Baseball gives and baseball takes away. The events of this past week are a prefect example of that sentiment.
On Tuesday night, baseball gave. After looking completely hopeless at the plate for 14 consecutive innings in The Bronx, the Jays rallied back from a 6-0 deficit with a 12-run explosion in the final four innings of the game. It was one of those holy shit Father stretch my arms into the light this team could win a goddamn World Series moment that had us all feeling warm and bubbly inside.
Then, yesterday, baseball took away.
The Jays trotted out their Quadruple-A lineup to back their sixth starter in what was essentially a throwaway game in Cleveland. Francisco Liriano had an excellent start, and the Jays carried a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning, where, just two outs away from sealing the win, the usually automatic Roberto Osuna allowed a solo home run to Jose Ramirez.
Then, immediately after, Tyler Naquin smashed a ball to right field that didn’t quite clear the wall. But it didn’t have to because Michael Saunders and Melvin Upton Jr. kicked the ball around in the outfield enough for Naquin to round the bases for a walk-off inside the park home run.
What. The. Fuck.
Obviously it’s a damn shame that the Jays managed to blow a game with their junk lineup and sixth starter pitching, because getting wins that you don’t expect feel even better than the rest of them. But there are certainly positives to garner from last night, even though it’s being buried in the Games I Drink Because I Want To Forget binder.
Most notably, Fransisco Liriano looked like 2013-15 ace Fransisco Liriano, which is excellent. Over six innings, Liriano allowed one unearned run on four hits and two walks while striking out seven.
Yes, absolutely, yesterday’s loss is up there with the most gut-wrenching, vomit-inducing defeats of the season, there’s no doubt about it. I think I would rather watch the 2016 Tampa Bay Rays win back-to-back blowouts and be burned alive by awful takes about how the season is over in mid-May than that travesty ever again!
But hey! That’s the cool thing about baseball. You can watch you team get three-hit some random-ass B level rookie starter and then watch them score 12 runs in four innings the next day and win in a blowout. For the most part, it tends to balance out.
And let’s face it: Cleveland is a good team. Think about those amazing some-from-behind miracle wins we’ve witnessed in the past calendar year. There was another team on the other side of those wins, a team of professional athletes that lost and a fanbase full of glum fans who just witnessed the end of the world in that moment. Baseball takes away and baseball gives.
And it’s not like the team is rolling out a Zeke Carrera batting second lineup, or something like that today, right?!
News and Scuttlebutt
— Andrew Stoeten (@AndrewStoeten) August 20, 2016
If my words weren’t able to get you feeling better about the realities of putting your happiness into the box of random chance that is baseball, Stoeten has you covered!
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) August 20, 2016
Shi Davidi wrote an article for Sportsnet about the Blue Jays’ recent front office shake up that saw multiple members of the team’s scouting department fired. General Manager Ross Atkins discussed how the moves were the result of the organization’s leadership change and also stated that these decisions didn’t have anything to do with the 2016 draft at all. I can’t remember who it was, but someone Tweeted the other day that within a year of a major leadership change within an organization, you’ll see over half of the people who answer to those leaders gone. So this shouldn’t be much of a surprise as the Jays continue to slowly shift in accordance to Mark Shapiro’s leadership and vision.
Aug 20: Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) send OF Kevin Pillar on a rehab assignment to Dunedin Blue Jays (A-Adv). #bluejays
— Blue Jays Moves (@BlueJaysMoves) August 20, 2016
In injury news, Kevin Pillar is starting his rehab stint with the Single-A Jays and is eligible to return on Tuesday. Still no word on Jose Bautista, though.
Blue Jays: Devon Travis 2B, Zeke Carrera LF, Edwin Encarnacion 1B, Russell Martin C, Troy Tulowitzki, DH, Michael Saunders RF, Melvin Upton Jr CF, Darwin Barney 3B, Ryan Goins SS
Aaron Sanchez: 12-2, 2.84 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 1.155 WHIP, 7.7 H9, 2.7 BB9, 7.5 SO9
Clevelanders: Carlos Santana DH, Jason Kipnis 2B, Fransisco Lindor SS, Mike Naploli 1B, Jose Ramirez 3B, Lonnie Chisenhall RF, Tyler Naquin CF, Abraham Almonte LF, Chris Gimenez C
Josh Tomlin: 11-6, 4.14 ERA, 4.94 FIP, 1.175 WHIP, 9.5 H9, 1.1 BB9, 6.3 SO9
When trying to forget about a hideous loss from the night before, I can’t think of anybody else I would rather have take the mound than Aaron Sanchez. Unfortunately, due to the wide array of bumps and bruises the team has, the lineup is most certainly sub-optimal. But Troy Tulowitzki is back, so that’s a nice bonus! Also, Josh Tomlin isn’t the best, and since he allows a tremendous amount of contact and doesn’t really strike anybody out, he should actually be a perfect match-up for a Jays lineup that is striking out at a historic rate right now.