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Jays seize defeat from the jays of victory

A nine inning tragedy worthy of Shakespeare

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Blue Jays 8 at Red Sox 9

TL;DR: Sloppy defensive play, terrible outs on the basepaths, and a boatload of stranded runners combined to cost the Jays a tight game. No, this message is not a recording. The woeful Red Sox and their even sadder pitching tried their best to gift their visitors a win they didn’t really deserve, but in the end the Jays simply wouldn’t have it.

In many ways, the Jays had no business really being in this game. Tesocar Hernandez staked the Jays to an early lead with a mammoth 442 ft shot to dead centre leading off the second, but that aside Ryan Weber and his sub-90 heat largely shut the Jays down for five innings. The only exception being another single tally in the fourth on a double to by Travis Shaw to cash Rowdy Tellez who singled leading off.

But Chase Anderson simply didn’t have it, at least after a clean first inning with two strikeouts. J.D. Martinez returned Teoscar’s favour in the bottom of the second, tying it with a solo shot. Three batters later Jackie Bradley Jr. tagged him for a two run shot and Bobby Dalbec made it a trifecta in the inning for a 4-1 hole. Anderson wriggled out of danger in the 3rd before yielding two more in the fourth on a two double from Rafael Devers — an inning that would have been far worse had Teoscar not thrown out a runner at second.

So it looked for once like the Jays migth have a non-stressful game, but that wasn’t in the cards. Shun Yamaguchi came to eat some innings in the 5th, and after allowing two straight hits to settled in and got a double play and the next four batters in order.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox went to the bullpen, which inevitably means someone with an elevated ERA. They wasted no time in striking against Josh Taylor, as Tellez walked and Teoscar hammered a single to set the plate for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He blasted a deep home run to left-centre and the Jays were somehow right back in it down 6-5. Alas they stranded two subsequent runners.

Phillips Vladez fared no better in the 7th. Randal Grichuk led off with a single, and the Tellez-Teoscar wrech crew followed with singles, Teoscar’s scoring grichuk but critically the ball was bobbled a second in left field and Rowdy tried to take third with none out and the play right in front of him. He was out by a quite a bit.

Which really hurt, because the Red Sox pitching couldn’t stem the bleeding. They did get Shaw on a comeback, with Vladdy walked before the suddenly red-hot Joe Panik hit an RBI double. Cavan Biggio walked, and Lourdes Gurriel managed an infield single of his own for a third run to make it 8-6. But for a second straight inning, Jonathan Villar stranded multiple runners (and that wasn’t even his greatest sin of the game, we’ll get to that).

But the 2020 Blue Jays do not enjoy prosperity, so Yamaguchi out for a third inning immediately yielded a leadoff home run to Devers, followed by a couple deep fly balls the park barely held. 8-7 to the 8th.

The Jays would fail to extend to their lead. Tellez hit an infield single, but with two out couldn’t score on a two out double by Shaw. Panik stranded the bases loaded after a IBB to Vladdy. In the 9th, they stranded two more as Tellez was finally retired on a first pitch flyout.

Yamaguchi was surprisngly back out for the 8th after the rocky 7th, and gave up a leacoff single before Anthony Kay was summoned. He issued a walk before rebounding for a pair of strikeouts. He should have been out of the inning on a groundout, but Vladdy went for the ball instead of covering the bag, to load the bases. That brougth up Devers, who Kay put into an 0-2 hole before grooving one that Devers ripped right into the shift.

The Jays needed three outs from Anthony Bass for the save. Xander Bogaerts had other ideas, launching yet another leadoff home run to tie the game. Martinez followed by a walk, replaced by Christian Vazquez on a fielder’s choice — an upgrade in speed which proved to be of great consequence. He stole second, Claeb Joseph threw the ball into centre, and the winning run was at 3rd. Bass got a soft bouncer to a drawn-in Shaw at third, who made an atrocious throw home and that was that.

There was one other lowlight that merits mentioning. In the 5th, with a runner on first and one out, Villar smoked a line drive off the Monster. It was the only time he reached in six trips t the plate, but he stood at home admiring it for a brief second, and ended up thrown out at second. Instead of 2nd/3rd one out, Weber retired the next batter and the inning was over. One more egregious missed opportunity among a litany of them.

Jays of the Day: Kay (+0.252 WPA) which doesn’t exactly feel entirely deserved, Vlad (+0.249), Tellez (+0.141), Teoscar (+0.112)

Suckage: Bass (-0.765), Anderson (-0.338), Villar (-0.207), Jansen (-0.092). Should probably add a few other worthy candidates, but I’m tired and don’t have all night.

I’m not quite sure why anyone in their right mind would sign up more of the same tomorrow, but the finale of the season series is at 1:30 EDT, with Robbie facing off (at least some part if not to start right away) against Andrew Triggs. Join us, won’t you?