After having Monday off, the Jays travelled to Philadelphia to open an eight game road trip, starting with the abysmal Phillies.
Getting the start for the Jays was knuckleballer R.A Dickey, facing off against the recently dominant rookie Aaron Nola. Dickey wasn’t the starter he’s been of late but that doesn’t seem to matter when you have MVP candidate Josh Donaldson in your lineup.
Donaldson smashed two home-runs on the night, netting four RBI before allowing the Jays’ core of relievers to relinquish the Phillies offence and earn the 66th victory of the season.
- The Jays offence wasted no time making Nola feel uncomfortable as Josh Donaldson got the Jays on the board in the first with a solo-home run.
- Ryan Goins managed a two out double in the top of the second but was later stranded with the unfortunate event of having to bat the pitcher Dickey.
- The Phillies joined in on the home-run derby in the home-half of the second with Jeff Francoeur smashing an absolute shot to centre field on an 0-2 count. Dickey managed to shut-down the
impotent Phillies lineup with a pair of pop-ups to finish off the second frame.
- Edwin Encarnacion, Russell Martin and Donaldson did an excellent job working the count in the third drawing walks before recent call-up Ezequiel Carrera squeaked a single up the middle making it 3-1.
- The Phillies would get back on the board in the 3rd as Nola executed a sacrifice bunt perfectly, before Ceasar Hernandez drove him with a single up the middle making it 3-2.
- With the Jays offence stymied by Nola, Dickey continue to battle the Phillies in the 4th inning. He started the inning by walking Odubel Herrera before giving up a single to Francouer to make it first and second. Dickey managed to get a double play ball with Darin Ruf at the plate but wouldn’t stop the Phillies as Cody Asche singled in Francouer to tie it.
- Unfortunately, the Phillies weren’t done as Freddy Galvis trippled to the right-centre gap, taking the lead 4-3, Phillies.
- The triple snapped 20 consecutive starts by Blue Jays pitchers allowing 3 runs or less.
- Starting the 5th Dickey’s struggles continued. His night was over after allowing three consecutive singles to Chase Utley, Hernandez and Herrera. He gave way to Liam Hendriks with the bases loaded.
- The Phillies managed to score one run as the Jays allowed Utley to score when Francouer grounded into a double play. Hendriks followed that double play with a strikeout of Ryan Howard to end the inning and conclude Dickey’s line with 4 plus innings pitched, five ER, nine hits, two strikeouts and one wild pitch.
- Ben Revere led off the 6th inning with a walk before being moved over to second base by a Cliff Pennington attempt at bunting for a single. Chris Colabello, pinch hitting in the Hendriks spot, narrowed the lead to 5-4 with a single up the middle. Troy Tulowitzki followed that with a single of his own before Josh Donaldson (yes again) drilled a 3-0 pitch into the left-field seats for a three-run CLUTCH home run.
- Edwin Encarnacion continued his 15-game hitting streak with a solo-shot of his own to widen the Jays lead to 8-5.
- Brett Cecil came on in relief for the departed Hendriks who went one inning with a strikeout and allowing none of his runs.
- Revere found his way on again in the 7th with a walk against former Jay Adam Loewen who also hit pinch hitter Kevin Pillar.
- Latroy Hawkins came on in relief of Cecil who was pinch hit for in the 7th inning. After allowing a leadoff single to Utley, Hawkins settled in inducing two consecutive fly-outs to Pillar before striking out Dominic Brown.
- Aaron Sanchez, the proverbial set-up man, came in for the 8th inning, tossing a perfect inning before giving way to closer Roberto Osuna. Osuna retired all three hitters in perfect fashion, earning himself a strikeout on the way to his 14th save of the season.
Dickey wasn’t great tonight against a very weak Phillies lineup. With that said, their .263/.303/.421 August slash line is much better than their .252/.302/.378 seasonal line. Still this is what you should expect when Dickey takes to the mound on the road. On the season, his ERA sits at a less than exceptional 4.76 away from the dome compared to 3.31 in the middle of it.
Of Dickey’s 74 pitches, 48 were for strikes so it wasn’t like he couldn’t find the plate tonight. To sum it up, Tuesday night at Citizen’s Bank park wasn’t where Dickey was destined to shine.
Liam Hendriks wasn’t CY Young worthy by any means Tuesday night but did an exceptional job when needed in a high leverage situation. With the game on the line and the bases loaded, Hendriks entered the game starting a double play before making Ryan Howard look downright foolish on a curveball.
The relief core in general did a stand up job as they have in the second half of the season. Cecil, Hawkins, Sanchez and Osuna managed to stave off the Phillies offence and earn the Jays a timely victory.
What more can you say about Josh Donaldson. He started the game by hitting a first pitch fastball out for his 32nd home run of the season only to follow it with another three-run shot, a single and a walk. Sure, he reached on an error in the 8th inning–proving he is in fact human–to make his night 3-for-4 on the night with four RBI. Of the Jays eight hits, Donaldson had three.
Donaldson’s thirty three home runs put him in a tie for third in the league with almost-certain MVP winner Mike Trout. No doubt, if Donaldson continues his clubbing ways, with the Angels falling out of a playoff spot, he just may find himself holding a trophy as the most valuable player.