Game 1: Tuesday, May 24th
Jays lose, 0-6
Losing Pitcher: R.A. Dickey
Well it’s easy for Dickey to earn the loss in a game where giving up just one run will do that. It’s also hard to win when the team has only two hits all game (they had more walks than hits, with four, plus a HBP) and strands four runners on base in the first three innings. Troy Tulowitzki had a single in the 2nd, and got all the way to third before the inning ended. He walked in the 7th, stole a base, but then was removed from the game after somehow hurting his leg. That meant we got to see Russell Martin: Infielder for a few innings (Darwin Barney had been pinch-hit for, and Ryan Goins replaced Tulo at short). Jose Bautista had another single in the 3rd, as well as a walk in the 8th.
The Yankees had a triple to lead off the game, which was driven in with two outs. They got a solo home run in the 4th, and Dickey only allowed one additional hit, and a walk, in the first 6 innings. In the 7th, a leadoff hit, 2-out walk, and a ground-rule double led to a third Yankee run scoring and Dickey being removed from the game. Joe Biagini came in and allowed an RBI single before ending the inning. Jesse Chavez loaded the bases with no outs in the 8th on a leadoff single and two walks. Pat Venditte allowed two of the inherited runners to score, leading to the final score of 6-0.
Game 2: Wednesday, May 25th
JAYS WIN!! 8-4
Winning Pitcher: Marco Estrada
It’s always a good sign when everyone in the lineup has at least one hit, right? The Jays accomplished exactly that in Devon Travis‘ first game back from rehabbing his shoulder. With eleven hits total, everyone contributed, and only two of the starting nine (Josh Donaldson and Ryan Goins) failed to score.
The last time Marco Estrada loaded the bases with no outs, it ended disastrously as he gave up a grand slam. Not so this time around, as a shallow pop-out, an RBI force-out, and another flyout allowed him to escape the 3rd with only one run scoring. He ended up going 7 innings, and allowed only four hits – but expressed concern postgame about his lack of control, which resulted in four walks. The Jays took the lead in the bottom of the 4th on back-to-back two-out infield hits to Kevin Pillar and Devon Travis, followed by a Goins double which drove them both in. Then, in the 6th, Russell Martin gave everyone what they’d been waiting for – his first home run of the season! 3-1 Blue Jays.
— ateDaryl (@ateDARYL) May 26, 2016
In the 7th, with two outs, Edwin Encarnacion was hit with a pitch. Then Michael Saunders drove him in with a home run. Justin Smoak hit a double, and Martin stepped up to the plate – and homered again! I like it when the Yankees try to use Chasen Shreve against the Blue Jays (he gave up both 7th-inning shots). It didn’t even matter that Estrada gave up back-to-back Yankee dingers to lead off the next inning, or that Dustin Ackley added another off Chad Girodo in the 9th. The Jays had padded their lead enough for none of those to be an issue – and won a game in which they gave up four runs for the first time all season.
Much like on Wednesday, the Yankees struck first – with a Starlin Castro homer in the 1st – but the Blue Jays took over the lead with two runs in the 3rd, and held onto it. Devon Travis reached on an error, and Jose Bautista singled. Josh Donaldson walked to load the bases, and Edwin Encarnacion drove in Bautista and Travis with a 2-out single.
Yankee starter C.C. Sabathia kept the Blue Jays off the base after that (save for hitting Michael Saunders with a pitch in the 6th). Bautista had a double in the 8th off Dellin Betances, but the Jays actually got half of their six hits for the day against closer Aroldis Chapman. Justin Smoak, Russell Martin, and Devon Travis each singled, and Travis got his first RBI of the season as Smoak scored. This game proved that it’s still possible to win with a small number of hits, as long as they’re put together at the right time.
Pitching also obviously helps win a game, as J.A. Happ gave up just one run (a solo homer), two additional hits, and struck out five in 7 innings. He looked to be in some trouble as he gave up two one-out singles in the 5th, but quickly got a double play to end the threat. Roberto Osuna closed out the game, shutting down Carlos Beltran, Alex Rodriguez and Brian McCann. Beltran wore the ‘golden sombrero’, as he struck out four times in the game.
Troy Tulowitzki appears to be hurt, as he left Tuesday’s game in the seventh inning, and sat Wednesday and Thursday. However, their decision to keep him day-by-day rather than placing him on the DL hopefully indicates it’s a minor thing and won’t necessitate too much time off.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- Michael Saunders and Russell Martin became the first two Canadian teammates in Blue Jays history to homer in the same game
- They’re also the first two Canadians in MLB history to homer in the same inning
- Saunders now has the most left-handed home runs off LHP this year, with 5.
My favourite player(s) this series: Travis/Martin/Happ/Osuna
The Jays gave me tons of reasons to smile this week, and Devon Travis was about half of them. Between getting a hit and scoring a run in each of his first two games back, and all the interviews he did upon his return, he brought some energy to the team. It’s great to see him back in a Blue Jay uniform and playing the game he loves.
Russell Martin has looked lost at the plate for much of the season, and while he didn’t get a hit on Thursday, he made up for it with his two-home run, three-RBI game on Wednesday. It’s good to see him returning to form, as one of his homers was to right field. Martin has said that it’s always a good sign for him when he hits to the opposite field. He didn’t start the game Tuesday, but capably took over at second base when he was needed.
J.A. Happ continues to impress. He went seven innings, allowed just three hits and as many walks. He was also remarkably efficient, as he only threw 96 pitches in that span.
Roberto Osuna achieved his 100th career strikeout this week, in Game 3. The victim? A-Rod. Osuna’s first career strikeout? Also A-Rod, also at Yankee Stadium, last April. He didn’t allow a hit or a walk in either of his outings this week, nor did he allow an inherited runner to score. He also struck out three of the five hitters he faced.
Where we are now:
3rd in the AL East, 6 games back of Boston
The bad news is, Tulo seems to be hurt, and they also need bullpen help (Pat Venditte was optioned when Travis returned, so they only have six relievers right now). Tulo either he needs to go on the DL, or get better so they can send one of Goins or Barney down to Buffalo. They’re also taking on the Red Sox next, who are the hottest team in the division at the moment and scoring runs like crazy.
The good news is, winning a few games in the division will do wonders for your place in the standings (especially when all four of the other AL East teams lost on Thursday). But they’ll have home field advantage in the next series, and who knows, maybe they can carry their momentum from this series home with them. As long as the starters hold up and can try to stifle the Boston bats, they have a fighting chance.
Also, oh yeah, DEVON TRAVIS IS BACK!!!!!
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