Hey, there it is! A nice little win to open up the month of August. Things started off with a bang for the Jays in the top of the first with Donaldson giving the visitors an early lead on a solo shot. The Bringer of Rain then struck again in the third giving the Jays a 2-0 lead on a sacrifice fly. In the meantime, Stroman was on his game again, rolling through the first three innings. Once the fourth inning hit, that’s where the “oh no not again” feeling started to creep in, the White Sox tieing the game up at two off of an Omar Narvaez double. Thankfully, this time the Jays bounced right back, immediately striking in the top of the fifth. Justin Smoak hit his 31st home run to put the Jays back up by two. From there, the visitors continued to pile on in the sixth adding three more runs (including another RBI from Josh Donaldson). The Jays now up 7-2, the White Sox managed to bring it back within three. Kevan Smith hit a two run blast in the sixth, but that was all they would muster up through seven innings of Stroman and one a piece from Tepera and Leone. The Jays also tacked on another run in the seventh, cruising on to the 8-4 win.
Wait this feels famiar 🤔
— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) August 2, 2017
Starting Pitchers Lines:
Marcus Stroman (W): 7 IP 7 H 4 R 4 ER 1 BB 5 SO
Mike Pelfrey (L): 5.2 IP 7 H 6 R 6 ER 3 BB 2 SO
The majority of the Jays were positive players today, but the contribution from two players combined for the most impact. Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak put up a total of 42.1% WPA. The leader of the two, and the man to get the cheers, however, is Smoak. The all-star led the Jays with a 25.5% WPA. The big number was still 9% higher than Donaldson and 17.1% higher than the next Blue Jay.
Only three players last night put forward a negative probability, Bautista, Pillar, and Goins. All three were within three percent of each other as well so they are all worth mentioning, but the worst of the trio was Ryan Goins. Goins impact hurt the Jays chance at a win by -6.9%. Nice.
With the two big numbers that Smoak and Donaldson put up and the limited number of negative players, the lineup put together a very impressive outing last night. According to WPA, the bats were responsible for the majority of the probability of a win, combining to the Jays odds of a win by 42.6%.
The pitching contribution was minimal today with the significant impact coming from the lineup. Stroman, Leone, and Tepera were all positive contributors, though, combining for an added WPA of 7.4%.
Highest Leverage At Bat:
For the second game in a row, the Jays hitters didn’t find themselves in any extremely high leverage situations. The highest LI faced by a Jays batter today was Russell Martin, with an index of 2.08. In the top of the sixth with two away, Martin stepped in with the bases juiced. The Jays already had the lead which minimized the impact, but as it turned out the at bat would be a big one. Martin singled to left scoring Pillar and Barney, extending the lead to four. With Chicago tacking on two more runs later, these would prove to be the winning runs.
Highest Leverage Opponent At Bat:
The White Sox hitters were the same as the Jays tonight, not running into any extremely high leverage situations. The highest LI they would see was 2.09. Omar Narvaez came to the plate in the bottom of the fourth with two men on and the Jays currently leading by two. The results could land anywhere from a game leading home run to the Jays escape without any further damage. Last night, the highest leverage play for the White Sox would also be their highest impact.
Highest Impact At Bat:
The highest impact at bat for the Jays came in the fifth inning. After giving up the lead in the bottom of the fourth, Josh Donaldson walked with two outs bringing Justin Smoak to the plate. Smoak jumped on a sinker sitting in the middle of the zone, giving it a ride for a two run shot. The home run put the Jays back in the lead by two and increased their odds of winning by a WPA of 25.7%.
Highest Impact Opponent At Bat:
As mentioned above, the Narvaez high leverage at bat would also turn out to be the highest impact. Narvaez ripped a double to right that scored both Delmonico and Saladino locking things up at two. The game tieing hit in the fourth increased the White Sox chances at a win by 23.9% at that time.
Afternoon baseball! It’s almost game time as the Jays look to close out the series with a win.
(h/t to fangraphs.com for WPA chart and statistics)