A's 8, Blue Jays 5
A game that did not go well punctuated a day that did not go well for the Blue Jays and their fans. Aaron Sanchez, who only allowed three earned runs in his first three starts combined, took the mound and surrendered four runs before the second inning was over.
Before Chris Coghlan's three run homer, it looked like the A's might squander an opportunity for a big inning thanks to Ezequiel Carrera throwing out Khris Davis at home on Marcus Semien's single. But like most everything else about this game for the Blue Jays, it was just a tease.
Sanchez left the game after just 4.1 innings, allowing six runs on ten hits with three strike outs. This was easily the worst he's looked all season, spring training or games that count. Sanchez routinely missed spots and got hit hard all night. Hopefully it was just one of those days and he will get back on track when he takes the mound again next week.
Offensively, the Jays started the day down Michael Saunders (sore hamstring) and Troy Tulowitzki (sore hip) who are both nursing (what we hope) are minor injuries. This combined with Sonny Gray retiring the first eight batters he faced made it seem like it was going to be a rough night at the plate. However, Darwin Barney homered into the second deck to put the Jays on the board in the third. They would later add a run in the sixth, another in the seventh, and two more in the eighth to pull within one.
Unfortunately, each one of those innings were also missed opportunities to score more runs. The bases were left loaded in the sixth, two more men were left on in the eighth, and Carrera grounded into a double play to end the seventh with Donaldson on deck. It largely summed up the offensive frustrations of the season so far. Although they had a limited lineup and were facing a good starter tonight, it's another game where the Jays offense couldn't quite break out, which puts more pressure on guys like Donaldson, Bautista and Encarnacion to come through every time they come up.
The feel good story of the game was Chad Girodo making his major league debut and working two scoreless innings. He looked very solid and kept the Oakland bats off balance as well as any pitcher tonight.
Even in a losing effort, he helped the Jays out big time here with Sanchez coming unglued early. This team is currently in the middle of a stretch where they play 16 straight games without an off day, and 29 games in 30 days if you stretch things out into the second week of May. This combined with the Jays finding themselves locked in tight battles on a nightly bases (an underrated negative of the offense not breaking out yet) have really stressed the high leverage arms in the pen. Even tonight, John Gibbons had to use a big arm in the ninth (Roberto Osuna) when Toronto pulled within a run. His outing fit right in with the day of disappointment, as he coughed up a pair of runs for the second time in three outings.
Also of note in this game, Russell Marin left with Neck spasms, which really hurt in the sixth inning when Thole came up in his spot with two outs and grounded out to end a big threat. Martin, Tulo, and Saunders are now all question marks as we head into tomorrow's game.
If none of them are feeling better, the Jays could have a really dicey bench situation tomorrow when J.A. Happ takes the mound against Chris Bassitt. Happ will try to continue to build on his early season (and Pittsburgh) success and hand the A's their first road loss of the season. The A's meanwhile are now on a six game winning streak.
Jays of the day: Kevin Pillar (.143) and Darwin Barney (.113). I'm also giving one to Chad Girodo for his solid MLB debut and bullpen stress relief.
Jays suckage: Aaron Sanchez (-.328), Ryan Goins (-.171), Roberto Osuna (-.121), Jose Bautista (-.115) and Edwin Encarnacion (-.100).
Ugly, ugly day folks.