Continuing my stretch of always interesting, never boring starting pitchers tonight we got R.A Dickey on the mound in the opening game of this series against the Boston Red Sox...
Wait... I get a John Farrell coached team, too? Is it my birthday?!
The Blue Jays, coming off their series win over the Texas Rangers Sunday afternoon, sat one game back of the division leading Orioles entering play. The Red Sox started the day eight back at 34-43. On the mound for the Sox was Clay Buchholz.
Dickey had been having a pretty strong month of June posting a 3.09 ERA for the month, though he doesn't have much to show for it going 1-2 in that time.
Oh, and before we get to the game, remember how you dislike Chris Colabello in Left Field? Well, Gibby heard you. Today's starting lineup has Cola at First Base... Ryan Goins drew the Left Field assignment.
Because that's what you do with your best defensive infielder, stick him in the outfield.
The top of the first inning went about as you would expect. R.A struck out Mookie Betts, Jose Reyes made a fine play ranging into the hole at short, and then Xander Bogaerts grounded out to end a 10 pitch inning.
Just like they drew it up.
You know you're doing pretty well when batters look like Pablo Sandoval in the 2nd inning:
Pablo Sandoval just swung at a pitch over his head. Interesting strategy, Panda. https://t.co/MUM0WAEHQV— BlueJaysPlus (@BlueJaysPlus) June 29, 2015
Baserunning errors would be the cause of grief for the Jays in the bottom of the second. After a HBP on Russell Martin, Kevin Pillar would lace a double to the left field wall. Coming hard around third Martin didn't seem to pick up the 3rd Base Coach Luis Rivera, who had put up the stop sign. Trying to get back to the bag Martin would be hung up and after a brief chase would be tagged by Sandoval.
The Sox would make the Jays pay for their missed opportunity. After a leadoff walk, a single, and another walk, Bogaerts would drill a ball over the head of Jose Bautista scoring two runs to put the Jays behind 2-0.
With runners on 2nd and 3rd, however, Dickey would get Ortiz, Sandoval, and Napoli to pop up, limiting the damage to just the two runs.
Another missed opportunity for the Jays in the bottom of the inning when after a 10-pitch AB Goins struck out on a hit and run leading to Devon Travis being thrown out at second.
A leadoff triple from Betts would lead to a Brock Holt bloop single to extend the Sox lead to 3-0 in the top of the 5th inning. A nifty double play by Travis would end any rally the Sox hoped to have when on a chopper he tagged Holt on his way to 2nd before throwing to first to get Bogaerts just in time. A risky play, but it worked out.
The Jays would finally crack Buchholz's armour in the 6th. With Travis on 2nd Josh Donaldson doubled down the left field line passed Panda scoring the first Blue Jays run. They looked as if they'd had tied it up when the next batter, Jose Bautista, took a ball high and deep to left-centre field but it wouldn't have the distance and fell at the wall.
A long, booming out... 3-1 Sox headed into the 7th.
And with that, the book was closed on Dickey. The knuckleballer went 6 innings, allowed 3 runs on 6 hits with 3 K's. Not a bad start, but marred with a bad inning where he couldn't get a strike and inexplicably seemed for forget he's a knuckleball pitcher... Still, a pretty solid outing. I'll take 6 innings with 3 ER any day of the week from any pitcher on the team.
Unfortunately, to that point, Buchholz had been much better.
Liam Hendriks would come in, got a great play in foul territory by Donaldson, sliding to make a grab near the wall, and retired the Sox in order throwing just 9 pitches. After retiring the next two hitters in the 8th Gibby would once again go to his bullpen, calling in Brett Cecil to face David Ortiz.
Cecil, though in the midst of a very difficult stretch for him in recent memory, struck Ortiz out on three pitches.
Dioner Navarro would pinch hit for Ryan Goins, much to the delight of BBB fans everywhere, and promptly flew out.
Back to Cecil in the 9th where the Jays former closer would get Panda and Napoli out using just 5 pitches before Alejandro De Aza gave the ball a ride to left just out of the reach of a leaping Ezequiel Carrera going for a triple. It was all just noise in the end as Cecil would strike out Sandy Leon to end what was a very strong appearance from the lefty.
With the top of the order due up for the Jays in the bottom of the 9th the Sox brought in Koji Uehara to try and close it out.
Unfortunately for the Jays the comeback just was not in the cards. Reyes popped up swinging at what certainly appeared to be ball four, Donaldson nearly dropped one into left but had it hang up just long enough for the left fielder to get to, and Bautista popped up to end the game.
3-1 final, Jays lose.
Jays of the Day: No one by the numbers. Honourable mention to Josh Donaldson, though.
Suckage: Jose Reyes (-.120) was the only Jay to hit the dreaded number, but honourable mention goes to Bautista (-091) and Russell Martin (-.092).