For the second year in a row, the Jays were shut out by their opponent in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, this time by former Cy Young winner Cory Kluber.
The Jays certainly had their chances to score. In each of the first three innings, they managed to get two runners on base, but failed to come up with that big hit to break the game open. Kluber worked his way out of danger, which excellent pitchers like himself tend to do, eventually found a rhythm, and cruised the rest of the way.
Marco Estrada pitched an excellent game, tossing eight strong innings and making only one mistake to Francisco Lindor in the seventh inning that resulted in Cleveland’s only two runs. Unfortunately, Estrada was given literally zero room for error, as Kluber and the back-end of Cleveland’s bullpen shut the Jays down.
It wasn’t ideal, but it certainly isn’t the end of the world, either. From a Cleveland perspective, you pretty much have to win both of your Kluber starts, because after him, the rotation becomes a lot more dicey.
Josh Tomlin, Trevor Bauer, and Mike Clevenger. That’s who Cleveland will be tossing out there for the second, third, and fourth games of the series, which still puts the Jays a nice position to take control of this series despite getting shut out last night.
But as we know, things are far from certain in baseball, and that sentiment is amplified further in the playoffs. Tomlin and Bauer were supposed to be the easy wins for the Red Sox in the ALDS, but they both managed to completely shut Boston down.
And if the Jays do get dropped again today and allow Cleveland to take a 2-0 lead in the series, they’ll be in a rough position, as 27 teams have dropped the first two games of a seven-game ALCS, and only three have ever managed to come back and advance.
News and Scuttlebutt
Josh Tomlin, on having to replace Trevor Bauer as Game 2 starter after Bauer cut his pinky finger repairing one of his drones: pic.twitter.com/TQrXzz3VCt
— John Lott (@LottOnBaseball) October 14, 2016
Trevor Bauer was scheduled to start today’s game, but he hurt his finger fooling around with a drone, so Josh Tomlin, who was scheduled to go on Monday, will fill in. Welcome to 2016.
Jays may soon reach crossroad with Devon Travis, who hit .300, 11 HR this season: If they take him off roster this round, ineligible for WS.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 15, 2016
Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis on how he felt coming into tonight’s game, and how he felt coming out of it: pic.twitter.com/2n5VctXbTS
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) October 15, 2016
The Devon Travis conundrum is still raging, as the second baseman was forced to leave yesterday’s game in the fifth inning after covering first base on a ground out play. John Gibbons added Ryan Goins to the roster for this exact reason, as there was always uncertainty as to whether Travis’s health would hold up for the entirety of a seven-game series.
Travis is going for an MRI today, and the Jays will make a decision after the results are in as to whether they’ll be able to keep Travis on the roster or not. As Buster Olney says above, if the Jays remove Travis due to injury and replace him with, say, Justin Smoak, he can’t return for the World Series, if the Jays make it that far.
According to multiple Jays beat writers, Devon Travis has been removed from the ALCS roster, meaning his playoffs are over. To nobody’s surprise, he’ll be replaced by Justin Smoak, giving the Jays a pinch hit option for Darwin Barney or Ryan Goins in late-inning situations.
— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) October 15, 2016
With 2+ runners on since Sept:
Tulo: .438/.500/.813 1K in 18PA
Russ: .048/.250/.190 6K in 28PA
— James G (@james_in_to) October 15, 2016
After last night’s game, Johan Keri asked why John Gibbons has consistently opted to bat Russell Martin ahead of Troy Tulowitzki in the batting despite his poor offensive production. And, well, apparently Gibby is a fan of Jonah, or he’s an active user of Twitter, because the two will swap places today.
— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) October 15, 2016
Blue Jays: Zeke Carrera LF, Josh Donaldson 3B, Edwin Encarnacion 1B, Jose Bautista RF, Troy Tulowitzki SS, Russell Martin C, Michael Saunders DH, Kevin Pillar CF, Darwin Barney 2B
J.A. Happ: 20-4, 3.18 ERA, 3.96 FIP, 1.169 WHIP, 7.8 H9, 2.8 BB9, 7.5 SO9
Cleveland: Rajai Davis CF, Jason Kipnis 2B, Francisco Lindor SS, Mike Napoli DH, Carlos Santana DH, Jose Ramirez 3B, Brandon Guyer LF, Lonnie Chissenhall RF, Roberto Perez C
Josh Tomlin: 13-9, 4.40 ERA, 4.88 FIP, 1.190 WHIP, 9.7 H9, 1.0 BB9, 6.1 SO9
This is a pitching matchup that most certainly favours the Jays. Josh Tomlin allows a lot of contact, pitches in the zone, doesn’t walk anybody, and gets murdered by right-handed hitters, sporting a .269/.291/.487 slash line against them. That said, Tomlin was quite solid against the Red Sox, surrendering only two runs over five innings, and that damn good bullpen carried them the rest of the way, so the Jays absolutely need to jump on him early before Terry Francona can throw Andrew Miller and friends at them.