The Blue Jays threw literally everyone at the Indians, but they fall 2-1 in a controversial extra innings game.
The Canada Day Classic is a proud tradition for the Blue Jays and their fans, but if they wanted to sent a sell-out crowd of 45,000+ home happy, they would have to shut down the hottest team in baseball and hand Cleveland their first loss since LeBron lifted the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Today the national side was decked out in red and even the Indians saluted their neighbors to the North.
— WWWWWWWWWWWWWindians (@Indians) July 1, 2016
That was all the love they were showing to the home team early on. Starter Josh Tomlin was working home plate umpire Vic Carapazza’s strike zone early and as Edwin Encarnacion voiced his displeasure on a called third strike, Carapazza kicked off the fireworks by ejecting the star DH. John Gibbons came out to argue and joined his slugger in the dugout, with his sixth ejection of the season.
Edwin called out on ball.
Edwin bumps ump.
— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) July 1, 2016
The Indians struck first on embattled ace Marcus Stroman in the third. Carlos Santana smoothly smacked a double into the outfield and Jason Kipnis drove him home with a seeing-eye single. 1-0 Cleveland and the 14th win looked to be on the way.
Meanwhile both the fans and the team were growing increasingly agitated with frequent Toronto antagonist Carapazza. Josh Donaldson and Michael Saunders (who Carapazza tossed from the dugout in the playoffs) were disputing strike calls, and even Russell Martin had a discussion with the only man wearing blue today. It was getting ridiculous enough that Vic Carapazza was a trending topic in Canada.
Tomlin throws to first … called strike #BlueJays
— Andrew Bottomley (@Botts89) July 1, 2016
— Ryan Andrews (@NeoAC18) July 1, 2016
— Pitchin’ Jays ⚾️ (@PitchinBlueJays) July 1, 2016
— Gerry Dee (@gerrydee) July 1, 2016
Finally, Justin Smoak had enough of the so-called strike zone.
GONE! Justin Smoak blasts a solo homer to tie up the ballgame! pic.twitter.com/ijmDWLRZYt
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 1, 2016
Smoak’s sixth-inning shot was his third Canada Day home run in two seasons for the Blue Jays, and tied the game up 1-1.
From then on, the bullpens did battle. In fine Canadian fashion, many doughnuts were hung up on the scoreboards. As the game wore on, Carapazza’s strike zone made less and less sense.
Pitch #2 to Kipnis is indeed a ball, but it’s been called a strike all day. I’ve given up trying to understand. pic.twitter.com/6sOFp45m42
— Barry Davis (@SNBarryDavis) July 1, 2016
The Blue Jays had a good scoring chance off Zach McAllister in the 11th, but Smoak stranded runners on the corners with a pop-out to third. So the game, and Carapazza continued to drag on the home team. After ringing up both Saunders and Martin looking in the 13th, the Canadian catcher let Carapazza have it, and Slick Vic sent him sliding to the dugout, the hat trick of ejections complete for the Blue Jays.
Ump you suck chant begins
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) July 1, 2016
Hahaha Holy Shit Russell Martin tossed, & was about to legitimately throw down & fight Vic Carapazza. Good Job on DeMarlo Hale.#BlueJays
— J. Roca (@JRoc23) July 1, 2016
— Catherine Stem (@CathQCT) July 1, 2016
Even Canadian Hall of Famers were taking well-earned shots at Carapazza.
Home sick today! But getting to watch Bluejays game?. 3 Jay’s ejected so far! Don’t blame them. Home plate is on wheels today! Bad ump!!?
— Larry Walker (@Cdnmooselips33) July 1, 2016
In the 14th, it looked like the umpires were going to end another inning early. Kevin Pillar hit a ground ball that was initially ruled a double play but the replay showed Pillar safe by a clear margin. Darwin Barney followed with a double into the outfield and Ezequiel Carrera walked, loading the bases for Josh Donaldson. After the game started under a raging thunderstorm, there were hopes it would end under one too, but the rain fizzled out with a grounder to first. Despite this, Blue Jays fans held strong.
— Marla Waltman (@marlawd) July 1, 2016
The Indians finally threatened in the 15th. Drew Storen pitched one solid inning but couldn’t muster a second as he walked Jason Kipnis and the second baseman jumped to third on a ground ball that was misplayed by new first baseman Junior Lake. However the last man in the bullpen emerged and Bo Schultz got Mike Napoli to ground into a double play to end the inning.
Schultz had to dance to a similar tune in the 16th as Jose Ramirez and Lonnie Chisenhall got aboard to put runners on the corners with none out. But a Michael Martinez pop-out, Tyler Naquin strikeout and Chris Gimenez line-out got Schultzy out of another jam.
Trevor Bauer came out to pitch for the Indians and showed the same stuff he’s shown in his resurgent starting role. Schultz lasted another inning, but in the 18th the Blue Jays were out of options and to the mound stepped Ryan Goins…
Things got off to a rocky start. Despite a fastball touching the 90s, singles to Ramirez and Chisenhall (5-8 on the day!) gave the Indians a chance to bust this sucker open. However, Go-go bared down. Martinez grounded into a fielder’s choice that erased Ramirez at home for one out. Naquin was walked to bring up the plodding Gimenez for the double play, and a double play they got. 6-4-3 and Goins has the best ERA of any Blue Jays reliever at 0.00.
Because it worked wonderfully before, the Blue Jays went to that well again, shifting Darwin Barney over to pitch the 19th. Their luck ran out in a hurry as Santana parked a low fastball into the right-centre field stands to give the Indians the first lead in 13 innings. Bauer shut down the top of the order to end the game before Lake got a chance to pitch.
Both starters were solid as a maple tree. Tomlin went a full six innings, scattering seven hits and being very fortunate to only give up the one run as the Blue Jays left the bases loaded in the fourth and fifth innings. He rang up eight strikeouts, although fans will give Carapazza credit for at least half of them.
Umpire Vic Carapazza clearly has the “under” today.. @BlueJays
— ACES (@Cheese_Man68) July 1, 2016
— Ryan Andrews (@NeoAC18) July 1, 2016
On the other side, Stroman had a very effective outing, calming a lot of critics. He was locating his fastball very well, picking up six strikeouts while giving up five hits and the one run.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 1, 2016l
PLAY OF THE GAME
In honor of the holiday, Kevin Pillar decided to fly like Air Canada to track down this Jose Ramirez liner.
— MLB (@MLB) July 1, 2016
The play preserved the tie in the 10th inning and extended the game for the Blue Jays.
I could give this ball to the entire bullpen. 10 and a third innings of shutout baseball, but Bo Schultz, the last man out of the pen gets it. Two and two thirds innings, the last out as he was clearly laboring, got out of jams in the 15th (Storen’s) and 16th (his own). What a gutsy performance. Runner-up ball to Jesse Chavez. Three innings of perfect pitching is something we needed to see. Maybe Goins will earn one soon at that rate.
This had all the makings of another lost Canada Day. Fall behind early, umpire being incompetent, hallmarks of past Blue Jays losses were already present. But Justin Smoak said no. That home run shook everyone out of the doldrums. Considering the Blue Jays didn’t have a hit after that until Tulo’s single in the 14th, it was a clutch shot.
NEWS & NOTES
The Blue Jays officially released Chad Jenkins today. The 2009 1st rounder made 46 appearances with the club over the last three seasons, but once his option well ran dry, so did his value. A shame, since he would have been real helpful today.
#BlueJays release 2009 first-round RHP Chad Jenkins, who had been working as a reliever at Triple-A Buffalo. 46 career big league G for org.
— Matt Eddy (@MattEddyBA) July 1, 2016
Also of note, Sean Ratcliffe, the player given up by the Blue Jays to land Jason Grilli’s sweet cheesy services was cut loose by Atlanta today.
— Matt Eddy (@MattEddyBA) July 1, 2016
Expect many more notes from tomorrow’s game as both rosters will need replenishing.
Saturday’s game is a 1:07ET start. Marco Estrada (5-3, 2.82 ERA) steps out for the Blue Jays but with Bauer pitching today, he will not make his scheduled start tomorrow.
**Featured Image Credit: Arturo Pardavila III-flickr – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Andrews has been immersed in sports from a young age, since they could read Jr. Jays comics that filtered into the backwoods of Northern Nova Scotia. The Canadian has been blogging about sports since high school, writing on FOX Sports.com’s blogs as well on the Tailpipe Sports blog. The 20-something has been with Jays From the Couch since its humble beginnings, and continues to contribute while forging a career in the sports journalism industry. Andrews brings a discerning eye, a smoking keyboard, and a brain that made Jeopardy! briefly rethink letting Canadians onto their program.