To borrow a line, Marco is the best. Even though he technically got hung with the L tonight, and (though tempted) I’m not allowed to end the recap here with “/fin”. Whatever, there’s probably not going to be many more times to use the phrase, so indulge me.
It was pretty close to vintage Marco Estrada tonight, as he went 6 innings, allowing just a run on 4 hits, with one free pass against 5 strikeouts. This is exemplified by the excellent ERA (1.50) against mediocre peripherals (4.15 FIP/4.74 xFIP) when he’s rolling and generating weak contact. It was a throwback night for Estrada in another regard as well, in that he got almost no run support to support his fine outing.
The lone blemish on his line tonight was a leadoff home run in the 3rd inning by D.J. Stewart, a towering fly ball that was hooking but stayed fair just long enough to bang high off the foul pole. That was the first hit off him (one reaching second on an error), and though he allowed a runner in each inning from that point on, none seriously threatened as Marco scatter the damage.
As it turned out, this game was effectively decided in the fourth inning. After going down in order the first time through the order (the first three of the six innings in which that would occur tonight), the bats finally showed up. Billy McKinney led off with a single, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. dropped a beautiful but down the third base line for a single, Justin Smoak walked to load the bases with none out and the Jays were in business.
For a couple minutes, anyway, until it all went to hell. Kendrys Morales hit a pretty shallow ball to right field, on which McKinney was sent home and was DOA. To be charitable, it was a pretty dicey call given there were none out and the way the Jays were finally getting to Jimmy Yacabonis.
That effectively killed the nascent rally. The box score says Kevin Pillar then was hit by a pitch, which I totally missed, but regardless Aledmys Diaz weakly flied to left-centre on the first pitch and that was that.
That was the end of Yacabonis, but the Jays proceeded to do similarly little against an assortment of relievers. They got two on with one in the 6th off Mike Wright, before Morales and Pillar struck out (side note: what in Farrell’s name is Pillar doing hitting 5th?). The shutout was broken in the 8th as Billy McKinney took old friend Miguel Castro (whom I continue to believe will sometime put things together) deep for a solo shot.
Alas, that was too little, too late, as the Orioles had tacked on an insurance run as Danny Barnes relieved Estrada in the 7th and allowed a one out double that Tim Mayza allowed to score on a two out single against his first batter of the night.
Fun fact: the Jays went 15 up, 15 down in the five odd numbered innings tonight.
Jays of the Day: Marco (+0.188 WPA), McKinney (+0.116, minus whatever you want to attribute to him for being thrown out a the plate).
Suckage: Morales (-0.389, not all of that his fault); Diaz (-0.150), Pillar (-0.104), Teoscar (-0.091)
Tampa comes to Rogers Centre! Yay! Just over 6% of the schedule remains left in the season, but 37% of the season series with the Rays is left. Good news if, like me, you just can’t get enough of those Rays! Sam Gavligio will be on the mound for the Jays, with Ryne Stanek opening for Tampa and I can’t be bothered to lookup or figure out who will follow. Erik will figure it out for you tomorrow morning.