On the plus side, Justin Smoak hit another home run in the 9th inning. Unfortunately, unlike last night the Jays were further down and didn’t have as many runners on, so it’s just a footnote rather than an exclamation mark.
Also on the plus side, Taylor Guerrieri and Jose Fernandez had successful major league debuts. Also unfortunately, it matters little to the result of the game as Marco Estrada’s struggles meant the Jays were well out of it.
Those are the major takeaways from tonight’s lackluster contest between two bad teams who were long ago eliminated from contention and frankly, relevance.
As Dan Straily did last night, Wei-Yin Chen shut down the Jays’ over eight innings, allowing just one run (on 3 hits, issuing no free passes and striking out seven). The one run came in the 4th, when Devon Travis led off the inning with a double, advanced to third on a Smoak fly ball, and scored on a sac fly by Randal Grichuk. That cut the deficit at the time in half to 2-1, but that was as close as they came.
The Jays went in down in order in five innings, and the other two featured singles were the runner didn’t advance at all. That is...pretty dismal. As referenced above, once again the bats woke up some in the 9th with a leadoff single by Gurriel and then the two home run that was Smoaked out to right. Far too little, far too late.
Marco Estrada soldiered into the 5th inning, which is worthy of some commendation, but really didn’t have it. He was on the ropes from the beginning, loading the bases with none out on a double, single and walk. He then gave up another sharply hit ball that might be a grand slam in most parks, but that Randal Grichuk tracked down on the warning track in right-centre for just a sac fly. The Marlins couldn’t cash anything further because they’re the Marlins and their station in life is to be a half step awful than the OriLOLs. At least until Derek Jeter infused them with Professional At-Bats(tm) through osmosis or something.
Anyway, Estrada worked around a single in the 2nd but got torched by a solo home run by J.T. Realmuto in the 3rd. He has his only clean inning in the 4th, before he got into more deep trouble in the 5th and this time the knockout blows were landed. It started ominously with Chen hitting an infield single, and the bases were loaded with one out on a single and walk. Estrada then walked a run in, before a double cleared the bases and it was 6-1. Danny Barnes got a pair of 6-3 groundouts to prevent further damage.
At that point, it was a good opportunity to ease in some of the recent additions to the roster with low pressure situations. Guerrieri induced a bunch of weak contact, the only blemish being an infield single which basically doesn’t count anyway, and he finished the inning by punching out Martin Prado on a pretty breaking ball. For his part, Jose Fernandez pitched a clean inning of his own.
Jays of the Day: None by the numbers, Travis (+0.082 WPA) had the high mark. Let’s split one between Guerrieri and Fernandez for the good debuts.
Suckage: Estrada (-0.289)
Tomorrow, one of these teams will win the series, if for no other reason than one of them has to though neither really deserves (it’s like when most AL Central teams play for each other and they’re disappointed they can’t both lose). Sean Reid-Foley goes to the mound against Jeff Brigham at 1:05 EDT.