This seems like a fitting way for things to end as today’s game continued a recurring theme that’s been around most of the year. Good pitching and no hitting. The Blue Jays couldn’t get anything going against rookie Ryan Merritt who came into the game with all of 11 innings of major league experience. After managing just two baserunners against Merritt in 4.1 innings (one of which was promptly erased on a double play), Cleveland’s bullpen again took care of the rest and ended Toronto’s season.
I’ll be brief as I don’t imagine too many of us are going to revisit the details of this game. Cleveland scored 1 in the first after a Francisco Lindor single and Mike Napoli double. Ezekiel Carrera bobbled the ball which was called an error, but I think Lindor probably scores either way. In the 3rd inning, Carlos Santana launched a Marco Estrada fastball over the fence to make it 2-0 Cleveland. Coco Crisp added a solo shot in the 4th to make it 3-0 which is how the game would end.
The Blue Jays never advanced anyone past second base and really only threatened once. In the bottom of the 5th, Russell Martin blooped a single with one out (our second baserunner) and Michael Saunders followed up with a pinch hit single off of Bryan Shaw who came in to replace Merritt. There were 2 on and 1 out at that point, but Shaw quickly dispatched both Carrera and Kevin Pillar via strikeout to end the inning.
In the 8th inning, Dioner Navarro led off with a single off of Andrew Miller. After another Carrera strike out, Pillar hit a soft grounder to short but Lindor was able to force Dioner at 2nd base. Not sure why he wasn’t pinch run for in that situation as Pompey would have almost certainly been safe.
In what could be his last at-bat with Toronto, Jose Bautista led off the bottom of the 9th with a double off of Cody Allen. However Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki were retired quickly to end the game and the Jays’ season. Encarnacion struck out in what could have been his last at-bat as a Blue Jay.
Marco Estrada was pretty good again but the long ball hurt him. He finished with 6.0 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 0 BB and 7K. He gave us a chance to win, but as has been the case all too often lately, the offense was MIA.
I’m sure we are all very frustrated and equally disappointed. There will be lots of time to reflect on the 2016 season, in which Toronto was one of the last four teams standing. Thanks to everyone here at Bluebird Banter for being such a great community and for making the baseball season more enjoyable. Let’s not take our frustrations out on each other.
Congratulations to Cleveland. Quite simply, they were the better team this series. Now that the Blue Jays are finished, I will be rooting for Cleveland in the World Series, no matter who they face.
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