Photo credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
It wasn’t easy, especially at the end, but the Blue Jays hung on to complete a win this evening in Colorado, winning a series in Denver for the first time ever, and pulling even with the idle Red Sox in the AL Division standings.
The club had lost six of eight after dropping the first game of the series, and hoo boy, did that ever get the dimwits all set to crawl back out from under their rocks. But a pair of wins later — a convincing one in the middle of the night on Tuesday, after a nearly three-hour hail delay, and today’s stroll-turned-nail-biter — and things again feel pretty good.
And they’ll probably keep on feeling good until we turn our attention the buzzsaw about to come at the Jays in the form of four home games against Cleveland (who have gone 19-6 so far in the month of June, opening up a six game lead in the AL Central). Or until we have to think about the possibility of Aaron Sanchez, who was outstanding once again today (and continues to be everything we hoped Marcus Stroman would be this year), having to be moved to the bullpen due to innings limits, fear of fatigue, or whatever term they end up calling it. Orrrrrrr until we remember the bullpen in general, how disappointing it has been, and how John Gibbons was so afraid of going to it that he gave away an out — having Sanchez bat for himself with two on and none out in the top of the eighth, despite having no intention of allowing him to actually swing — in order to let his young, innings-limited starter, who now is fourth in the AL in total innings pitched, take the ball in the eighth.
But hey, it all worked out this time. Barely.
Even just getting Sanchez to that eighth inning looked dicey. In the bottom of the seventh he needed a ground ball — one of a veritable shit-tonne of them he induced on the day — off the bat of Ryan Raburn for a 4-6-3 double play to snuff out the threat caused by the single and two walks he’d given up to that point in the frame. And that was nothing compared to the wild ninth! Roberto Osuna — closer in a non-save situation! — needed to face eight batters in order to close out the game, making what was originally a 5-1 lead an 5-3 win, and leaving the bases loaded in the process. (Not to mention leaving the Rockies absolutely fuming after an utterly ridiculous strike call to end the game from home plate umpire Nic Lentz, who ruled that Cristhian Adames didn’t check his swing — though it totally looked to me like he did — and didn’t bother to ask the third base umpire for help. Holy shit, if that happened to us, Blue Jays Twitter would have exploded like it was… well… Hockey Twitter most days).
Fun! Except for a minute there it totally wasn’t! Which was a shame, because this one was all good vibes for most of it, as Sanchez friggin’ cruised. To wit:
The Gibby/Sanchez bond is undeniable. pic.twitter.com/EDTnXCJp9d
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) June 29, 2016
@GraffAttack was listening to the Rockies’ radio feed, and said that they called it the best pitching performance against the club this year, which… is pretty impressive, if a little dubious.
But anyway! More production from Donaldson, and Edwin, and Tulo, and another series win. I can’t complain about that.
Bring on the Clevelands!