Blue Jays 3 at
Trashbirds Orioles 6
Coming into Friday’s game, the Blue Jays had not trailed since the 9th inning last Friday against Oakland. In the 54 innings since Marcus Semien walked off the Athletics, the Jays had only even been tied at the end of 10 of them.
It didn’t take long for that to change, however. After a quick top of the first, Cedric Mullins led off by jumping on a mistake fastball right down the middle from Robbie Ray and smashed it out to almost dead centre.
The damage did not stop there. Ray struck out two of the next three, but sandwiched in between was a triple on a fly ball to the right field wall that was probably catchable for Teoscar Hernandez, but he didn’t seem to see it. That allowed Ryan McKenna to the plate, and he got just enough of a fly ball to barely sneak it over the fence for a two run home run. There was further defensive implosion with an error on a routine ground ball, and a throw into centre when that runner stole second, though that set up the last out when he tred to take third.
Other than the rude treatment of Ray, there were numerous other instances of the
Trashbirds Orioles being less than gracious hosts tonight. the first being Trashbirds Orioles manager Brandon Hyde taking umbrage with...something? that Ray did to pique his ire. As one does, he responded by berating Ray with profanity with was picked up clear as day by SNET’s field mics. I get that it’s been a brutal season, but maybe try to maintain some minimal modicum of professional decorum. Instead of being completely unhinged.
Ray wasn’t terribly sharp the entire evening, but did battle and limited the damage to that over 4.1 innings. He was constantly in trouble, with eight hits and two walks, but able as usual to overpower
Trashbird Oriole hitters when needed for eight strikeouts.
Offensively, after being pretty well shut down the first time through by Chris Ellis, the Jays had lots of opportunities in the middle innings. Jake Lamb stranded the bases loaded after a pair of two out walks in the 4th. They plated one in the 5th on a two out rally when Marcus Semien walked, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. smashed a single through the infield and Bo Bichette did the same. Teoscar walked, the bases were again left full, this time by Alejandro Kirk.
The 6th was...interesting, to say the least. Lourdes Gurriel led off with a double, and tried to move to third on a one out groundout. the throw was wild, and he rounded third to score. As he came down the line, he collided with pitcher Fernando Abad, who was ostensibly moving to back up the play. In reality, he appeared hellbent on tackling Gurriel, who went down hard but got back up to score, though looked shaken up and a little dazed. It was the end for him anyway, but he probably should have been tossed.
Old friend Connor Greene came in and immediately gave up a game tying RBI double smashed by Semien. After that, he was very good and held the Jas through the 7th.
Adam Cimber relieved Ray in the 5th and was excellent, needing just 15 pitches to get five outs on two strikeouts and weak contact to strand two runners and throw a perfect 6th.
He turned it over to Julian Merryweather for the decisive 7th. Mullins reached leading off on a bunt. Merryweather was charged with an error, but I didn’t think there was a play. He got the next two and had has Trey Mancini in a 1-2 hole, but couldn’t finish him off and walked him. His next pitch was a fastball at the bottom of the zone over the plate that Anthony Santander absolutely demolished for a no doubt three run shot, and that was basically the game.
The Jays stranded two more runners over the last two innings for 13 total (the Orioles had 11, so it wasn’t a one sided affair). Tayler Saucedo had no control whatsoever but miraculously avoided any runs despite four free passes against four outs recorded. The 8th inning was just painful to watch as time seemed to freeze.
Oh well, all good things have to end. At least the Yankees and red Sox lost as well, preserving the status quo. Though conversely, the Jays lost a golden opportunity to actually seize the wild card position.
Jays of the Day: Grichuk (+0.195 WPA), Cimber (+0.133), and Semien (+0.130)
Suckage: Merryweather (-0.344), Lamb (-0.177), Ray (-0.172), Vlad (-0.118). Teoscar also had an 0-for though drew a walk. Not going to win too many when those names are in this section. Saucedo for dragging out the misery. Also Hyde and Abad for their nonsense.
Tomorrow the two teams resume hostilities in a doubleheader of those wonderful seven inning games starting at 4:35 eastern. Hyun Jin Ryu is scheduled for the Jays in the first against TBD, with Ross Stripling listed against the other (also against TBD; that guy gets around), though he was up and throwing tonight so who knows. It’s hard to say a sweep is required or a baseline expectation, but failing to do so would mean at best splitting the series which would be a setback.