Game 1: Friday, July 22nd
Jays lose, 1-2
Losing pitcher: Marco Estrada
In Estrada’s first start after a stint on the DL, he pitched six innings, allowing only one walk. He allowed both runs and was therefore pinned with the loss. A leadoff triple in the 1st scored on a Robinson Cano groundout, and then a leadoff single in the 5th was driven in on a one-out double. The Mariners tallied nine hits, seven off Estrada, one off Bo Schultz in the 7th, and one off Joe Biagini in the 8th. The score could have been much worse, as Kevin Pillar made a sliding catch in the 6th that allowed Estrada to escape a bases-loaded jam.
The Blue Jays could only muster four hits, a pair of singles from Troy Tulowitzki, a double from Josh Donaldson, and a solo homer from Michael Saunders in the 2nd that would be their only run of the game. The Toronto lineup combined to strike out fourteen times, and only walk twice.
Game 2: Saturday, July 23rd
Jays lose, 5-14
Losing Pitcher: R.A. Dickey
What is it with Blue Jays hitters doing really well against their old teams? Michael Saunders followed up his home run the day before with two in this game, both solo shots – one in the 6th and one in the 8th. Justin Smoak, another former Mariner, had a two-run bomb, also in the 8th, and off the same pitcher (coincidentally, former Blue Jay Wade LeBlanc).
Unfortunately, those three home runs were too little, too late for the Blue Jays. After Josh Thole drove in the first run of the game with a sac fly in the 2nd, his batterymate R.A. Dickey gave up a Nelson Cruz grand slam with nobody out in the 3rd. He allowed another run in the 4th, before being pulled from the game with the bases loaded and nobody out. Franklin Morales – making his first appearance back from the DL – induced a double play that drove in a run, and then got a flyout to escape the inning. Morales then pitched a scoreless 5th, allowing one hit. Jesse Chavez did quite the opposite in his 0.2 innings of work, as he allowed five runs on six hits, including a three-run homer. To Nelson Cruz. Every single Mariner had at least one hit, with nineteen total.
Happ ground out six shutout innings against his former team to earn his career-high thirteenth win. He allowed just one hit, didn’t allow a single runner to reach third base, and got some defensive help in his six innings. A leadoff walk in the 2nd was erased on a double play, and in the 3rd another leadoff walk was thrown out by Josh Thole on a stolen base attempt (with some help from Troy Tulowitzki). Happ put two on with no outs via a walk and a hit batter in the 4th, but struck out the next two hitters and induced a foul flyout to strand them. Brett Cecil, Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna each threw a hitless inning, a walk allowed by Cecil the only baserunner. Grilli was grateful for some defensive help as well, as Darwin Barney made a spectacular catch on a line drive.
The Jays were held to only four hits, but luckily one of those was an Edwin Encarnacion solo blast in the 4th. Josh Thole got on base via a leadoff double in the 6th, advanced to third (and was ruled save on review) on a Darwin Barney fielder’s choice, then Josh Donaldson grounded into a double play that scored Thole. Kevin Pillar and Troy Tulowitzki each had a single as well.
Russell Martin missed this entire series due to an accident in a sauna on the day off on Thursday. More information can be found here, but it’s a pretty odd story, as injuries go. Not that the Blue Jays haven’t had plenty of those in recent memory – Kevin Pillar’s sneeze, anyone? Brett Cecil‘s various kitchen mishaps? I think we need to just wrap everyone in bubble wrap between games. If there’s a lesson to learn from this, it’s to never sauna on an empty stomach, or to the point of dehydration. Also try to avoid dropping shower hoses on your face.
It was announced before Sunday’s game that reliever Drew Storen had been designated for assignment. This gives them ten days to either trade or release him, and he must clear waivers before being sent to the minors.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- Edwin Encarnacion’s home run on Sunday means he has the third-most home runs as a Blue Jay in team history, with 224. He passes Vernon Wells, and now sits behind Carlos Delgado and Jose Bautista.
My favourite player(s) this series: Saunders/Thole
Poor Michael Saunders did his best to help the Jays win, and yet the only time they won was the only game he didn’t have a hit in. He had three hits in the series, all of them solo home runs, so he also scored three times and had 3 RBI.
A short while ago, I made Thole one of my favourites for a series, saying he hadn’t been one yet so he was due some recognition. Considering how poorly this series went for most of the team, and the fact that he had quite a nice game on Sunday, I’ve decided to repeat the honours. He walked, doubled, scored a run, threw out a baserunner, and did a stellar job of avoiding a tag. He also only allowed one passed ball in the three full games he caught, that one (of course) coming during Dickey’s start. Not bad at all for the guy who leads the majors in PB.
Where we are now:
3rd in the AL East, 3.0 games back of Baltimore
The bad news is… The bullpen. They are not so good.
The good news is, they avoided a sweep, and JOSE BAUTISTA IS COMING BACK!!!!
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