There's plenty of candidates, but for my money, that might just have been the most frustrating game of season. A combination of stranded runners, balls ripped right at fielders, poor fielding, poor umpiring, the Royaliest of Royals hitting, had the Jays down the entire game but within reach until finally came the coup de grace in the 7th. The Jays dropped the series, and dropped a game out of first place.
Starting on the offensive side (pun fully intended), because we have to start somewhere with this mess. The Blue Jays had Yordano Ventura on the ropes for the first four innings, and yet he pitched 6.2 scoreless innings before he allowed a couple more baserunners and an inherited runner scored.
They stranded two runners in the 1st inning, a leadoff walk to Troy Tulowitzki in the 2nd, and then ran themselves out of an opportunity in the 3rd when they stranded another. After walking, Jose Bautista was gunned down trying to go 1st to 3rd on a Josh Donaldson single. He was pretty easily gunned down, on what was a pretty poor risk. Relative to 1st/2nd 1 out, taking 3rd adds about 2.5% in win expectancy, but being out removes 7.5%. That's a 75% breakeven success rate, so it has to be a slam dunk opportunity.
They stranded back-to-back one out singles by Tulo and Melvin Upton in the 4th, as Ventura started a run of 10 straight set down from that point extending through two out in the 7th. Their problems where exacerbated by a questionable strike zone, which saw a couple of questionable strikeouts looking (Upton in the 2nd, Saunders in the 4th).
The Jays finally got on the board in that 7th, thanks for a two out walk to Darwin Barney and Devon Travis single that ended Ventura's day. Peter Mylan came in for a third straight day to face Bautista, and struck him out but not before uncorking a wild pitch that scored Barney. Chris Young shut things down in the 8th and 9th in what by that point was garbage time.
On the pitching side, Marcus Stroman had a pretty poor day, both pitching and fielding his position, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. He worked around a double in the first, but the Royals got to him in the second after a leadoff walk followed by a comebacker on which he didn't get rid of the ball quickly enough to turn the double play. A couple of singles followed to plate a run, and then another on another bunt single to Raul Mondesi Jr that Stroman threw away and should have put in his pocket (though it didn't ultimately cost him as the Royals ran themselves out of the inning).
Stroman worked a clean 3rd, around two more runners in the 4th, before he gave up a solo home run to Alcides Escobar in the 5th. Scott Feldman came in for the 6th, and had a clean inning so he was back out for the 7th when he got another Royals classic inning. A bloop single, bunt single, and another single loeaded the bases. Feldman struck out Lorenzo Cain before handing off to Brett Cecil.
Cecil struck out Eric Hosmer twice swinging, but the first time home plate umpire Nic Lentz managed to doubly blow the call. Hosmer completely missed a curve that Thole caught cleanly, but Lentz that Hosmer both got a piece of it, AND that Thole didn't catch it cleanly (it is was only either, Hosmer is out). So Cecil had to put another one by Hosmer, and it looked like he might wriggle out of it and keep the Jays close.
Alas, Cecil did his best Jesse Chavez impression, and gave up a grand slam to Kendrys Morales to score all three inherited runners, a sad coda on an infuriating game. Joe Biagini had have a nice 8th inning, and it was a natural spit to deploy one the best and most consistent relievers in the pen, down 6.
Jays of the Day: None. Tulo with the high number at 0.057, going 1/3 with a BB.
Suckage: I'm inclined to just say everyone. But Stroman (-0.104) and Thole (-0.098, 1/4) are the only ones by the numbers. Let's add Cecil (-0.062) and Saunders (-0.084, 0/4) for good measure, and home plate umpire Nic Lentz for a multitude of sins outlined above.
The Jays have completed their 7 game road trip having averaged 2.4 runs per game and yet nonetheless with a record of 4-3. Monday night they return to the hopefully more friendly confines of Rogers Centre to take on the Tampa Bay Rays for the first time in about three months, with R.A. Dickey taking Jake Odorizzi. Also, we'll get Josh Thole for a second straight game!
The less said about this one the better, yet I vented about 800 words. Onwards, upwards, etc...