Game Threat: The Series Win Is Up For Sale!, Blue Jays (41-35) vs White Sox (37-38)

If you want to feel bad about the Jays dropping Friday’s winnable game, just look at how many times a team has allowed seven home runs in a game and managed to come out of it with a victory. Baseball is kinda fucked like that. Today, in the rubbermatch, we have Chris Sale against *gasp* Marcus Stroman! Uh oh! (Also, my lord, what a terrible headline that was)

Yesterday

After, let’s be honest, a kinda dull game in the series opener — if you like offence, at least — Saturday’s matinee certainly made up for it. The Jays grabbed a quick 5-0 in the first two innings, backed by doubles from Edwin Encarnacion, Michael Saunders, and Troy Tulowitzki, then a two-run home run from Devon Travis. This was a pretty nice change of scenery for starter R.A. Dickey, who had only been given two runs of support combined in his previous two starts. 

In the bottom of the second, Dickey allowed three-consecutive home runs with two outs. It began with Brett Lawrie, who looks ridiculously thin/wears glasses now, smacking some strange inside-the-park home run that appeared to have been a standard past-the-yellow-line home run anyway? After that, another former Blue Jay, Dioner Navarro, clubbed a liner into some patio area (?)  in right field. Then, to top it off, Dickey let J.B. Shuck drill his first home run of the season to centre field, bringing the game back to 5-3. 

Of course, this was all fine, because Miguel Gonzalez was pitching for the White Sox, meaning runs weren’t going to be difficult to come by. In the fourth, the bases were loaded by a Ryan Goins single, Josh Thole walk (!), and a Zeke Carrera single before Josh Donaldson took a ballsy bases loaded walk on a full count to drive a run in. After that, Edwin smacked a single to bring two more runners home, making it 8-5. 

So for the second time in the game, the Jays had a five-run lead, but the White Sox managed to claw back, almost completely through the use of the solo home run. Brett Lawrie hit a homer in the sixth inning, which was apparently the first time in his big league career that he’s had a multi-homer game, which is kinda nuts. In the seventh, Time Anderson hit a solo jack, then Alex Avila joined the party in the eighth. By this point, heading into the top of the ninth, it was 8-7. 

Knowing that the White Sox were probably good for another homer or two, the Jays rallied to score another couple of runs off of a Donaldson single, Edwin double, Saunders reaching on an error, and a Tulo double. And thank the fucking lord they managed to extended their lead, because, as we all expected, even though Roberto Osuna was pitching, the Sox earned their SEVENTH home run of the game when Adam Eaton hit a liner to centre field. Osuna ended up getting former Jay Melky Cabrera to ground into a game-ending double play, but wow. 

That game felt, uh, kinda flukey, to be honest. How do you allow seven home runs and come away with a victory? Well, ya really don’t, as the Jays became just the third team to allow that many jacks in a contest and still emerge victorious. So next time you get angry at a bad loss, like one where they strand the bases loaded with one out in the ninth, for example, think back to this gem, where the White Sox only managed to score eight runs despite hitting seven homers. Yeesh. 

News and Scuttlebutt 

According to New York Post reporter Joel Sherman, the Blue Jays have zero intent in signing Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion at the end of the season. Ian Hunter goes into some more detail about this report on his website, but really, this isn’t much different than anything we’ve heard at this point in time. All we can really do is wait until the end of the season, and try to enjoy each of them while we still can, because you never know what’s going to happen. 

Damn, that sucks. I didn’t mention it in the part above because I knew I would talk about it again down here, but Gavin Floyd pulled himself from yesterday’s game after coming up in pain after a pitch in the sixth inning. As we all know, Floyd has had a hell of a time with injuries throughout his career, as the lefty has had Tommy John surgery back in 2013, but thankfully, this injury isn’t related to his elbow. 

In the corresponding roster move, Bo Schultz will make his way back to the Blue Jays for the first time since last season. Schultz had a pretty successful season for the Jays last year, but kinda disappeared when he pushed down in the depth chart after the acquisitions of Mark Lowe and LaTroy Hawkins at the trade deadline. Also, over the offseason, Schultz had hip surgery, and since returning, he’s pitched 17 innings at Triple-A Buffalo, posting a 4.24 ERA. 

Today 

Blue Jays: Travis 2B, Donaldson 3B, Encarnacion 1B, Saunders LF, Martin C, Tulowitzki DH, Pillar CF, Lake RF, Barney SS

Marcus Stroman — 6-3, 5.23 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 1.38 WHIP, 9.9 H9, 2.5 BB9, 6.3 SO9 

White Sox: Anderson SS, Eaton RF, Abreu 1B, Cabrera LF, Fraizer DH, Avila C, Lawrie 2B, Shuck CF, Saladino 3B

Sale — 12-2, 2.83 ERA, 3.29 FIP, 0.990 WHIP, 7.1 H9, 1.8 BB9, 8.7 SO9 

Marcus Stroman hasn’t had a good start against a legitimate Major League lineup (because no, Minnesota and Philadelphia don’t count) since, well, like I don’t even know. His problems kind of came and went for the first few weeks of the season, but since getting absolutely drilled by the Tampa Bay Rays back in mid-May, Stroman has been consistently bad. 

Last Sunday, the Stro Show only lasted for three-and-two-thirds innings before coming to an end, as the Orioles tagged him for seven runs on ten hits. And as you can see by his regular season totals above, these starts have certainly accumulated, as Stroman has some of the worst stats of any American League starting pitchers this season. 

And on the complete opposite side of that spectrum is White Sox starter Chris Sale, who can’t do anything wrong. Sale leads the majors in wins and innings pitched, and while he’s striking out fewer batters than he usually had been throughout his career, he’s allowing a lot of soft and ground ball contact, which certainly bodes well for his success. Too bad they didn’t end up with Deck McGuire, hey! 

Anyways, this’ll be a tough game for the Jays. Sale is, well, pretty fucking amazing, and Stroman, err, has been the opposite as of late. It would be great to see Marcus make an adjustment and go back to the fastball and cutter heavy approach he used last year, because his other stuff has been batting practice this year.