good time to attempt a steal on Martin. Needless to say, that didn’t work out so well. In the 5th Hutchison loaded the bases and that was it for him. 

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Edward Mujica took over for Buchholz and was effective initially but like Buchholz, fell apart. With two outs, he let up a walk and then a balk and then another walk. Bautista followed with a hit scoring Devon Travis. Mujica committed his second balk of the inning scoring Donaldson. Bautista also advanced on the play and scored when Encarnacion’s single found its way through. In the 5th, with  Anthony Varvaro on the mound, Goins plated Pillar with a triple. In the 6th the Jays loaded the bases with one out but Saunders ground into a double play. Similarly in the 7th the Jays had runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out and came up empty handed. In the 8th, Bautista crushed a ball off of Craig Breslow that managed to stay fair for a home run. Donaldson tacked on a huge insurance run with solo shot to centre in the 9th.

Faced with nearly impossible task of escaping a bases loaded nobody out situation handed to him by Hutchison, Marco Estrada did an admirable job only allowing one run to score. He walked home a run on a 3-2 count. Estrada continued the fine work in the 6th and got the Jays first and only clean inning of the game in the 7th. Loup started things off with two strikeouts but then fell apart—a common theme tonight. Hanley Ramirez hit a two run shot just inside Pesky’s pole. Liam Hendriks had to come into the game to get a quick out. Brett Cecil finished things off with just a smidgen of drama.

Game Notes:

Dalton Pompey got the day off in favour of Danny Valencia’s hot bat (Pompey was a little sore as well).

– Odd stat: Ryan Goins is 7-14 against Buchholz. I guess everyone has someone’s number. It’s just Goins has many fewer people’s numbers than most others.

– I shudder to think where the Jays would be without Devon Travis. He had great ABs all night

– Seeing-eye singles were in abundance tonight for both teams

– Jose Bautista broke part of the Coca-Cola sign in foul territory

– Hutchison allowed a lead off double (all scored) in three innings and didn’t have a strikeout

– Starting pitching remains very sketchy for the Jays

– After Estrada’s strong relief, the Jays may think about insert him in the rotation and moving Sanchez to the pen

“D-“. It was a rough outing. He didn’t make it out of the 5th, let up 6 earned in 4 IP, walked four and gave up 9 hits. The only reason he avoided an F grade was some bad luck early and his being able to grind out a few more innings after the 4 run 2nd inning. If there was such a thing as a F+, I<span class=. . Drew Hutchison. STARTING PITCHING

“B”. Marco entered the game in a tough situation and minimized the damage effectively. He breezed through two more innings of relief only giving up 2 walks and had three strikeouts. Estrada’s did everything he could to minimize the number of pitchers needed to pick up Hutchison’s slack. Estrada gets an A and the team game ball for shutting the BoSox at the most crucial time. Loup struggled, Hendriks had a perfect 1 pitch outing and Cecil finished things up. <span class=. . Marco<b> </b>Estrada. “RELIEVER”

“A”. A bunch of players could have gotten the game ball here but we’ll give it Donaldson for his 3/5 night with 2 rbi, BB and HR. Every batter in the lineup had a hit.. . Josh Donaldson. “OFFENCE”

Next: Is Grant Balfour an Option?