Game Threat: Open The Roof, The Rain Comes Down: Blue Jays (25-25) vs Red Sox (29-19)

Last night, the Toronto Raptors were pounded in the most important game in their 21-season franchise history by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final. Down the street, past the hundreds of fans at Jurassic Park, the Blue Jays were playing in what would ultimately be their final game of baseball outside of the city’s limelight. To be honest, it’s hard to say the Jays haven’t been in the limelight, considering last night’s game was played in front of a packed house, but you get the point. 

The Raptors are finished, the Leafs’ biggest moment of the summer came earlier this month at the NHL’s draft lottery, and, well, apologies to the Marlies and FC, but the Blue Jays are now officially the focus of the Toronto sports scene. What does that mean? Time to pull it together and play like the damn team they can be. And last night, they did a pretty damn good job of doing just that, which is hopefully a sign of things to come from this team who, let’s be honest, has had us biting our nails for most of this young season. 

Yesterday

The Jays embarked on a very, very crucial 12-game stretch earlier this week in New York, as all of their games over the next couple of weeks will be played against the Yankees and the division-leading Red Sox. All went well in the Bronx, as the Jays managed to grab two of three games thanks to some excellent pitching from J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada. But last night was the beginning of the more difficult part of that assignment, as the Red Sox and their seemingly unstoppable offence rolled into Toronto. 

This was definitely a game to win. The Raptors, while it wasn’t a foregone conclusion, were more than likely going to see their dream season come to an end, and the last thing anybody needed was a Jays loss to the fucking Red Sox to further compound that disappointment. 

Aaron Sanchez got the start for the Jays and pitched very well, much better than his line suggests he did. While six-and-two-thirds innings with five hits, two walks, and three earned runs seemed solid, Sanchez probably deserved a better fate, as the Sox didn’t muster much hard contact, instead generating their offence with timely, and, to be honest, pretty lucky, seeing-eye hits. 

In the second, Troy Tulowitzki tossed a routine grounder past Justin Smoak at first, allowing Travis Shaw to get to second to lead off the inning, and, of course, he came around to score after a couple of groundouts. Then in the fourth, the Sox smacked three straight hits off of Sanchez, two of which were really just nicely placed grounders, which earned them another run. Sanchez’s third earned run came in the seventh on another nicely hit single by Christian Vasquez that scored two runners. 

Joe Biagini came in relief of Sanchez to get the final out of the seventh, and then came out again to pitch the eighth where he was given a very unfortunate earned run and blown save thanks to a miscommunication by Kevin Pillar and Michael Saunders in the outfield. It was called a double for Dustin Pedroia, who eventually came around to score on a single by Shaw, but, it really wasn’t anything more than terrible fielding. 

But Josh Donaldson was going to drag the Jays through the mud to a win regardless, either because he desperately wanted to ensure Biagini was credited with a win, or because he wanted Toronto to be able to take solace in the Jays after a Raptors loss, or simply because the roof was finally open at the Dome and he could officially bring the rain, I don’t know, but he had, in my opinion, his first Most Valuable Player game of the 2016 season. 

Donaldson clubbed an opposite field two-run home run just over the wall in right, giving the Jays a 7-5 lead, which added to an already impressive game that featured a first inning solo home run, an RBI double in the third, and an RBI, bases loaded infield single in the fourth. Aside from a Justin Smoak bomb, Donaldson drove in all the Jays runs last night, which was a damn sight to behold, considering the former MVP hadn’t really been himself through the first 49 games of the season. 

News and Scuttlebutt

Aaaaaaaand there it is. Just when we thought we were going to see the Jays’ A lineup, they place Troy Tulowitzki on the 15-day DL. This isn’t all that surprising, considering he looked pretty rough last night, with that ugly throw in the first inning and the four strikeouts.


Maybe they can play P.K. Subban at short? Eh, but a lot of stupid fans tell me he’s poor defensively, so maybe not. 

This was pretty hilarious, if you missed it, Jose Bautista served his suspension by introducing Kevin “I catch everything” Pillar on the PA system. Some people on twitter are bitching about him breaking somehorseshit rule that they ultimately shouldn’t care abut whatsoever, because, well, people suck! Anyways, Jose is fantastic, and the next time he takes to the PA system, I hope it’s to announce a new contract with the Jays. 

Today

Marcus Stroman will get the ball for the Blue Jays today, coming off arguably his best start of the season last weekend in Minnesota in which he allowed just three hits and one run in seven-and-a-third innings of work. He’s faced the Red Sox once this season, and that came all the way back in the #HomeOpener, where he was charged for five earned runs thanks largely to Jesse Chavez allowing a grand slam immediately after coming in relief. Anyways, we all know Boston can score runs, so Stroman will have to have his best stuff today. 

The Sox will send out Rick Porcello, who’s having a pretty nice rebound season after being complete trash last year. Porcello is sporting a 3.47 ERA this season through nine starts while striking out a career-high 8.5 batters per nine innings. That said, his last two starts have been two of his worst, as he’s failed to go further than five-and-two-thirds innings since early May. Also, in his careers against the Jays, Porcello has a 5.26 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 14 starts. 

Blue Jays

Jose Bautista (R) RF
Josh Donaldson (R) 3B
Edwin Encarnacion (R) DH
Michael Saunders (L) LF
Justin Smoak (S) 1B
Russell Martin (R) C
Devon Travis (R) 2B
Darwin Barney (R) SS
Kevin Pillar (R) CF

Red Sox 

Mookie Betts (R) RF
Dustin Pedroia (R) 2B
Xander Bogaerts (R) SS
David Ortiz (L) DH
Hanley Ramirez (R) 1B
Jackie Bradley (L) CF
Travis Shaw (L) 3B
Chris Young (R) LF
Christian Vazquez (R) C