The Blue Jays wasted yet another gem from their starting rotation, in another strong start from Marcus Stroman, who struck out 10 over 7.1 innings.
The Blue Jays just can’t seem to put everything together in the same game lately, and that theme continued on Friday night, despite another strong performance from Marcus Stroman. The 25 year old right-hander threw 7.1 innings, striking out 10 and giving up 2 earned runs to the Rays.
The Blue Jays were in control for the majority of the game, but immediately lost the lead once Stroman was removed. What was a 3-1 lead quickly became a 5-3 deficit by the time the eighth inning was over, and the Rays never looked back.
Stroman was excellent on the night once again, giving up just 5 hits and reaching a double digit strikeout total for just the second time in his young career. He’s been arguably the best pitcher on the staff to open the season, and has parlayed his strong performance in the World Baseball Classic into ace level performance in the MLB regular season. Unfortunately, the bullpen wasn’t able to hold the lead for him on this evening.
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After Stroman allowed a solo shot to Corey Dickerson in the eighth, he was relieved by Jason Grilli, who promptly allowed a home run to Evan Longoria to tie the game. He then walked Brad Miller and was removed in favour of Dominic Leone after striking out Steven Souza. Leone would fare no better, allowing a 2 run blast to Logan Morrison to bring the score to 5-3, and then allowed another solo shot to Derek Norris in the 9th as well before his day was done. J.P. Howell uncorked a wild pitch in the ninth inning as well, which brought the score to 7-3.
On the plus side for the Blue Jays, Kevin Pillar continued his torrid hitting, reaching base 5 times and collecting a single, 2 doubles and a home run, in addition to a walk. He’s now hitting .322 on the season and continues to flourish since the move to the lead off spot.
Darwin Barney also hit the ball well on evening, collecting 2 hits and a RBI. Jose Bautista also collected an RBI on a sacrifice fly, but other than that, there wasn’t a whole lot to bring a smile to the faces of Blue Jays fans on Friday night.
Steven Souza was a human highlight reel for the Rays as well, making 3 outstanding catches in right field, and nearly making a 4th as well, nearly robbing Darwin Barney for a second time.