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Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

About Last Night… That Sweet Home Cookin

Finally back home following a horrendous road trip, the Jays looked to Francisco Liriano to get them off on the right foot against the A’s. Things didn’t start too great for Liriano however, walking the first two batters. Liriano escaped the inning with only one run against though after finding the zone, and with a little help from Rajai Davis running into an out at third. Down one the Jays bounced back immediately with a home run off the bat of Russell Martin.

Things stayed tied up at one until the fourth, where the Jays would capitalize on a couple of bases loaded opportunities (including another bases loaded hit from Ryan Goins, now just one off of the Blue Jays single season record) taking the lead 3-1. Oakland tried to pull themselves back into it with a Matt Chapman home run in the fifth, but it wouldn’t be enough. The Jays would tack on a bases loaded walk in the seventh, and the pen shut it down, including another save from Roberto Osuna.

Starting Pitchers Lines:

Francisco Liriano (W):  5 IP 2 H 2 R 2 ER 5 BB 1 SO

Chris Smith (L): 6 IP 6 H 3 R 3 ER 3 BB 2 SO

Cheers!

There was a lot of positive WPA scores for the Jays in last nights game, but the leader was Joe Biagini. Biagini’s two hitless and scoreless innings resulted in an added 17.8% to the Jays shot at a victory.

Jeers….

Only four players in last nights game hurt the Jays chance at a win, but the worst was Kevin Pillar. Superman’s -17.7%, was a big hit to the Jays chances and was also more than 10% worse than the next lowest contributor.

Lineup Contribution:

As a whole, the lineup had a very minimal contribution to the Jays odds of winning. Still, a positive is positive, and the bats added 9.4% to the Jays odds of defeating the A’s.

Pitching Contribution:

The Jays leaned heavily on their arms to get the win last night. Led by top contributor Joe Biagini, Liriano and the rest of the bullpen stepped up huge for the Jays, adding a full 40.6% chance to the Jays odds.

Highest Leverage At Bat:

The highest leverage at bat for the Jays came in the fourth inning against A’s starter Chris Smith. Smith juiced up the bases with only one away, and the game currently tied at one a piece. Ezequiel Carrera was the man to come to the plate with the opportunity to take a big lead, or alternatively the way things have been going hit into a double play to end the inning. The high-pressure situation was represented by a leverage index of 2.89, and Zeke didn’t let the team down. A single scored Josh Donaldson, put the Jays ahead, and handed the baton off to the next guy.

Highest Leverage Opponent At Bat:

In the bottom of the sixth, with the Jays only up by one, Rajai Davis would lead off the inning, putting the tieing run (with speed) at first base. Marcus Semien stepped up to the plate with a chance to get things rolling, or at the very least advance the runner into scoring position. Semien’s opportunity registered in at a leverage index of 2.37, for Oaklands highest pressure spot.

Highest Impact At Bat:

Unlike Oakland, the highest impact at bat for the Jays came separately from the highest leverage on the night. Oddly enough, it came very early, in the bottom of the first. A rough first inning from Liriano had the Jays down 1-0 early, but Russell Martin wouldn’t leave it that way for long. The second batter of the game for Jays, Martin smacked a blast into left center, grabbing the Jays by the bootstraps and added to their shot at a W by 10.2%

Highest Impact Opponent At Bat:

The highest leverage opponent at bat also quickly turned into the highest impact, with Joe Biagini getting Semien to ground into a double play. Erasing the lead off walk and getting the second out all in one pitch damaged Oakland’s chances by 12.2%, the biggest movement they’d see all game.

Up Next:

The Jays continue their series against Oakland tonight in an incredibly lopsided pitching matchup. Cesar Valdez toes the rubber for Toronto, with Sonny Gray on the mound for the A’s. Fun!

(h/t to fangraphs.com for WPA chart and statistics)