Game Threat: Holes In Their Bats? Which Team Are We Talking About? Blue Jays (34-30) vs Orioles (36-25)

Yesterday’s game was one of those ones that made it feel like 2015 again. A decent start from a pitcher, working his way in and out of trouble all afternoon, runs here and there, and then bam, a huge inning, promptly followed by some shaky relief pitching, and then bam again, another big inning, and an 11-6 win. 

The Jays will look to continue their recent dominance against AL East opponents and grab their third-consecutive win against the Orioles today, so hopefully for their sake (not actually, thoyugh, vecause fuck Baltimore) Ubaldo Jimenez is able to find these holes in the Jays’ bats that Mike Wright was yammering on about yesterday.

Yesterday

J.A. Happ got the start yesterday afternoon looking to rebound after a pretty rough outing earlier this week in Detroit against the right-handed heavy Tigers lineup. Through the first three innings, he looked fantastic, allowing two singles but coming nowhere close to allowing any damage. 

In the fourth, though, he ran into some difficulty, as Joey Rickard, who apparently learns how to hit immediately when facing the Blue Jays, and Chris Davis each homered to tie the game at 3-3. Happ pulled it together in the fifth, before running into more trouble in the sixth, allowing a leadoff home run to Manny Machado, followed by a double to Davis, which he would strand. 

By this point, the Jays were having a pretty good time with Orioles starter Mike Wright, largely because he wasn’t able to find the supposed “holes” in their bats (more on this later). Through five innings, they scored three runs off of him on five hits and five walks, including a few other balls that were hammered to the outfield for outs. Despite that, and the fact he was up over 100 pitchers, Buck Schowalter figured it would be a good idea to keep him in the game regardless. Of course, the realistic way to look at this is that the Orioles bullpen is exhausted because their starters very infrequently give them an opportunity to rest, but since this is the gargabe ass shit birds and their jackass manager we’re talking about here, it’s more fun to hammer this on poor decision making. 

Kevin Pillar led off the bottom of the sixth with a single off of Wright, who was pulled for T.J. McFarland, who quickly allowed another single to Darwin Barney. At this point, Gibby decided to put his manager hat on and really start wheeling and dealing with that three player bench he has at his disposal, using the right-handed Devon Travis to pinch hit for the left-handed Ryan Goins, and 56 wRC+ bat of Russell Martin to hit for the, uh, 4 wRC+ bat of Josh Thole. And it worked out perfectly! Travis tied the game with a deep sac fly, then Martin managed a walk before Zeke Carrera loaded the bases with a walk of his own, then Josh Donaldson gave the Jays the lead with a sac fly to centre field. 

This seemed like the kind of opportunity that would perfectly personify the divide between the 2015 Blue Jays and the 2016 Blue Jays, in that this year’s rendition of the lineup has suddenly become allergic to kicking the door down and having a huge inning. But fortunately for the Jays, Edwin Encarnacion is about to go off on one of his nuclear streaks where he pounds fucking everything thrown at him. Also, thankfully, Schowalter, who is actually a pretty bad manager for somebody who is considered by many to be a fantastic one, kept McFarland in the game to face Edwin, who had either drilled the ball or taken a walk is his previous five at bats. All this led to Edwin pounding an absolute bomb to left field, giving the Jays an 8-4 lead. 

The Orioles threatened in the top of the eighth, though, as Joe Biagini, who’s been having a pretty rough time recently, allowed three singles (one of them was terribly misplayed by Michael Saunders, to be fair) and a walk without retiring a batter. Gibby brought in Gavin Floyd, which was somewhat terrifying, considering the fact he’s been susceptible to the long ball recently, and the tying run was at the plate. Uhhhh. Floyd got the first out of the inning on a sac fly by Jonathan Schoop, then he proceeded to walk Hyun-Soo Kim to load the bases again before getting out of the inning on a double play ball from backup catcher Fransisco Pena (because apparently Schowalter was keeping the superior hitting Matt Wieters for the next inning?? I don’t know?). 

Anyways, the crisis was averted, the Jays got the two runs they allowed in the inning back in their half when Edwin and Saunders clubbed back-to-back solo shots, then Jason Grilli came in to close out the game (with a five run lead), struck out the side, and got really fired the fuck up, which was awesome. 


Source: FanGraphs

The star of the game, obviously was Edwin, as he singlehandedly spiked the winning probability chart with his double and two home runs. Also, Floyd’s inning of relief was critical in not letting the Orioles climb their way back into the game, which, as Pat Tabler will most certainly let us know many, many times throughout the broadcast, is something they are absolutely capable of doing. Ryan Goins, Darwin Barney, Zeke Carrera, and Kevin Pillar each had positive contributions, combining for six hits and two walks, continuously setting the table for when Edwin made his way up to the plate. 

News and Scuttlebutt 

I’m using my tweet here to encapsulate exactly how I reacted when I saw that quote from Mike Wright after the game. I read it, with sort of a blank expression, thought about it for a second, then before I could really figure out what or why the fuck a mediocre pitcher like Wright would shit-mouth one of the best hitters in the league, I a had a good laugh out loud at it. I mean, sure, dude, you’re right. He has a lot of holes in his bat because he’s batting .240 *looks at Chris David/Adam Jones/JJ Hardy’s batting averages*. 

The Jays signed their second-round, power-hitting shortstop earlier today, which is great, because he’s a talent vastly above his draft position. Apparently he told multiple teams that he wasn’t interested in signing with them before the draft, but the Jays were a team he felt was a perfect fit for him. Anyways, here’s Gregor Chisholm with more on the draft. 

Today

Blue Jays: Aaron Sanchez — 5-1, 2.91 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 1.145 WHIP, 7.4 H9, 2.9 BB9, 8.5 SO9

Lineup: Zeke Carrera RF, Josh Donaldson DH, Edwin Encarnacion 1B, Michael Saunders LF, Russell Martin C, Kevin Pillar CF, Devon Travis 2B, Ryan Goins SS, Darwin Barney 3B

Earlier this week, Aaron Sanchez had the best pitching performance of his life against the Tigers in Detroit, but because baseball is cruel and unfair, he ended up allowing two earned runs in the ninth, ultimately coming up with nothing to show for it. Well, that isn’t really true. I mean, he didn’t get the win, but that’s kinda why we don’t give a shit about pitcher wins. Anyways, Sanchez will be in tough to repeat that performance today when he faces the Orioles, who, even though they’re trash, have a pretty loaded lineup, and they’re putting all the guns out today. 

Jose Bautista will miss his third consecutive game with that hip flexor injury, and Josh Donaldson needs a day off third, so the Jays have a bit of a soft lineup heading out there today. But hell, I said that about yesterday’s lineup, too, but they ended up having one of their best outputs of the season, so screw it! YCPB! Also, they’re facing a pitcher who has generally been junk this season. 

Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez — 3-6, 6.21 ERA, 4.48 FIP, 1.893 WHIP, 12.0 H9, 5.1 BB9, 7.5 SO9

Lineup: Adam Jones CF, HyunSoo Kim LF, Manny Machado SS, Chris Davis 1B, Mark Trumbo RF, Matt Wieters C, Pedro Alvarez DH, Jonathan Schoop 2B, Ryan Flaherty 3B

Holy crap, look at those numbers! Jimenez has been absolutely lit up this season, allowing nearly two baserunners per inning, largely because of his hits per nine totals are waaaaaaay above his career average. I noticed that his BABIP is up quite significantly from when he was good way way way back in the day, which is probably due to the fact his hard hit percentage line drive percentages have risen, too. So this is probably a game in which the Jays, specifically Edwin, can have a really good time!