Blue Jays 1 Cardinals 4
Yesterday the Jays had 19 hits. Today 3.
It was one of those games turned on a defensive play not made. Runners on first and second, two out, and a ground ball hit at Matt Chapman. Pretty hard hit, 97.7 mph according to GameDay, but what should have been a pretty easy play. But Matt bobbled it when he took it out of his glove, changed his target from the force at second base to first base, and threw wide of first. The runner on second scored, and the Cardinals had runners on second and third.
A softly hit ground ball down the third base line (65.6 mph) singled two more runs home. Suddenly it was 3-0.
The Cardinals got their fourth run on a hard-hit ground ball to second that Biggio knocked down but then threw into the dirt at first. Not called an error but a play that should have been made.
Not that it should have mattered, but we should have scored many runs. Cardinals’ starter, Jack Flaherty, had a lot of trouble with the strike zone.
- In the first, with two out, he walked 3 straight batters, but Brandon Belt struck out to end the inning.
- The second inning started with a walk to Danny Jansen, and Cavan Biggio was hit by pitch. But a fly-out and a double play ended the fun.
- The third inning started with walks two Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero (he had three walks on the day), but fly out, ground out, strikeout and we stranded more batters.
We’d get another walk in the fourth but, again, didn’t score.
Flaherty went 5 innings (he should have been out of the game sooner) with no hits, 7 walks and a hit batter. But no runs.
We did score in the eighth. Vlad and Daulton Varsho started the inning off with walks. A force at second and a wild pitch scored Vlad. Belt walked to put the, then, tying run on base. But the Cardinals took Jordan Hicks out of the game, and groundouts from Jansen and Biggio ended the inning.
There was another chance in the ninth. Singles from Kevin Kiermaier and Bichette, on either side of a George Springer strikeout, brought the tying run to the plate. But Vlad struck out, chasing, and Varsho popped out.
When you get 10 walks and a hit batter, you should score more than one run.
Kevin Gausman deserved better. He went 6 innings, giving up 8 hits (all singles), 1 walk and 7 strikeouts. But the 3 unearned runs were enough to get him the L. It could have been worse. In the sixth inning, with runners on the corners with no outs, Jordan Walker hit a ground ball to third. Chapman threw to Biggio, and we figured he’d go to first for the double play, but he saw that Nolan Gorman got a slow start going home from third. Biggio double (triple) clutched and threw home. Called safe on the field, but it was changed to an out on the replay challenge. Nice play by Biggio (though if he threw home quicker, we wouldn’t have needed the replay).
Adam Cimber pitched a scoreless seventh. Erik Swanson gave up a run on 3 hits in the eighth (helped along by Biggio’s misplay).
Not JoDs today. Vlad had the high mark (.074 WPA) but that strikeout in the eighth hurt.
The Other Awards go to: Chapman (-.091, plus the costly error), Springer (-.191 WPA, 0 for 5, 2 k. This after 5 hits yesterday) and Belt (-.082). Gausman had the number (-.133) but most of that was from Chapman’s error.
Tomorrow there is another afternoon game. It almost has to be better than today’s.
In the GameThread, we learned that the Jays had been no-hit six times (we didn’t have our first hit until the 7th today):
- Len Barker, Cleveland. May 1981.
- Dave Stewart, A’s. June 1990.
- Nolan Ryan, Rangers. May 1991.
- Justin Verlander, Tigers. May 2011.
- James Paxton, Mariners. May 2018.
- Verlander (again), Astros. September 2019.