Strategy! Excitement! Fundamentals! Anger! Denial! Stinging hands! Lust! Bunting foul for strike 3! Pestilence! Jimmy Carter on the kiss cam!: IT'S NATIONAL LEAGUE BASEBALL!!
Marco Estrada's changeup and three homeruns from Edwin Encarnacion, Clifford "Heathcliffe" Pennington, and Josh Donaldson was more than enough for the Jays to put away the Braves in a game that was never really in doubt.
Ben Revere took a 5 pitch walk to lead off the game, and was promptly balked on over to 2nd base. His speed is so deadly that he can advance without even recording a steal. Unfortunately he would be stuck there, as Donaldson, who would be fed a steady diet of sliders on his way to almost having a very bad night, struck out with the count full, Jose Bautista popped out to foul ground, and Edwin gave a Matt Wisler 2-2 fastball a ride to deep right-centre field that was just caught by Nick Markakis in full stride. Estrada began the game strong, retiring Markakis, Hector Olivera, and Freddy Freeman in order, with Freeman taking two particularly ugly swings at consecutive changeups.
With 2 out in the 2nd after a Johnner Navarro single and a Ryan Goins GIDP, Kevin Pillar somehow overcame every fibre of his being screaming at him to swing 3-0 and took! a! walk! and then advanced to 3rd on a Crawfish Pennington line drive single to right field. This led us to the most exciting moment in sports, wherein a man who is paid several million dollars to throw a baseball attempted to, instead, hit a baseball. What a country! Needless to say, he did not achieve baseball and Wisler escaped the jam.
After a jaunty commercial break hawking Coca Cola as an experience and a public service announcement about not attempting to climb mountains on movie sets, we returned to Barry Davis informing us, legitimately usefully, that one of the prospects at Tournament 12 has committed to David Price's alma matar Vanderbilt. He then informed us, somewhat, uh, less usefully, that "Buck, ballplayers always seem to remember where they went to school", because Barry Davis's microphone is where comfortable human interaction goes to die.
An uneventful fiscal inning takes us to the bottom of the 3rd and a moment that was but a fraction of a second from a very injured pitcher. After an A.J.Pierogi ground out to 2nd, Estrada's evil-twin-for-the-evening, Matt Wisler, sent a comeback bounding towards the inside of Marco's left shin as hard as a pitcher can make a ball bound. Thankfully, whether by good timing, good luck, or good skill, Estrada just managed to get his right foot in the way of the ball and it deflected harmlessly off the underside of his shoe and between Donaldson and Ryan Goins into shallow left for a single. With two strikes, Markakis grounded into a double play to end the inning.
In play, run(s)! Edwin led off the top of the 4th by killing the rally (and breaking Gameday) with a home run deep to left-centre-centre, extending his streak of reaching base safely to 43 games and making the 2015 Blue Jays the 27th team to ever have three players each with 30 HR and 100 RBI in a season. Navarro and Goins followed up with singles to RF and LF respectively. After a Kevin Pillar infield fly, Pat informed us that he felt that the Jays should "Be inclined to play for more runs here and bunt". Carlos Pennington agreed, and sent Wisler's 0-2 offering over the wall in right field to bring the lead to 4-0 good guys. Marco would follow that up with a bloop single to the Bermuda Triangle between 2B, RF and CF (Excitement!) but Wisler then retired both Ben Revere and Josh Donaldson to stem the tide.
From there, Estrada would complete the next 5 innings comfortably, giving up only 2 hits, a walk, and no runs, and ending the night with a very efficient line of 8IP, 3H, 0ER, 4K, 2BB, 71 strikes on 99 pitches, and a single. The big park definitely suits Estrada well, but he also did pitch well in his own right, with the changeup solidly "on" today. The Jays threatened again in the 5th, with a Navarro double followed by a Goins single, but nothing more would come of the 5th through 8th innings. Matt Wisler ended the night with 6IP, 9H, 4ER, 3K, 2BB, 2HR, and 69 (nice!) strikes on 105 pitches, and former Blue Jay Edwin Jackson pitched clean 7th and 8th innings. On the defensive side, Charlemagne Pennington and Goins each had a nice-but-not-otherworldly play, so no video you for, dear readers.
In the 9th, Estrada was pulled as his spot was due up to lead off and Sugar Ray Marimon, who I've mentioned by name here solely because it's a solid 70 name, replaced Jackson for the Braves. Because Dalton Pompey is more of an abstract concept than a baseball player, as tangible as vision, as proven to exist as the 5th dimension, as commonly observed as a starwipe outside of the 1990s, Gobbob called on "Eh-zee-hee-el Ca-hey-rha" to PH. He grounded out to short. Buck, continuing to be Buck and not satisfied botching just one player's name in the inning, then referred to Marimon as "Sugar Ray Motorman" and "Sugar Ray Mormon" in consecutive mentions. 4 more years! 4 more years! Following Ben Revere lining out to 2B with a patented "Look Ma! All arms!" swing, JD salvaged his night by unintentionally sending a ball just over the wall in right field. Prior to the home run, he was sitting on 2 Ks and 2 weak groundouts and had generally been made to look bad by bendy pitches.
Osuna, having not worked since September 12th, came out for the bottom of the 9th and was out of there in 9 pitches. Quite fitting, with Georgia being Herman Cain's home state.
Jays of the Day: Ce$ha Pennington (+.240 WPA, 2-5, HR, 3 RBI), Marco Estrada (.265) and Edwin (.108, 1-5, HR). Other notables: Ryan Goins (2-4) and Dioner Navarro (3-4). No suckage award tonight because boring wins are good for WPA.
On the StrikeTracker (RIP) front, the Jays righty hitters benefited from a bit of a tight zone, with 6 pitches inside the typical RHH zone called balls.
*Gerse doesn't appear because he's already here*: Because weeknight interleague ball against a no name pitcher on a terrible team is exciting, 52 monkeys on 52 typewriters produced the complete works of 1020 comments. Last night I unfairly pulled the rug out from under the 2nd place finisher, barraqudie, so tonight let's focus on 2nd place. That's Gerse, with 92 comments. Good job, you dashing, cultured, manly thing, you.
Tomorrow night, the Boston Red Sox come to town, full of beards and pizza and idiots and whatever else they've been known for in the last decade+. Rick Porcello (8-12, 5.06) and Marcus Stroman (1-0, 5.40) will attempt the plant their teams' flags in Mt. Mound at 7:07p EDT.