Blue Jays Game 2 Recap: J.A. Happ looks great in loss

Apr 5, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ (33) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ (33) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles wrapped up their two-game mini series at Camden Yards on Wednesday night in a 3-1 loss. Baltimore got their revenge for the wildcard game by sweeping the Blue Jays to start the season.

Fans were treated to a pitching matchup of J.A. Happ against Dylan Bundy and it was a fantastic pitching display from both starters.

Dylan Bundy set the tone early by striking out the size in the top of the 1st inning and a similar theme went along for the rest of Bundy’s night. Bundy threw 7 sparkling innings only allowing 4 hits, with 8 strikeouts and 1 earned run. The only inning where the Blue Jays threatened against Bundy was the 3rd when Justin Smoak and Kevin Pillar led off with singles. Devon Travis drove in Smoak with the 3rd single in a row off Bundy but that was all.

After Bundy got out of trouble in the 3rd, he cruised the rest of his outing. He effectively hit his spots on the corners with his fastball and dropped his devastating off-speed stuff. Quite simply, Bundy was dominant.

As for the Blue Jays starter, J.A Happ matched Bundy with 7.0 strong innings himself and struck out 9. He did not walk a batter. The only tough stretch for Happ was a 2 run wall-scraping home run by Adam Jones in the 3rd and an opposite field shot by Chris Davis in the 4th. In between those two, Manny Machado hit a ball to deep center that would have gone out if not for the first Superman catch by Kevin Pillar. Aside from those two shots, the Orioles didn’t muster anything against Happ. In fact, they didn’t even have a runner in scoring position all night long. Happ was great.

Out of the bullpen for Baltimore, we saw Brad Brach for the second straight game. Brach allowed 1 base hit, a double to Justin Smoak, but nothing more. For Toronto, we saw a very effective Ryan Tepera who threw a scoreless and baserunner-less inning.

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The only other pitcher we saw for the night was Zach Britton. Britton threw 2.0 innings on Opening Day and the Blue Jays managed to get 4 baserunners against Britton on Monday. Tonight, they got to Britton again but couldn’t deliver the final blow.

Britton started the inning by allowing back-to-back singles from Jose Bautista and Kendrys Morales. Those hits were Bautista’s and Morales’ first base hits of the season. Britton struck out Troy Tulowitzki and then walked Russell Martin to load the bases. Steve Pearce, fresh off a 3 hit game on Monday came up with a chance to win over a bunch of love from Blue Jays fans. After a long battle where Pearce looked very comfortable against Britton, Pearce grounded into a game-ending double play.

Overall, it was two very close ball games that could have gone either way. Monday, they lost on one bad pitch by Jason Grilli. Tonight, they couldn’t get the 1 big hit. The Blue Jays have gotten two good starts from their starters and the bullpen has looked very good. The offense needs to get kick started.

Some interesting tidbits to look at from tonight’s game:

  • Bautista gets his first base hit of the season
  • Morales gets his first hit as a Blue Jay
  • Russell Martin takes hard foul ball off the hand but stays in the game (will be interesting to see how it looks tomorrow)
  • Blue Jays 1-16 with RISP through the first two games of the season (1-10 tonight)
  • The second straight night where they could have used Melvin Upton Jr. 
  • When Ryan Goins pinch ran for Morales or when Darwin Barney was scheduled to pinch hit for Justin Smoak

Next up for the Blue Jays is a 4 game series to the house of horrors that is Tropicana Field. Scheduled to pitch in the series for both sides are:

The only way the Blue Jays return home above .500 is a sweep in Tampa. 3/4 sends them back to Toronto for the Home Opener at 3-3.

Next: Blue Jays MiLB season preview

Everyone must remember, it is only 2 games into the season that could have gone either way. Let’s see what Tropicana Field brings for the Blue Jays this weekend.