Well, at least the Blue Jays weren’t out of this by the middle innings. That’s about the most charitable I can be about this game, as the Jays rolled over for the series sweep with yet another genre of loss. Tonight they jumped out early, surrendered the lead on a grand slam, briefly tied it back up, and then went pitifully into the night for a 10-5 loss.
Rather than immediately elaborating further on this one, I thought it would be worth pointing out an interesting parallel to 2010 in the Blue Jays-Orioles seasonal dynamic. Back then, they played six three-game series. The Jays swept the first four, before having the favour returned in Baltimore the fifth series of the season, before finally once again sweeping the Orioles in the last series of the season.
2018 hasn’t been an exact mirror image, as the Jays only took two of three in the first series of the season, and the second series was a four gamer that they swept. But it’s about as close to history repeating as you’ll find, as the Jays proceeded to sweep the next two series and now were swept in turn in the 5th series of the year. Does this presage a sweep in mid-September?
Back to tonight’s events. On the plus side, the Jays jumped all over Alex Cobb early to establish their first lead of the series. Justin Smoak took him yard in the first inning, and Kevin Pillar joined the party in the second with a bomb to left that Statcast estimated at 400 feet and I say was no more than 360-380 feet based on where it was hit and how far it was out. It still counts the same on the scoreboard of course, and it was 2-0.
The Jays didn’t stop there. A walk and single followed, bringing Devon Travis up, and he in turn smashed a double to plate another run and put two in scoring position with just one out. Billy McKinney cashed one with a sac fly.
Unfortunately, the Jays couldn’t capitalize further, stranding a pair of two out doubles in the next two innings by Randal Grichuk and Travis (who missed a home run by literal inches). This continued in the 5th as Smoak walked with one out and Grichuk hit yet another two out double. Despite that, Smoak couldn’t score and both were stranded.
At the time, it didn’t seem like the Jays would pay for not tacking more on, as Ryan Borucki was in good form early and cruising. And of course, they were facing the Orioles. Borucki did have to work out of a jam early and was fortunately not to allow a run after the first two reached, but settled in for a couple clean innings other than an error.
He did waiver in the 4th inning, allowing a home run to Trey Mancini leading off as well as a two out double. These appeared to be blips more than anything, but alas the 5th unraveled in dramatic fashion. Borucki sandwiched a single around a pair of flyouts, but couldn’t get out of the inning and yielded a couple singles to load the bases. That brought up Adam Jones, and he deposited a ball well over the left field wall for a grand slam. And just like that the lead was gone.
After another single, Borucki’s night was done and Danny Barnes came out and got out of the inning. Devon Travis briefly gave the Jays life, tying the game in the top of the 6th with yet another home run off Cobb. It was as close as the Jays would come to reclaiming the lead.
For the bullpen provided little in the way of relief, and much int he way of indigestion aside from a clean inning by Tyler Clippard and a nice couple outs from Tim Mayza.
Barnes got the first batter of the 6th before an infield single, stolen base and single coughed up the lead for good. That was the end of his night, but not the end of the Orioles scoring as Ryan Tepera didn’t have it and a walk and pair of wild pitches plated another run.
With the bullpen having been leaned over the past four days and no game tomorrow, Ken Giles came out in a non save situation, at which point an awful game descended into farce:
- After a leadoff double, Giles threw away a sac bunt attempt. One run in, and then a grounder into left (that I think Martin should have had a play on, but everything is blurred in my memory)
- After a strikeout Martin booted a ball to score another run
- Jones than squibbed a ball into left that Martin couldn’t handle, and likewise eluded Aledmys Diaz behind him. That brought in run #10
After the Travis home run, the Jays squandered more opportunities. In the 7th, they had a chance, but Kendrs Morales hit into a double play walked Smoak walked leading off, with Gruchuk singling behind him. Two more runners in the 8th stranded. With two outs in the 9th they loaded the bases on a single and pair of walks, but Teoscar Hernandez pinch hit and struck out.
Jays of the Day: Travis (+0.236 WPA), Smoak (+0.155). Grichuk doesn’t have the number, but another three hits including two doubles merit one.
Suckage: Almost everyone else? Borucki (-0.365), Gurriel (-0.206, plus the error), Morales (-0.155), Barnes (-0.137). Tepera (-0.071) and Giles (-0.059) fall shy of the number but I’m feeling especially generous so we’ll hand them one each too.
Tomorrow, the Jays are off before opening a three game series in Miami Friday to conclude the recent swing through the International League before resuming major league competition for the majority of September. I’d say to enjoy it while it lasts, but then you saw the results from this past series.
I was going to post the comment leaderboard since apparently at some some have an attachment to them, but I’m not inclined to jump through the hoops necessary to do so now (used to be easy). We’ll pin the loss on westbromjayfan and who led with 69 comments. Nice!