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Bauer’s Stitches are Leaky but Cleveland’s Pen Isn’t...Blue Jays Fall Behind 3-0 in ALCS

MLB: ALCS-Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

If only Trevor Bauer’s stitches would have held. Usually getting to the opponent’s bullpen after 0.2 of an inning is a good thing. However, as has been the case against Cleveland, the opponent’s bullpen proved to be too formidable for the Blue Jays as they fell 4-2 to Cleveland in Game 3 of the ALCS.

Marcus Stroman got the call for the Blue Jays in Game 3. After being described by Ron Darling as a guy that is “almost like an athlete but in a pitcher’s body”, Marcus led the game off by walking Cleveland’s leadoff hitter, Carlos Santana. After a Jason Kipnis line out and Francisco Lindor strikeout, Mike Napoli hit an opposite field double to score Santana from first. The ball was hit hard and Jose Bautista got a glove on it just before running into the wall. Could/should he have caught it? I don’t know, it would have been a very good play if he was able to come up with it, but alas...1-0 Cleveland.

In the bottom of the first, Trevor Bauer struggled his way through 4 hitters. Jose Bautista struck out to lead off the game but after a walk to Josh Donaldson, a hard hit Edwin Encarnacion line out and another walk to Troy Tulowitzki, Bauer’s stitches opened up and he began to bleed quite profusely all over the baseball, the mound and himself. Out came John Gibbons and Terry Francona, and Bauer would be forced to leave the game. I was really hoping that he could continue on as he didn’t look sharp, whether it was due to the cut or not.

Dan Otero relieved Bauer and got out of the first. In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Michael Saunders led off with an opposite field home run against Otero that just cleared the tied 1-1.

Marcus Stroman appeared to settle in with a 1,2,3 3rd inning, but Mike Napoli led off the top of the 4th with a home run that was crushed...2-1 Cleveland. Stroman would then retire the next three hitters in order.

The Blue Jays would go quietly in the bottom of the 4th (3 up, 3 down), as would Cleveland in the top of the 5th. Ezekiel Carrera got some life back in the Rogers Centre by leading off the bottom of the 5th with a triple to the right field gap. Ryan Goins followed with a ground out up the middle that scored tied 2-2.

At the time, I thought that was a huge run for us in avoiding being behind going into the 6th inning. This relief was squashed pretty quickly however when Jason Kipnis led off the top of the 6th against Stroman with a long home run to right field. I thought I could hear the pitter patter of Andrew Miller in the Cleveland bullpen as the ball sailed over the fence....3-2 Cleveland.

After striking out Lindor for a second time, John Gibbons decided to leave Marcus Stroman in the game to face Mike Napoli (then 2-2 with a 2B and HR), who walked after working a full count. Gibby then pulled Stroman for Joe Biagini who entered with Napoli on 1st and 1 out. There was then a bit of a weird play where Napoli attempted a a delayed steal on a ball bounced in the dirt and slid in safely to second. The play was later ruled a wild pitch on Biagini. A few pitches later, Jose Ramirez singled softly to right, scoring Napoli easily...4-2 Cleveland.

The Blue Jays went quietly in their half of the 6th, as did Cleveland in the top of the 7th.

The bottom of the 7th is where the game was ultimately lost by the Blue Jays. Bryan Shaw started the inning and gave up a lead-off single to Kevin Pillar. Much to the chagrin of TBS, Terry Francona called upon his closer Cody Allen in a non-save situation. Allen got Carrera to fly out before striking out Justin Smoak who pinch hit for Goins. Pillar would steal second during the Smoak at bat and nearly came off the bag. Cleveland reviewed and Pillar was ruled safe, but down 2 runs I thought attempting the steal was just a terrible play with your power hitters coming up. Jose Bautista walked to put men on first and second for Josh Donaldson. Donaldson hit a hard line drive on the first pitch towards left field. Coco Crisp made an awkward, sliding play where he ended up corralling the ball with a basket-type of catch. The ball could have easily fallen in, or better yet, gotten past Crisp, but he made the play to end the threat.

The only excitement in the 8th inning came on a stolen base attempt by Francisco Lindor. For some reason, Gibby left Cecil in to face Lindor, Napoli and Ramirez (all good right handed bats). Lindor led off the inning with a walk and attempted to steal second with Lonnie Chisenhall at the plate. Lindor beat the throw easily and was called safe. However, Tulo kept the glove on Lindor’s arm and his hands both came off the bag momentarily. The Blue Jays reviewed it and the call was correctly overturned to end the inning. In the bottom of the 8th, Cody Allen and Andrew Miller made quick work of Encarnacion, Tulowitzki and Martin.

Roberto Osuna came in to work the top of the 9th. After allowing a 1-out single to Coco Crisp and ground rule double to Tyler Naquin, Osuna struck out Roberto Perez and got Carlos Santana to ground out to end the threat.

Andrew Miller pitched the 9th for Cleveland. Dioner Navarro led off with a pinch hit single after coming in for Michael Saunders, but that would be all the Blue Jays would muster off of the dominating lefty. Game over...4-2 Cleveland.

In total, 7 Cleveland pitchers would combine to allow only 2 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks: Trevor Bauer, Dan Otero, Jeff Manship, Zach McAllister, Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen and Andrew Miller. Francona changed the order of the pitchers up using Shaw in the 5th/6th/7th, Allen in the 7th/8th and Miller in the 8th/9th. I was happy that Allen was left in to face Bautista and Donaldson in the 7th and we came very close to scoring if not for the play by Coco Crisp.

Marcus Stroman was good, not great today. There were innings he looked dominant but in the end 2 home runs and a couple of plays that could have gone differently (the potential Bautista catch in the 1st and the Napoli steal/wild pitch in the 6th) were the difference. Biagini, Grilli, Cecil and Osuna combined for 3.2 innings of mostly effective relief.

Jays of the Day...Ezekiel Carrera (.106 WPA with 2 hits including the big triple) and Michael Saunders (.075 WPA with the home run) have the number. Navarro ‘earned’ a .091 WPA with the pinch hit single, but tough to give him JoD over Saunders.

Suckage Jays...Edwin (-.135 with an 0-4) and Russell Martin (-.115 with and 0-4 with 3 strikeouts).

spockster led the comments board tonight. All in all, 2,136 comments in the two threads. Sorry, couldn’t figure out how to get the table in here, but here are the top 10:

  1. spockster - 200
  2. delv213 - 141
  3. lalalaprise - 119
  4. TimmyMax - 118
  5. Eric H - 112
  6. Belisarius - 98
  7. Matt W - 93
  8. syedahmed - 81
  9. GameOfInches2.0 - 81
  10. hansdampf - 73

Tomorrow, Aaron Sanchez will get the ball and will attempt to extend the Blue Jays 2016 season. In MLB history, 33 teams have fallen behind 3-0 in a series. 5 of them forced a Game 5, 3 forced a Game 6 and 1 got to a Game 7. The one team that forced a Game 7 is also the only team to win a series after falling behind 3-0, the 2004 Boston Red Sox. So there’s that...

Good night everyone.