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Rowdy homers, but Blue Jays lose

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Tigers 4 Blue Jays 3 (11 innings)

So let’s start with the managerial move I liked: 8th inning, down by 3, we have two on (Kevin Pillar singled and Richard Urena doubled) and Luke Maile was up. We had our other catcher, Danny Jansen, DHing (and leading off), so if we pinch hit for Luke, we will need Danny to catch and we’ll lose our DH.

Charlie made the right call, Rowdy Tellez came into hit and he tied the game with a home run. Love the move. Rowdy was pretty excited.

And then there was the move I hated.

When your starter only goes 5 innings (5 very good innings), you really need a reliever to go more than an inning somewhere.

Charlie brings in Sam Gavilio, whose role is to give us 2 or 3 innings when needed. Sam has an excellent inning, getting out of it in 8 pitches (it would have been 7 but Lourdes Gurriel made a terrible throw on what should have been a double play). I was hoping he would go 3 innings, but no, he gets pulled after the one inning and 8 pitches. To me, this was the important decision of the game and it went badly.

One of my favorite baseball truisms is that the more pitchers you use, the more chance you’ll find the one who just doesn’t have it that day.

Charlies found 2.

Tim Mayza came out for the 7th. He gave up a hard hit double, got a ground out and gave up a walk.

The other problem with pulling Sam after only one inning is that if someone can’t finish an inning you end up running through more pitchers than you would like.

Javy Guerra comes in, with runners on the corners and 1 out. He got a strikeout, then hit a batter to load the bases. That was followed by a walk, to score the first run of the game and a single, to score two more runs.

In comes Elvis Luciano, making his first MLB appearance. I was hoping we’d wait for a blow out for that but we needed him. He did pretty well. He got us out of the 7th and pitched the 8th. only allowed one hit and one walk. There were a couple of balls hit to the fence, but he also got his first strikeout. A success for the first pitcher born in the 2000s (but, as Minor Leaguer would point out, not the new millennium). Yes I feel old.

Trent Thornton had a very good start. 5 innings, just 2 hits, no walks and 8 strikeouts. He was going to limited to 80 pitches and he was up to 75 after 5 innings. He continued our streak of scoreless innings by the starting pitchers, passing it over to Sean Reid-Foley tomorrow. Thornton set a new team record for strikeouts in an MLB debut with that 8. Yes we wasted another very good start.

Offensively, once again we got off to a slow start. We didn’t get our first base runner until the 5th inning, and didn’t have our first hit until the 6th. And we didn’t score until the 8th, on the Tellez home run. That would be the only scoring we would do.

We had a shot to score in the 10th. With 2 outs, Richard Urena doubles (after Lourdes had a terrible at bat, striking out and Kevin was robbed by the center fielder making a diving catch on a liner hit in front of him).

Urena on second, Freddy Galvis, pinch hitting for Joe Biagini, lined one off the shortstop’s glove. Rivera put up the stop sign, late but still a stop, but Urena went for home and was thrown out. I was good with him running, but the ball didn’t get far from the SS and he made a very good throw from his knees.

The problem with not letting your relievers go more than an inning is that if the game goes to extras, you’ll end up using someone you don’t want pitching with the game on the line.

In the 11th inning the only pitcher we had left was Thomas Pannone. Thomas got a deep fly out, gave up a single, got a popup, gave up a single (Jeimer Candelario took a strike and then fouled off four pitches before getting his single) to put runners on the corners and then give up a line drive single, to Nicholas Castellanos, right up the middle to give up a run. Being fair to Pannone he was facing some pretty tough right-handed bats. It wasn’t the spot you would like to see him in to pitch.

We almost tied it in the bottom of the 11th.

Brandon Drury lined a 1 out single off the left field wall. It really looked like it would be a double, but it came off the wall and right to the left fielder. No chance to go to second. Justin Smoak was hit by pitch. But Randal Grichuk ground to short, hustling to first to save us from a game ending double play. And Teoscar Hernandez hit a soft liner that almost got over second baseman Niko Goodrum. That was after just missing on a home run swing on the pitch before.

Jays of the Day: Tellez (.370 WPA), Thornton (.282), Biagini (.139), Gile (.139) and I’m giving one to Urena (.192, 3 for 4, 2 doubles) despite being thrown out at the plate.

Suckage: Pannone (-.297, kind of put into an unfair spot), Javy Guerra (-.275), Mayza (-.117), Hernandez (-.308, 0 for 5, 1 k), Grichuk (-.176, 0 for 4, walk, 2 k), Gurriel (-.166, 0 for 4, 2 k and the bad throw), and Jansen (-.134, 1 for 5, k).

So lots of stuff happening in that game. Mistakes were made, but it was exciting right to the end.

We are now 2-2.

We had 951 comments in the GameThread. I led us to crushing defeat.

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