Let's start by saying I can take the Blue Jays losing 3-2 games all month long. Eventually the bats will get hot, and if the pitching stays the way it has started, the team will be in good shape.
However, after a strong start that had them load the bases in the first inning, they got nothing going and the Orioles capitalized on a Blue Jays bullpen that was not at full strength to walk away with the win.
The first inning saw Michael Saunders single, Josh Donaldson double followed by walks from Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Smoak sandwiching Russell Martin getting hit by a pitch to score the second run. After that, the Blue Jays had only four base runners the rest of the game and not one made it past second base.
The offence is struggling. Some of it is luck. Some of it is normal start-of-the-season stuff, but it has gotten to the point where when I saw Martin, Smoak and Kevin Pillar coming up I resigned myself to a loss.
Marco Estrada got the start for the Jays and after a shaky first inning that saw him get out of a bases loaded jam with nobody out without giving up a run, he settled down nicely. Unfortunately, his pitch count got up quickly, maybe forcing John Gibbons to get to the bullpen a little earlier than he would have liked.
He pitched five innings, giving up six hits, walked four but struck out nine and only allowed one run.
In fairness the bullpen didn't pitch badly. Pat Venditte and Brett Cecil combined to give up the tying run with only one single after Venditte walked Chris Davis and hit Mark Trumbo. Then, in the eighth inning, A slow single by Joey Rickard was followed by another passed ball to move him to second followed by one of the shortest doubles you'll ever see by Manny Machado.
All of Machado's, Rickard's hits in the ninth and Caleb Joseph's hit in the eighth were not very hard hit and on another day, this game could have ended differently.
What made the offence so dangerous last year was that beyond the top guys, everyone was producing which is just not the case this year so far. Followed by small mistakes like passed balls giving away free bases and a mix of bad luck and it's not a very inspiring combination.
Jays of the Day: Estrada (+0.209) pitched very well after a tough first inning and was the only Jay significantly in the positive. Honourable mentions go out to Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders who were the only Jays go get on base twice.
Jays Suckage: Venditte (-.111) and Cecil (-.168) get the brunt of the blame without pitching particularly bad. On offence, the bottom of the order Pillar (-.159) and Ryan Goins (-.109) weren't very good and Troy Tulowitzki (-.109) also missed some key opportunities at the plate but just missed what would have been a three-run home run in the first that would have made this game very different. He also made several very nice defensive plays so he gets a reprieve.
The Blue Jays now will finally get to play a team outside what seems to be a very tough AL East when they play the Oakland Athletics starting tomorrow at Rogers Centre. Aaron Sanchez will face off against Athletics ace Sonny Gray in the series opener. First pitch is at 7:07 p.m.