Well, that didn’t last very long… After putting together a nice little streak of three games, Estrada and the Jays fell short last night. Despite seemingly having found his mojo again of late, Estrada was way off of his game. 14 baserunners in four and a third were not pretty, and the Jays were lucky to walk away with only the six runs against. Was it the thoughts of a possible deal after being traded on waivers? Just a bad game? Regression back to his pre-August performance? Fuck, who knows, but it was bad.
The bullpen was excellent in relief, however, taking the Jays the rest of the way allowing only three hits and no earned runs. This also included a debut from Tim Mayza, who gave up two hits and no earned runs in the process. The six runs would prove to be too much of a hill for the offense to climb, even though Josh Donaldson, who appears to be full on back into MVP form, tried to drag them kicking and screaming on to victory with a two for three night that included a three-run bomb in the fifth.
The defence 😱
Bringer of rain! 💣🎊🎊🎊
Meaningful baseball in August 🤷🏼♂️
— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) August 16, 2017
Starting Pitchers Lines:
Marco Estrada (L): 4.1 IP 10 H 6 R 6 ER 4 BB 3 SO
Blake Snell (W): 6 IP 7 H 4 R 4 ER 1 BB 4 SO
From the brief recap above this one should be pretty obvious, and it wasn’t even close. Donaldson led the team with an added WPA of 17.5%. With no other player contributing a WPA of higher than 8%, it was a landslide victory from the Bringer of Rain.
Again, this one shouldn’t come as too much of a shock. Marco Estrada had an incredibly rough night on the mound, and it translated into a terrible WPA as well. On the night, Estrada hurt the Jays chances of a win by 35.5%.
Thanks to Donaldson’s big night, this total is a lot better than it should be. With Kevin Pillar being the only other hitter to put up a positive WPA (7.9%) the entire group combined for a terrible -30.2%. Morales brought the sticks down the most with a -13.4%.
The pitching contribution was the exact opposite of the bats, with only one negative among a group of positives. The -19.8% combined WPA for the group was mostly a result of the lackluster performance from Marco Estrada. Each of the four relievers that followed him put up a positive WPA, led by Danny Barnes (7.7%).
Highest Leverage At Bat:
With Josh Donaldson making it close again in the fifth, the Blue Jays would have quite a few high leverage opportunities towards the end of the game. The highest, however, would come with Justin Smoak at the plate in the seventh. Down by two, with one out and facing Steve Cishek, Moaky had an opportunity to tie things up. The situation posted a leverage index of 2.09. Smoak was unable to take advantage of the high leverage at bat grounding into a double play to end the inning.
Highest Leverage Opponent At Bat:
For the Rays, the highest leverage at bat was early on, in the top of the third. At the time, the Rays were down by one run and Corey Dickerson came to the dish following a Daniel Robertson lead off single. The early opportunity to get things rolling and bounce back from an early deficit registered in with a LI of 1.71. Dickerson at this point would follow suit with Smoak though and wouldn’t help the cause striking out swinging.
Highest Impact At Bat:
It’s been mentioned a couple of times already, and it’s the play that had the highest impact for the Jays as well. Josh Donaldson’s three run shot in the bottom of the fifth brought the Jays within two with plenty of time to spare and increased the Jays odds by 12.9%.
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB_) August 16, 2017
Highest Impact Opponent At Bat:
Immediately following the Dickerson strike out, Lucas Duda stepped up. Although the leverage was slightly lower with one out now, Duda took advantage where Dickerson did not. Duda ripped a homer to right center field giving the Rays the lead with one swing of the bat. The Duda dinger increased the Rays odds of victory by 19.8%.
The Blue Jays are back at it tonight with the third game of the series against the Rays. Marcus Stroman takes the mound in attempt to get a new streak started.
(h/t to fangraphs.com for WPA chart and statistics)