We’ve got ourselves a win! After almost entirely forgetting what it exactly feels like to enjoy victory, the boys in blue put together a non-shitty outing against a division rival. Riding the back of an excellent JA Happ start, the offense even decided to put some runs on the board and take a lead early. A four run third inning was all it would take to even up the series with the Yanks, with only an Aaron Judge solo shot putting the Yankees on the board. Of note, Jose Bautista reached a milestone today as well, knocking in his 900th RBI of his career. A win and a big day for one of the best Jays ever. I’ll take it!
The blue jays won, here are smiley faces that convey meaning:
— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) July 4, 2017
Starting Pitchers Lines:
JA Happ (W): 6 IP 4 H 1 R 1 ER 2 BB 6 SO
C.C. Sabathia (L): 2.2 IP 3 H 4 R 4 ER 3 BB 1 SO
Cheers! (to the Jay that gave them the best chance to win):
Starting pitching was the key in this one, and damn is JA Happ on a roll. Rolling into today with a 61% WPA in his last four, Happ built on that even more leading the Jays with a 22.9% WPA.
Jeers…. (to the Jay that hurt their chances the most):
Steve Pearce was the guilty party this afternoon in a game that saw only three Blue Jays have a negative two percent or lower WPA. Pearce’s 0 for 3 day led to him to a team worst -4.6%.
The lineup as a whole wasn’t the driving force behind the Jays victory tonight, but they still put together a positive outing. The guys at the dish would put together a 12.1% WPA, helping push the Jays towards the W.
The pitching contribution was the one that proved to be rock solid again for Toronto. With JA Happ leading the way as the best Jay, the bullpen all added in postitive WPA numbers as well, bringing the staff total to an impressive 37.9% WPA.
Highest Leverage At Bat:
In the top of the third today, things looked bleak with Sabathia rolling, until Darwin Barney of all people broke through with a two out walk. From there on out the inning blew up on Sabathia, peaking with all star Justin Smoak at the plate with the bases loaded. The Jays up 1-0 at the time with two outs in the inning, the result could have ranged anywhere from a miraculous escape of the inning with limited damage to a Smoak bomb to blow things wide open. As a result, the leverage index locked in at 2.75. The result was much more bland, however, as Sabathia would walk Smoak, tacking on a run to put the Jays up 2-0.
Highest Leverage Opponent At Bat:
The highest leverage Yankee at bat came late in the game this afternoon. Dominic Leone entered the game in relief of JA Happ to start the bottom of the seventh. A lead off walk then put Chris Carter on, and brought Ronald Torreyes to the plate. With the Yankees only down three, and an opportunity to bring the tying run to the plate late with none away, the Torreyes at bat registered in at a 1.97 LI. Fortunately for the Jays, Leone settled in and got Torreyes to fly out.
Highest Impact At Bat:
The highest impact at bat for the Jays came with Kendrys Morales stepping up to the plate. Two runs had already scored, but the bases remained loaded with two outs for the Jays DH. The opportunity for Morales to bust things open was prime for the taking. Morales didn’t falter, singling to left scoring both Russell Martin and Jose Bautista. The two run single added a 13% chance to the Jays hopes of a win.
Highest Impact Opponent At Bat:
Despite the loss today, the highest impact Yankee at bat would still have a positve result. The Yankees now down 4-0, Aaron Judge led off the inning against JA Happ. Striking out once against Happ already, it was Judge’s turn to do some damage. Big number 99 absolutey destroyed a ball 456 feet to dead center with an exit velocity of 118 mph. The solo rip brought the Yankees within three and was worth 7.1% towards the Yankees shot at a win.
The Jays take on the Yankees for the rubber match in another afternoon game. In an attempt to win their first series since the June 9-12th set against the Mariners, Marco Estrada (4.86 ERA) takes the mound.
(h/t to fangraphs.com for WPA chart and statistics)