The Blue Jays are right back in the win column on the back of another excellent start from Marcus Stroman. The bats were able to get them out in front early in the third when Bautista doubled in Raffy Lopez, and then off of a Steve Pearce solo oppo taco in the fourth. Pearce also crossed the plate again in the sixth for the Jays third run.
Three was all the Jays would need with Stroman going six and a third innings limiting the Rays to two runs. The Jays would have a bit of a scare in the seventh, however. After leading off the inning with a strikeout, Stroman loaded the bases on two walks and a single. Aaron Loup came in to relieve Stroman, only to walk Souza Jr. bringing the Rays within one. Gibby, not too impressed with all the walks was ejected once again. Ol’ Gibbers didn’t let that stop him from making his pitching change though (Gibby the best)… and it sure worked out well for him. Leone came in and got the Jays out of the inning with no further damage. An uneventful bottom of seven, eight and ninth led the Jays on to a 3-2 victory.
Stro Show ?
Pearce dinger! ??️
— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) August 17, 2017
Starting Pitchers Lines:
Marcus Stroman (W): 6.1 IP 6 H 2 R 2 ER 3 BB 7 SO
Jacob Faria (L): 5.1 IP 6 H 3 R 3 ER 2 BB 3 SO
A lot of positives from the game today, but the big winner here was Dominic Leone. Getting the final two outs with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh while allowing no one to score totaled an incredible 28.1% probability added in only two-thirds of an inning.
Despite only facing one batter, Aaron Loup takes the heat today. Walking Souza with the bases loaded and allowing a run to score to bring the Rays within one was worth a negative 14.4%. Not facing another batter meant it couldn’t get any better, or worse for Loup.
The line-up as a whole did very little to contribute to the victory for the Jays last night. Despite an excellent performance from Steve Pearce (13.4% added) the entire group actually hurt the Jays chances with a -2.1% probability added.
With the bats putting forward a negative contribution, it was up to the pitchers to carry the team to the win. Even with the team leading negative WPA from Loup included, Stroman and the four relievers that followed behind him combined for an incredible 52.1% WPA.
Highest Leverage At Bat:
The Toronto Blue Jays didn’t run into too many high leverage at bats, and as a result did not exceed the “medium intensity” threshold. A leverage index of 1.73 was as high as it would get, and that came in the third inning. Justin Smoak was at the dish with runners on first and second, one out, and the Jays only up by one at the time. Nothing would come of the Jays highest leverage opportunity, as Smoak popped out to third for the second out.
Highest Leverage Opponent At Bat:
Unlike the Jays, Tampa ran into a couple of incredibly high leverage at bats. None were greater, however than Logan Morrison’s at bat in the top of the seventh. With two outs, the bases loaded, and the Rays down by one the situation logged in at an amazingly high leverage index of 5.55. Morrison didn’t take advantage of the situation at hand, however, as Dominic Leone got him to pop out to second to end the inning, the Rays still down one. Of note, this was also the second highest impact at bat for the Rays by only .2% (-14.2%).
Highest Impact At Bat:
Only two batters before the Jays highest leverage at bat of the game came the highest impact at bat they would see. Jose Bautista stepped up to bat with one way, Raffy Lopez on first, and the score still sitting at zeros. Bautista took full advantage of the opportunity at hand to jump out to an early lead ripping a double to right and scoring Lopez in the process. The RBI double added 12.8% to the Jays odds of a victory.
Highest Impact Opponent At Bat:
Just as the Jays had both their high leverage and high impact at bats in the third, the Rays had both of theirs in the seventh. The highest impact at bat would end up technically not being an at bat at all. With the bases loaded and only one away at the time, Steven Souza Jr. worked bases loaded walk, that would score Mallex Smith and bring the Rays to within one. Souza’s plate appearance added 14.4% to the Rays chance at a win.
An afternoon game means the next one is coming up right away. Chris Rowley makes his second start in hopes of leading the Jays to a third straight series win.
(h/t to fangraphs.com for WPA chart and statistics)