Series Sum-Up: vs Tampa Bay, August 10-12


Game 1: Friday, August 10th
Jays lose, 0-7
Losing Pitcher: Marco Estrada


Tampa starter Blake Snell was throwing a perfect game, but was replaced early – although the bullpen preserved his shutout. Snell was making his second start back from the disabled list, and was therefore on a strict pitch limit. He left after 5 innings, having thrown 47 pitches. Marco Estrada matched him through the first two innings, with three strikeouts along the way. Then, after striking out the first batter in the 3rd, Estrada walked Willy Adames, and Michael Perez hit his first major-league home run to put the Rays up 2-0.


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Estrada threw only 11 pitches in the 5th, but that included a double, a Mallex Smith triple on the first pitch of his at-bat, scoring a run, and a sacrifice fly from Joey Wendle on an 0-2 count. Snell retired the side on five pitches (including a strikeout) in the bottom half of that inning. Ji-Man Choi led off the 6th with a home run for the Rays, and Estrada got one final strikeout before departing the game. Thomas Pannone came in then, making his MLB debut. He struck out the first batter, Kevin Kiermaier, looking, and then got a groundout to end the inning.



Luke Maile led off the 6th with a single off Jake Faria, ending the perfect game and the no-hitter. Pannone gave up consecutive singles to start the 7th, then fielded a sac bunt that moved the runners before Wendle doubled to bring them both in. Joe Biagini threw a clean 8th on five pitches, the Jays stranded a walk and a single in the bottom of that inning, and then Biagini stranded a leadoff double and a hit batter in the 9th. The Jays totalled just three hits, and did not get a baserunner in the 9th inning.


Game 2: Saturday, August 11th
Jays lose, 1-3
Losing Pitcher: Sam Gaviglio


Sam Gaviglio allowed two runs during his start, and both of them were a result of the leadoff hitter getting on base. Mallex Smith, the first batter of the game, led off with a grounder that got through to center field when the infielders miscommunicated. Smith is fast, and wound up at second base. He then scored when Joey Wendle hit a ground-rule double up the first-base line. Kevin Kiermaier led off the 2nd with a single, advancing to second when Kevin Pillar misplayed the ball. Keirmaier then stole third, putting him in position to be driven in by a Willy Adames groundout.


Ryne Stanek was giving the task of ‘opening’ the game for the Rays. He threw an inning and a third, departing with runners on first and second thanks to a Teoscar Hernandez leadoff double, and a Kendrys Morales walk. He’d gotten one second-inning out before leaving the game – Yangervis Solarte began the at-bat, then had to leave the game after experiencing pain mid-swing. Richard Urena took over with a two-strike count, and whiffed, but the strikeout was charged to Solarte. Diego Castillo hit Russell Martin with a pitch, loading the bases with one out. A foul flyout and a groundout meant the Blue Jays didn’t accomplish anything. Gaviglio went on to strand a two-out single in the 3rd, and a leadoff double from Ji-Man Choi in the 4th. Jaime Schultz took over for Castillo beginning the bottom of the 5th, and allowed a home run to Aledmys Diaz, the first batter he saw. Devon Travis also singled that inning, but got no farther than first base.


Jamie Garcia completed the 6th, stranding the runner after Gaviglio allowed a one-out single to C.J. Cron. Morales hit into a double play, erasing a leadoff walk, in the Blue Jays’ half of the frame. Jake Petricka stranded a pair in the 7th, then the Jays made a pair of baserunning gaffes. Russell Martin led off with a single, but was thrown out at second during attempted hit-and-run play. Pillar walked, but was picked off of first base. Ryan Tepera allowed the final Rays run on a pair of hits in the 9th. Adames led off with a single, then advanced on a groundout, and Jesus Sucre singled to center field. The ball was thrown to the plate too late, and Adames scored, but Martin fired to second base in time to catch Sucre advancing. The Blue Jays recorded five hits (Tampa had 10) and stranded the same number of runners.



Game 3: Sunday, August 12th
JAYS WIN!!! 2-1
Starting Pitcher: Marcus Stroman
Winning Pitcher: Jaime Garcia
Save: Ken Giles


Marcus Stroman was in the middle of an absolute gem when he was lifted after the 5th for a recurring blister issue. He’d thrown 76 pitches up to that point, and allowed one run on five hits and a walk. The game was scoreless through three innings, despite both teams getting the leadoff man aboard early on. Ji-Man Choi led off the 2nd with a single, was out on a forceout that was nearly a double play. Then another single and a forceout pushed that runner to third, before Stroman fielded a comebacker to end the inning. Russell Martin led off the 3rd with a first-pitch double off Tyler Glasnow, but was stranded there.


Joey Wendle led off the 4th with a single for the Rays, advanced on a groundout that Martin rolled to field at third base, and scored on a single from Willy Adames. In the bottom of the frame, Devon Travis led off with a line-drive single to center field, and stole second, but was stranded on third after a pair of strikeouts. Michael Perez led off the 5th with a double, then Stroman fielded a bunt from Mallex Smith and wheeled to third, throwing Perez out. He finished the inning by inducing a double play.


The Blue Jays scored both of their runs in the 6th, when Luke Maile led off with a walk, and Kevin Pillar pinch-hit for Curtis Granderson, hitting a double. Maile scored on another single from Travis, and with one out, Randal Grichuk hit a tapper out in front of home plate, fielded by the catcher. Pillar paused, midway down the third-base line, giving Perez time to throw to first base, before dashing home and scoring safely with a gutsy slide. The safe call was upheld on review. Travis was then thrown out attempting to steal third, to end the inning. Danny Barnes threw the 7th and got two outs, before allowing a walk and a single to the eight- and nine-hitters. That required Tyler Clippard to come in and rescue him. Ryan Tepera had an uneventful five-pitch 8th, then Ken Giles picked up his first save as a Blue Jay, retiring the side on nine pitches, including a strikeout.



Overall Notes:

The Blue Jays called up catching prospect Danny Jansen on Sunday. He did not appear in Sunday’s game, but will be scheduled to start on Monday, catching another prospect, Sean Reid-Foley. Jansen was called up to replace Yangervis Solarte, who was placed on the DL with a strained oblique. The Triple-A manager told Jansen, when he pulled him from the game on Saturday, “Kid, you’re going to the big leagues. I don’t ever want to see you back down here again.”


Weirdly Specific Record Alert:

  • Justin Smoak went 0-for-4 on Tuesday, ending his hitting streak at 13 games. It was the longest active streak in the majors, and the longest by a Blue Jays hitter this season.


My favourite player(s) this series: Gaviglio/Stroman/Garcia

Sam Gaviglio has been better in home games than road games, and although it was abbreviated, his start on Saturday was in line with that. He only allowed one run that was earned, gave up six hits in 5 ⅓ innings, and didn’t walk anyone. His seven strikeouts was one off from his season high – which had been accomplished in 7 ⅔ innings.


Marcus Stroman didn’t let a blister stop him from a great (if short) outing. In five innings, he allowed just one run, on one walk, struck out two, and allowed five hits. He also made a couple of defensive plays that certainly proved how deserving he was of the Gold Glove Award last year.


Jaime Garcia has struggled at times since being placed in the bullpen, but he hasn’t allowed an earned run in four appearances in the month of August, two of which came in this series. He entered with one on and one out on Saturday, stranded the runner and got a strikeout. Then he threw a perfect 11-pitch inning on Sunday, striking out two more. He was the pitcher of record when the Jays scored the go-ahead run, so he also collected his first win since April 17th.


Where we are now:
53-64, .453
4th in the AL East, 30.5 games back of Boston


The Blue Jays will travel next to Kansas City for a four-game set. When the Royals were in town in April, the Blue Jays swept them in three games. The Royals currently have a 35-82 record, second-worst in the American League (the Orioles are 35-84). Sean Reid-Foley will make his first big-league start on Monday, facing off against Brad Keller. Reid-Foley has an ERA of 2.98 across two levels of the minors this season (he made 8 starts at Double-A, and 15 at Triple-A). Keller is also a rookie, with a 3.57 ERA, and was in the bullpen when the Blue Jays last saw him.


Another rookie-rookie matchup is set for Tuesday night, with Ryan Borucki facing Heath Fillmyer. Fillmyer was in the bullpen earlier in the season, but has since made five starts – the most recent of which was 7 scoreless innings against the Cubs. Marco Estrada and Sam Gaviglio round out the Jays’ projected starters for the rest of the series.


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