What a fun 8th inning. Two big home runs. Maybe it’s just because we are playing the Orioles, but I love baseball.
I was hoping for a great start from J.A. Happ and, for 4 innings, it was good. After 4 innings, he had 8 strikeouts, 1 hit (double) and things were going well.
The 5th inning wasn’t a good. It started with an infield single. Then he got a ground ball that should have been a double play, but Lourdes Gurriel’s throw from second wasn’t on line and then just got one out. A bad play, but, the way Happ was pitching, he should have been able to deal with it. But he gave up a couple of hard hit singles, and a run, before getting out of the inning.
Not a bad line, 5 innings, 4 hits, 1 earned, 0 walks and 9 strikeouts, but I wanted him to go deeper in the game.
It looked like we weren’t going to get enough offense today. We only had 1 run in the first 7 innings. In the 4th inning Yangervis Solarte doubled home Kendrys Morales from first base. No, that wasn’t a typo, Kendrys scored from first base on a ball that didn’t leave the park. He was helped along by Orioles left fielder Jace Peterson diving for a ball that was a good 10 to 15 feet away from him and that the Orioles don’t understand the roll of a cutoff man, but Kendrys motored around the bases.
Then came the 8th inning. Lourdes singled and, an out later, Randal Grichuk crushed a ball into the third deck, making it a 1-run game. Then Justin Smoak had a swinging bunt go right down the third base line (against the shift) and it stayed fair for an infield single. An out later, Solarte homered.
Now, earlier in the game, I mentioned that Solarte was hitting .133 in July and that he could start hitting again any time. Which started one of my two least favorite excuses for bad hitting, “he’s playing too much, so he can’t hit” (the other is “he’s not playing enough, he can’t get in a rhythm”). I figure baseball players get hot and get cold.
We had 10 hits on the day. Two each for Grichuk, Morales, Solarte and Gurriel.
There was this:
With two hits today, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is the 7th rookie in Blue Jays history with a multi-hit streak of 5+games (last: John Olerud - 6G in 1990) - courtesy STATS— Blue Jays PR (@BlueJaysPR) July 22, 2018
We didn’t have great work from the bullpen:
- Joe Biagini gave up a run on a Jonathan Schoop home run in his inning.
- Jake Petricka had a scoreless inning, giving up a double, but getting 3 strikeouts. He’s been good of late. There was a ‘front door’ pitch, for strike 3, that was a thing of beauty.
- John Axford had a tough inning, giving up 2 hits, a walk, but just 1 run, and getting 2 strikeouts. He wasn’t helped by a very poor play from our SS/2B tandem. A ground ball was hit between Aledmys DIaz and Gurriel, and, well, Diaz should have taken charge, but he appeared to pause before going for the ball, and they got there at the same time, running into each other. Gurriel got the error, I thought it was unfair, they both were at fault, but I’d give Diaz the larger part of the blame. Take charge.
- To everyone’s (at least in the GameThread) delight, Tyler Clippard came out for the 9th. He gave up a hard hit fly ball, but Teoscar Hernandez made a nice catch. Then he hit a batter. Joey Rickard smoked a liner, but right at Diaz (who moved from short to third with Devon Travis entering the game as a pinch runner in the 8th). Diaz caught the ball, and made a nice effort to get the double play by throwing across the diamond, just late. Tyler struck out Schoop. Not truly earned, but that’s Tyler’s 7th save this year (he’s second on the team in saves). But then, Axford gets the win and he didn’t earn it either.
Jays of the Day: Solarte (.583 WPA), Clippard (.170, not really his doing but let’s let him have one), Happ (.153), Grichuk (.184).
Suckage: Axford (-.169), Martin (-.145, 0 for 4, 1 k, but he made a sensational play, jumping on a soft hit ball in front of the plate, and making a terrific throw to first), Diaz (-.141 0 for 3), Granderson (-.137, 0 for 4, 1 k). It is time to move him from the leadoff spot.
So that’s a sweep. Yes, it is the Orioles, but it still counts.
We had 380 comments in the GameThread. I led us to victory.