If one were to do a poll asking which of the Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher's fans have the most confidence with when they take the mound, I'm nearly positive the answer would be Marco Estrada.
The veteran Blue Jays righty entered the game with a 5-2 record and 2.58 ERA. The team, sitting at 39-33, looked to make up some ground in the AL East where they are presently 3rd Place and just 2.5 games back of the Orioles for top spot.
The Arizona Diamondbacks (33-39) have disappointed to start the season after having an off-season that saw them bring in pitcher's like Zach Grienke and Shelby Miller to compliment Patrick Corbin.
Corbin, on the mound for the D-Backs, entered play with a 3-6 record and a 4.76 ERA. Not how the team expected the 26-year old lefty to build upon his strong return from Tommy John surgery in 2015.
(BOXSCORE for Mobile)
In the 3rd Inning Jean Segura reached base via walk, stole 2nd (his 2nd stolen base of the game), and was cashed in by a base hit by catcher Chris Hermann through the vacated left side of the shift.
The Jays threatened in the bottom of the inning after an Ezequiel Carrera single was followed with a 2-out single by Josh Donaldson giving Edwin Encarnacion a chance with two runners in scoring position. Unfortunately, the runners were stranded as Encarnacion weakly grounded out to the D-Backs 3rd Baseman ending the inning.
Another walk in the 4th, this time issued to Rickie Weeks, would prove costly to Estrada again when Yasmany Tomas took his 2-2 offering over the wall in left for a 2-run shot.
Then Kevin Pillar almost died.
He'd be fine, his chin likely broke his fall, and he stayed in the game. The Jays would get out of the inning only down three.
Kevin Pillar had a chance with two runners on in the bottom of the inning, following a Michael Saunders double and a Troy Tulowitzki walk, and he continued his fantastic inning by drilling a double to left-centre to score the pair of runners and bring the game within one. His 18th double on the season, just as an aside (Thanks Buck).
The rally would end with Kevin Pillar making the third out at third base trying to steal. For some reason.
Overall, despite some blips, Estrada wasn't bad. He'd go 6 innings, allowing 3 ER's on just 2 hits (one being the 2-run HR), striking out 7 and walking 3. Not his best start, but if this is as bad as it gets it's a pretty easy life for Estrada, all things considered.
He left after just 88 pitches. In the post-game Gibby mentioned his back "flared up" so they removed him as a precaution.
Jesse Chavez entered the game for the Blue Jays and immediately gave up a booming solo HR to Patrick O'Brien, the D-Backs "Left Fielder" (in the same way Chris Colabello was out LF for a stint).
Corbin, alternatively, continued into the 7th but, after a Carrera walk and Devon Travis single, he'd leave the game having gone 6.1 innings, allowing 2 ER on 7 hits, with 3 K's and 3 BB's. Both runners were his, however.
Jake Barrett came into the game in relief of Corbin to face Donaldson. Donaldson made contact, then his bat exploded, the ball went weakly up the middle where the D-Backs were able to turn two and end the threat and the inning.
Jason Grilli came in for the 8th. Entering play he has a 3.18 ERA and a 1.36 FIP as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays... 5.2 innings, sure, but take the little victories where they come. Anyway, he has a 1-2-3 inning with little drama. Roberto Osuna entered in the 9th and too worked a relatively quiet 9th striking out the side sending us to the bottom of the 9th.
Daniel Hudson came in to close out the game for the D-Backs. The Jays wouldn't produce much resistance, save for a Pillar pop out that almost found a hole. The Jays out hit the D-Backs 8-3, they had more total baserunners 12-6, but can't quite put it all together resulting in and the D-Backs take the first game of the two game series.
FINAL SCORE: D-Backs 4 - Blue Jays 2
Just realized I forgot JotD and Suckage. I'm surprised no one else caught that. It's 4:21pm the next day but what the heck, let's get it done.
JAY OF THE DAY
Well, this is convenient. There are none.
Darwin Barney (-.113), Michael Saunders (-.123), Edwin Encarnacion (-.161), and though he doesn't hit the number I'm giving one to Jesse Chavez (-.090). Josh Donaldson had the number (-.129) but he had two hits and a walk. I can't really bring myself to give it to him. Call it an MVP discount.
Back at it tomorrow. JA Happ (8-3 with a 3.41 ERA) goes to the mound for the Blue Jays facing Robbie Ray (4-5 with a 4.44 ERA) for the D-Backs. 4:07PM start.