Game 1: Tuesday, June 21st
Jays lose, 2-4
Losing pitcher: Marco Estrada
Apparently Estrada tweaked his back batting in his last game, against the Phillies. That accounted for his being pulled after 6.0 innings and only throwing 88 pitches. However, his trend of outings with a low number of hits continues, as he only gave up two hits. Estrada has recently mentioned being concerned about his walk rate, and here he walked three, but also struck out eight. One of the walks scored on a Yasmany Tomas home run in the 4th. Another stole second base and was driven in by a two-out single. Estrada left the game charged with those three runs, and Jesse Chavez allowed the fourth (a solo home run to Paul O’Brien). The two homers and that single comprised the only hits the Diamondbacks had on the night. They stranded just two baserunners.
The Blue Jays, on the other hand, got eight hits and three walks – all off starter Patrick Corbin. Unfortunately, they were spaced out in such a way across his 5.1 innings that they couldn’t score more than two runs, and would strand five. According to their respective game scores, Estrada had a better outing. But the bats couldn’t get him the win – although Kevin Pillar tried!
Pillar drove in both of the Jays’ runs, cashing a Michael Saunders double and a Troy Tulowitzki walk with a one-out double in the 4th. He’d already made a fantastic catch against the wall in the top half of the same inning, saying postgame “Marco’s my guy, I have to go out there and make plays for him.”
— Cut4 (@Cut4) June 22, 2016
Every Jays run was scored via a home run – Russell Martin homered in the 1st inning on the seventh pitch of an at-bat to drive in the only three runs they’d need, and Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki added insurance with their own solo shots in the 6th. This time around, the Jays won in spite of being out-hit by Arizona, eight to five. Not a single Jay had more than one hit, and the only players to reach base multiple times were Josh Donaldson (he doubled and was hit by a pitch) and Edwin Encarnacion (who homered and walked twice). Edwin is still leading all of baseball in RBI, he now has sixty-two.
J.A. Happ gave up both Arizona runs on six hits and four walks. He also struck out eight hitters in his five innings of work. Gavin Floyd, Drew Storen, Grilli, and Osuna followed him with an inning of work each, and combined to allow just two hits, strike out four and not walk anybody.
— Alykhan K. Ravjiani (@AlykhanKR) June 23, 2016
Also the Diamondbacks uniforms are ugly as sin, but that’s nothing you haven’t heard before.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- Marco Estrada continues his best-in-Blue-Jays-history streak of consecutive starts of 6.0+ innings with five or fewer hits
- Estrada also broke the MLB record, as he now has eleven such starts in a row
My favourite player(s) this week: Pillar/Tulowitzki/Estrada
Pillar’s amazing catch should be enough for him to be one of my favourites, but he also had the two-RBI double in Game 1 and a single in Game 2 to be proud about. He may have dented the wall with his elbow when he landed, but Superman proved it would take more than a wall to slow him down.
Tulo’s bat had been heating up before he got hurt and went on the DL. There was some worry that when he returned he would revert to the struggles the plagued him earlier in the year, but there needn’t have been any worry! He went 3-for-6 over these two games, with a walk, home run, and two runs scored. He also made a really nice throw on a ground out on Tuesday, for which there disappointingly doesn’t seem to be any online video.
Marco Estrada has been so consistent all year and his win-loss record really doesn’t reflect it. He referred to his record-breaking performance on Monday as ‘bittersweet‘ because they didn’t win the game and that’s what really mattered. So I thought I would give him some of the recognition he really deserves for being so very awesome. Eight strikeouts and two hits is a performance anyone would deserve to be extremely proud of. Cheer up, Marco! (As for the rest of you Blue Jays, if you don’t get him the win next time he pitches like this, you owe him an Edible Arrangement and an apology)
Where we are now:
3rd place, 2.5 games back of Baltimore and just half a game back of Boston
The bad news is, backup right-fielder Ezequiel Carrera hurt his Achilles in Tuesday’s game running the bases, which led to backup-backup outfielder Darrell Ceciliani‘s start on Wednesday. He’s considered day-to-day, which should be helped by the day off Thursday. Jose Bautista is still hurt, with no timeline set for his return from ‘turf toe’.
The good news is, Carrera being in the dugout gave us a few memorable moments, including this one:
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 22, 2016
The next month is full of games outside the division. They face the White Sox in Chicago this weekend. That team just won a series against the Red Sox, but prior to that hadn’t been doing so well. Then the Jays are off to visit NL West with a stop in Colorado next week, which means pitchers hitting! Although I’m OK if Estrada doesn’t swing the bat, for the sake of not hurting his back.
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