The losses keep on piling up as we sit here waiting for the day when the tide will turn. What started out as a competitive and rather enjoyable game took a nasty turn in the 8th and ended up as another painful missed opportunity.
JA Happ didn’t have the best outing. He battled all afternoon as he wasn’t able to throw his inside pitches to right handed hitters well. He still managed to get 8 strikeouts on pitches outside or on the corners of the strike zone, and the Jays’ defense may cost him a run or two. However, he didn’t pitch past the 5th inning and will have to wait another day for his 100th career win.
The Tigers struck first when Jeimer Candelario took Happ’s second offering deep for a solo shot to left field. Happ retired the next seven batters after that, striking out four. He gave up another run in the third, on doubles by Dixon Machado and Nicholas Castellanos, but had a 3 up, 3 down 4th. He relinquished the lead again in the bottom of the 5th, after Jose Iglesias walked, stole 2nd, and came around to score on another double my Machado. Kevin Pillar dove for the ball but missed it, and quickly threw it to Aledmys Diaz. The Jays may have been able to get Iglesias out at the plate, but nobody in the infield told Diaz there was a play there, so he didn’t throw the ball over and the run scored. Machado scored the tying run on a single by Castellanos.
John Axford took over for Happ in the 6th, arriving once again in style via the hotrod bullpen cart. He retired all six batters he faced and looked very good.
Seunghwan Oh took the ball in bottom of the 8th. He gave up a 1-out single to Miguel Cabrera, then the Jays caught a break when Victor Martinez hit a ball that went for a ground-rule double and forced pinch runner Ronny Rodriguez back to 3rd. However, John Hicks fouled off a ton of 2-strike pitches before poking a single up the middle, scoring two. JaCoby Jones brought home another run with a sac fly. Another single by Iglesias and Oh’s day was done. Recently recalled Tim Mayza got the final out.
Offensively, the Jays looked like they had found life, at least to start. Former Blue Jay Matt Boyd effectively changing speeds on his pitches all afternoon, but the Jays did manage to tag him for 4 runs. They scored two in the 3rd, briefly taking a 2-1 lead. Luke Maile had a lead off double, then after Tesocar Hernandez fouled a ball off his foot and left the game, Yangervis Solarte doubled Maile in and Justin Smoak drove in Solarte with a long single. Kendrys Morales would end the threat in shades of 2017 with a GIDP.
The Jays scored another two in the fourth to pull ahead again 4-2 on two solo shots. One by Luke Maile, and another by Yangervis Solarte, which was the first time Boyd has given up two homers in a game since last September.
Aledmys Diaz also made a very nice defensive play. Having an actual shortstop playing shortstop is a beautiful thing.
Gibbons declined to speak to the media postgame tonight (not the first time he has done this), so that’s where we are at.
Hernandez said after the game he plans to be back in a couple days, so hopefully he won’t be out for long.
Jays of the Day: Maile (+.228 WPA), Solarte (.165) and Axford (.169)
Suckage: Oh (-.355), Happ (-.202), Morales (-.136, 0-for-4, 2 Ks), Pillar (-0.99, 0-for-4) and Grichuk (-0.95, 0-for-3).
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Tomorrow Aaron Sanchez will be tasked with preventing a sweep as he takes on Michael Fulmer at 1:10pm EDT.