There was no late inning magic to pull out a series win in the Safeco takeover finale. The Jays had their chances, but simply couldn’t convert them into runs.
Clay Buchholz was activated off the disabled list to make his first start since May 5th, and it was much more in line with his excellent season debut than the four poor starts that followed. He set down the first eight batters before allowing a solo home run, then a couple more hits in the second including a RBI double from Kyle Seager (who else?). He then finished with two more clean innings. All told, his line on the day was six innings, two runs on three hits with no free passes and three strikeouts. A pleasant surprise indeed.
Unfortunately, the Jays were doing even less off Marco Gonzales (it was much nicer when we had a Marco shutting down the opposing lineup). Bo Bichette of course lined a single his second time up, but that was all the Jays could muster through five innings other than a couple walks (it goes without saying, all stranded). They blew a golden opportunity in the 5th when Derek Fisher had one of those walks leading off, and an awful pickoff throw went up the line to enable him all way to third with none out. But a popout and strikeout by Tesocar Hernandez and Brandon Drury failed to get him home with less than two outs.
Bichette would not be turned away in the 6th. He led off another inning with a hit, this time a double, scoring on a Rowdy Tellez two out single to cut the deficit to 2-1. Alas, that was as close as he Jays would come. The Jays gifted the Mariners an insurance run when Jason Adam couldn’t handle a ground ball, not only letting Austin Nola reach but throwing it away to put him on second. Then balking him to third. After a popout held him there, Omar Marvaez hit one into left field on which there should have been a good chance to get the runner, but Derek Fisher made an absolutely atrocious throw up the line for an easy sac fly.
That made it 3-1, the final score though the Jays were done threatening. Cavan Biggio walked in the 8th with two out followed by a Vladdy lining a double down the right field line to put the tying runners in scoring position. But Tellez flew out. Derek Fisher had a double in the 9th but nothing came of that either. On the positive side, Ken Giles threw an excellent bottom of the 8th with two strikeouts and a groundout. It would be very nice if he could rebuild his value over the final month in advance of the offseason.
Good riddance to the awful uniforms at least.
Jays of the Day: Fisher (+0.096 WPA) had he high number, but not counting the horrible throw to allow the insurance run to score. Buchholz (+0.016) didn’t have the number, but six innings with two runs and only three reaching more than deserves one. Bichette too for the two hits and plating the only run.
Blew Jays: Teoscar Hernandez (-0.167), Brandon Drury (-0.147), Randall Grichuk (-0.121) — all 0-for-4 on the afternoon. Reese McGuire (-0.093) is close enough too.
Tomorrow the Jays are off as they return to the east coast to host Atlanta and ex-GM Alex Anthopoulos with Canadian Mike Soroka scheduled to take the mound against the omnipresent TBD. Will it be an opener? A legit starter? Tune in to find out!