A 4-2 lead with two outs in the ninth inning. Seems easy enough. Not when you’re playing at The House of Horrors. Nothing can ever be easy there.
Things worth mentioning…
- There’s a lot to talk about after that game. Where to begin?!
- I’ll start off with the good stuff, like how we ended up in the ninth inning with a lead. Thomas Hatch made his first-career start and looked much better than a guy who was traded for a few innings of David Phelps. Hatch went two-and-a-third, allowing just two walks while picking up three strikeouts. After that, Anthony Kay came into the game and went two-and-a-third, allowing just one run, which came when Ji-Man Choi smacked a solo homer (from the right side of the plate, amazingly). All told, the piggyback duo of Hatch and Kay was excellent.
- All of Toronto’s offence came in the sixth inning when the team exploded for four runs on six consecutive hits. Randal Grichuk singled, Teoscar Hernandez singled, Danny Jansen singled, Brandon Drury singled, Lourdes Gurriel singled, and then Bo Bichette singled. It was an interesting change of scenery for a team that so frequently relied on the long ball.
The newest HIT from the 6th Gods 🎶🔥 pic.twitter.com/A8R67juLY9
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 26, 2020
- Unfortunately, that big inning was all the Blue Jays would be able to muster. They had 13 hits and four walks in the game but left all kinds of runners stranded on base throughout the game.
- And then we have the heartbreak. Jordan Romano held the sixth, Rafel Dolis shakily worked through the seventh allowing one run, and Anthony Bass was solid in the eighth. In the ninth, Ken Giles managed to get the first two Rays out before allowing a double to Joey Wendel. After that, it was clear that something wasn’t right with Giles. His slider was all over the place and he would take long walks off of the mound in noticeable discomfort. After walking Willy Adames with a handful of pitches nowhere near the zone, Pete Walker came out, but Giles remained in the game. Giles walked the next batter, still, noticeably in discomfort. And then, with Choi on a 3-1 count, the Jays finally pulled him in favour of Brian Moran.
Ken Giles' last two fastballs before loading the bases were 93.9 and 92.6
That ain't him. #BlueJays
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) July 26, 2020
- Moran would walk in Choi and then allow the tying run on a close play at first base. You could perhaps blame Vlad for diving for the ball instead of going to the bad or you can blame Moran for not getting to first quickly enough. It wasn’t ideal. He got the final out of the inning immediately after that.
- Then, finally, we got treated to our first taste of Pandemic Extra Innings Ball. The Jays started the inning with Santiago Espinal on second, he stole third, and Gurriel cashed him in with a sacrifice fly. In the bottom of the inning, Shun Yamaguchi came in for his first big-league appearance and promptly allowed a walk and a walk-off double.
Yeah, not a great call to leave him in. It's proooooobably a bad sign for your bullpen management when literally no one is defending your calls the last couple days.
— Andrew Stoeten (@AndrewStoeten) July 26, 2020
- The big story of the game, of course, was Giles not getting removed from the game quicker. Yet again, just like on Saturday, questionable bullpen management by Montoyo is the hot topic. First, it was inexplicably using Sam Gaviglio in a high-leverage situation, and, this time, it was letting a clearly-injured Giles struggle on the mound for waaaaay longer than necessary. It was also bizarre that when Walker came out to talk to Giles, it was a one-sided conversation in which Giles didn’t get a word in. It looked like Walker was coming out to ask if he was in discomfort, but, from our vantage point, that didn’t happen. Weird, weird stuff.
- It’s easy to look back on this series and think, damn, we could have very easily picked up a sweep. But, here we are, sitting taking just one of three. Welcome to The Trop. Extremely cursed fucking ballpark.
Heading into the ninth, the Blue Jays were on course to win their first series at Tropicana Field since May 2017. They are now 9-23 in their last 32 games at the Trop since 2017.
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) July 26, 2020