First the skies delivered an impressive burst of thunder and thunder and lightening. Once that cleared out, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. unleashed his own burst of thunder to turn around a game that was spiraling away from them.
The Jays actually jumped on Daniel Norris at the outset, a single and double from Eric Sogard and Freddy Galvis leading off. But they cashed just one run, and while Norris didn’t manage any clean innings over his last three, he did keep them off the scoreboard.
That gave the Tiger lineup time to jump on Trent Thornton. After working a perfect first inning, the second inning was a different story. A leadoff double came home on a one out single to tie the game, before Niko Goodrum took Thornton yard for a 3-1 game. Thornton rebounded with a scoreless third before walking the opening batter of the fourth as the skies opened and a violent thunderstorm passed through en route to Ontario. The one hour delay ended the day of both starters, though they likely wouldn’t have last much longer regardless.
Wilmer Font thus made his Blue Jays debut, striking out his first two batters to almost strand the inherited runner, but just as one cannot be half-pregnant, there is no points for almost stranded runners and another two run blast — this time to John Hicks — put the Jays inan even deeper hole.
For a half inning anyway. Detroit brought in Gregory Soto to face the top of the order. After Sogard struck out, Galvis singled, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doubled, and Randal Grichuk walked to loaded the bases for one Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He broke out of his recent funk by becoming the youngest Blue Jay ever to hit a grand slam:
GRAND #PLAKATA NUMBER 1! pic.twitter.com/VeCMh9G8ex— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 21, 2019
With that one big swing, the Jays were back to even (well, almost...technically, Detroit had one more out in hand at that point). Though again, not for very long — leadoff the third inning, Teoscar Hernandez tapped an infield single, one swing from Brandon Drury put the Jays ahead for what would be good (pardon the terrible pun from the Jays’s twitter account).
Our hitters aren't BranDONE #LetsGoBlueJays pic.twitter.com/MM8a6kmr2w— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 21, 2019
Far too many times this season we have watched the Jays bats go quietly into the night to end games. Today the tables were turning. After the Vlad grand slam, Font through a pefect bottom of the inning, and then a succession of relievers threw scoreless innings — Justin Shafer the 6th, David Phelps the 7th, Daniel Hudson the 8th, and then Ken Giles the 9th. Shafer and Giles allowed doubles, the only blemishes to those five post-Vlad fireworks innings of relief
On a sidenote (and the reason this recap is going up so late), tonight was the third Vancouver Canadians game on Sportsnet, which they 4-2 won over Padres affiliate the Tri-City Dust Devils. The team’s sole Canadian Alex Nolan got the start on a national broadcast (though only five were broadcast due the first of myriad technical difficulties), and pitched a solid six innings, which must have been a thrill. The other notable fact about the win is it runs their record to a perfect 3-0 on SNET, compared to an ugly 10-23 otherwise. THough it’s a sample of just three games, it’s such a stark difference that it’s actually registers statistical significance at two standard deviations (just barely).
Jays of the Day: Vlad! (+0.266 WPA), Drury (+0.149), Galvis (+0.129), Giles (0.094), Hudson (0.091)
Blew Jays: Thornton (-0.206), Jansen (-0.092)
There are three things of note for tomorrow:
- The Jays will look to sweep the Tigers tomorrow at the usual 1:00 PM eastern Sunday start time, with Jacob Waguespack facing Tyler Alexander in a matchup of rookies with less than 20 big league innings between them, and it’s not everyday the two starting pitchers in a game can conceivably increase their big league experience by ~50%
- While that’s underway, the Hall of Fame ceremonies will be ongoing at Cooperstown, marking the formal induction of Roy Halladay as part of the six-man class of 2019.
- Kate will be doing your recap tomorrow!