Cleveland 2 Blue Jays 1 (19 innings)
The Blue Jays lost the longest game in franchise history, a full 19 innings on Canada Day to surpass the walkoff in the bottom of the 19th inning against Detroit on August 10, 2014. The Blue Jays squandered way too many good opportunities to push the go ahead or eventually winning run, and consequently ran out of relievers after Bo Schultz was pushed to his limit to get through the 17th. Thus, Ryan Goins came out for the 18th, wriggled his way out of a jam to hold the fort, but the second position player was not so fortunate.
The Canada Day fireworks started early, as Edwin Encarnacion was ejected in the bottom of the first after being the third straight batter called out on strikes by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza. It was a pitch was that clearly off the plate after Josh Donaldson was called called out on a borderline pitch, but Carapazza's quick trigger in tossing Encarnacion was even more egregious. And as the coup de grâce, as Encarnacion turned around to dispute the ejection, he inadvertently bumped into Carapazza. which may bring a one-game suspension. John Gibbons then got tossed himself.
Maybe that name seems familiar—Carapazza was behind the plate in Game 2 of the ALDS when the Blue Jays were not too happy with the strike zone. In any event, the 1st was a harbinger of things to come, as Carapazza was very liberal in giving Josh Tomlin the corners at the top of the strike zone. Over the first eight innings, eight Blue Jays were set down looking, only the first and last were clearly the correct call. Besides the one above, there was another bad one to Ezequiel where the pitcher totally missed his spot yet got a very borderline call. The frustration all came to a head with more fireworks in the 13th inning, but we'll get to that in a bit
Marcus Stroman rebounded from his recent struggles to turn in a very good start of 6.2 innings, just the 1 run on 5 hits with a walk and 6 strikeouts. For he most part, he kept the ball on the ground, though did get into a few jams. A Josh Donaldson error and line drive single put two on with two out in the 2nd, which he got out of, but a double and and single leading off the 3rd scored the only run of the day against him. He retired the next 12 batters in order, until a leadoff single in 7th. A two out error by Justin Smoak and a walk ended his day, but it only took Brett Cecil three pitches to end the threat with a fly out to centre.
Meanwhile, the bats were stymied by a combination of Carapazza and Tomlin for the first three innings. In the 4th, they loaded the bases with two outs, but Smoak grounded out and they stranded all three. Kevin Pillar and Barney singled leading off the 6th, Ezequiel Carrera executed a sac bunt, which took the bat out of Donaldson's hand as he was intentionally walked to bring up Devon Travis filling n for Encarnacion. Travis couldn't get the runner in, striking out, and Michael Saunders flied out to once again strand the bases loaded.
The Jays finally managed to push the tying run across when Justin Smoak went yard with two out in the bottomof the 6th, his 3rd home run Canada Day home run in two years with the Blue Jays. Then things turned into a battle of the bullpens, with both up to the task.
It was a little surprising not to see Cecil back out, and in hindsight it could helped. For the Blue Jays, Jason Grilli was first up with two strikeouts in a clean 8th. Roberto Osuna worked around a leadoff single in the 10th. Joe Biagini worked around a HBP and single in the 11th. Jesse Chavez was next, and he was phenomenal over 3 perfect innings with 2 strikeouts, with was useful since the Jays only had two relievers left behind him.
However, the Jays failed to do anything against the Cleveland pen. From Smoak's home run through the end of the 10th, 13 straight batters went down. They actually wouldn't get another hit until the 14th, but threatened in the 11th when Devon Travis walked leading off, advanced to third with two out and Troy Tulowitzki walked. But Smoak popped out to strand another pair.
They went down in order in the 12th, before some more fireworks in the 13th. Donaldson was hit leading off, but a fielder's choice by Travis brought up Saunders. He was called out on a fastball on the inside corner that he thought was inside, and just barely avoided drawing a line in the dirt which would have surely provoked an ejection. Russell Martin was behind him, and was called for a swing on 1-2 curve on which he he didn't come close to going around. After an afternoon of having calls go against him, he had a few words for Carapazza, who tossed him, at which point Martin went absolutely ballistic and was barely restrained by DeMarlo Hale and Luis Rivera.
After 47 pitches, Jesse Chavez was done and Drew Storen came in. He allowed a bloop single, but recovered with three ground outs for an easy inning. The Jays had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the inning, with a Tulowitzki leadoff single. Smoak has a 3-0 count, but ended up grounding out, barely beating out a double play, so Junior Lake pinch ran and the Jays no longer had a real defensive first baseman. Pillar hit into a fielder's choice, initially a double play overturned on review. Barney came through with a double, but not nearly deep enough to score Pillar. Carrera walked, to bring up the reigning MVP. But he stranded the base loaded for the 3rd time on the game.
Storen was back for the 15th, and the game almost slipped away. A one out single and walk, ended his day, so Bo Schultz came in, the last reliever. He fell behind 3-0 to Mike Napoli, but recovered to get a ground ball double play. He also pitched the 16th and 17th, a yeomen's effort despite some runners, especially when it looked like h emight be hurt in the 17th.
Trevor Bauer, tomorrow's scheduled starter, came in for the 15th as Cleveland was out of relievers. Josh Thole almost ended the game with a two out fly ball that fell just short. They had a golden opportunity in the 16th, as Tulo and Pillar singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Put Barney popped out, and Carrera struck out to end the threat and they went quietly in the 17th.
The Jays were apparently not willing to follow Cleveland, and so for the 18th their last unused player, Ryan Goins came out to pitch. He was actually ridiculously impressive for a position player, hitting 90 MPH on his fastball, and spinning a solid curve while working in a changeup too. Unfortunately, he gave up back to back singles to put runners on the corners with none out, and things looked dire. But he got a ground ball, they Jays came home and got the out, though runners advanced to 2nd and 3rd. They intentionally walked Tyler Naquin, and then Goins induced a ground ball double play.
But the Jays couldn't score (again), and for whatever reason Goins wasn't send back out. Instead we got a second position player pitching, as Barney stepped to the mound, the Jays forfeited the DH as Travis was sent to second base. But the magic ran out: Carlos Santana led off the inning by taking hi yard. He got the next three out, but the damage was done. Donaldson put a change into one in the bottom of 19th, but it died on the warning track.
After all that battling for 17 innings, I found it a little dispiriting that the Jays essentially were willing the hand the game away with position players on the mound. Realistically, the options sucked either way, but the Blue Jays need every win they can get. Cleveland played to win today, and they got the win in the bank.
Super Jays of the Day: Schultz (+0.595), Chavez (+0.410)
Jays of the Day: Basically all the pitchers, even a fake one. Stroman (+0.156 WPA), Cecil (+0.121 WPA for 3 pitches), Grilli (+0.106), Osuna (+0.137), Biagini (+0.137), RYAN FREAKING GOINS (+0.137). Tulowitzki was the lone hitter (+0.159, 3/6, 2 BB).
Super Suckage: Barney (-0.573, -0.272 as a hitter and -0.301 as a pitcher). I feel bad doing that, since it's not really his fault he had to pitch. Also, Vic Carapazza. Let's turn him away at the border next time.
Suckage: Basically all the hitters. Carrera (-0.395), Saunders (-0.369), Travis (-0.342), Martin (-0.181), Smoak(-0.185), Donaldson (-0.162), Thole (-0.099).
Between a game that ended after 3:00 AM eastern and now the longest game in franchise history, this has been one crazy week. Tomorrow, the Jays will try to avoid the sweep with Marco Estrada taking the mound TBA, since Cleveland burned Trevor Bauer to get their 14th straight win today, which is about the only silver lining to come out of today. I'm sure both teams will be bringing in some pitching reinforcements from AAA, with Bo Schultz surely ticketed there as a reward for being so good.