The Blue Jays Wild Card hopes are slowly becoming nonexistent with each and every loss, although it's still a helluva fun ride. Marcus Stroman wasn't as sharp as he was the last time out on the mound against Chicago and the offence wasn't able to pick him up, although it wasn't from lack of chances. With the loss the Blue Jays record falls to 77-72 and lowers their highest win possible win total on the season to 90 if they run the table.
The scoring got started in the first inning when Edwin Encarnacion drove home Jose Reyes to put the Jays on the board. Unfortunately the Orioles swung right back in the bottom half when an Adam Jones single scored Nick Markakis, followed by a Nelson Cruz double play that plated Alejandro De Aza. Nothing happened after that until the bottom of the third, which is good considering I was on a soccer field not watching this game.
Anyway, Nelson Cruz ended up hitting a single that scored Adam Jones who was at second base thanks to a Marcus Stroman wild pitch. In the next inning (that's the fourth if I've lost you) Ryan Flaherty hit a two run homer off a Stroman curveball that brought in Mr. AL East Kelly Johnson. This made the score 5-1 for the division-leading Orioles, who are on the verge of clinching the AL East. The videos on MLB.com are being weird right now so you'll have to click the links to watch the highlights.
Things got weird in the fifth inning, although they could have been weird before that but I wasn't home yet you see so I have no idea. With Jose Reyes on second base after being called safe on the first half of a double play attempt, Danny Valencia singled him home. The Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph decided to block the plate with his left foot like the good ole days when that was legal, which resulted in Reyes getting his hand spiked. Reyes didn't enjoy this and decided to get a little angry which didn't appear to be a big deal at the time.
Fast forward to the bottom of the sixth when Caleb Joseph came up for his first at-bat since the spiking incident. If you don't feel like watching the video, Stroman throws behind Joseph's head and doesn't exactly look sorry about it leading to the benches being warned.
I'm sure everyone will have a different opinion on this, but it seems just a little (a lot) stupid. There's literally nothing to be gained from throwing at Joseph's head, especially after what happened to Giancarlo Stanton just a few days ago. Stroman also jawed with the Orioles dugout and manager Buck Showalter as he was walking off the field after striking out the side. I guess it can be chalked up to a rookie trying to show he has his teammate's back, but Stroman came out looking like a child that wanted an excuse to throw behind someone.
Stroman says pitch over Joseph slipped from hand. Showalter calls it "borderline professionally embarrassing." (h/t @danconnollysun)— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) September 16, 2014
Nothing much of note happened in the ensuing innings other than both teams standing on the dugout rails ready to run on the field at the next poorly thrown pitch. Reliever Dustin McGowan threw 17 pitches in the seventh and eighth innings with 11 of them being fastballs and six of them being changeups, which could be a sign that his slider is slowly being shelved in favour of the changeup.
The top of the ninth almost produced a rally for the Blue Jays when Danny Valencia came to the plate with runners on the corners and two outs against Baltimore lefty closer Zach Britton. Unfortunately, a hard hit ball went straight to third baseman Ryan Flaherty ending the game and reducing the odds of the Blue Jays making the postseason even further.
Stroman's final line was an unimpressive 6.0 IP with five earned runs allowed on nine hits and only three strikeouts. Aaron Loup and Dustin McGowan both pitched well in relief keeping the game close in the later innings. On the other side Wei-Yin Chen went 5.2 innings also allowing nine hits, but only two earned runs which might be a microcosm of what Nick wrote about a little while back.
Noteworthy performances on the hitting side included:
- Jose Reyes going 3-5, as well as being a terror on the bases.
- Edwin Encarnacion going 2-5, although he also left three men on base.
- Steve Tolleson going 2-3 before being pinch hit for by Adam Lind. Tolleson was also hit by an errant Munenori Kawasaki foul ball late in the game which was a scary moment. Thankfully he seemed to be okay after a little while and stayed in the dugout for the remainder of the contest.
Tolleson's right wrist wrapped in ice after game from Kawasaki foul liner. He's day-to-day.— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) September 16, 2014
The title of tonight's post comes from the great song of the same name by Bombay Bicycle Club. Tomorrow sees Drew Hutchison take his recent fine form to the mound against Ubaldo Jimenez at 7:05 from Camden Yards. See ya then!