The Toronto Blue Jays and Orioles continued their knack of playing close games. This time the O’s benefited from an 11th inning walk-off HR
It begins! Your Toronto Blue Jays took on the rival Baltimore Orioles today in oddly-timed 3:00 PM start at the beautiful Oriole Park at Camden Yards to begin the 2017 Major League Baseball season. The Orioles sent out Kevin Gausman (0-2, 7.04 ERA in 15.1 IP versus Toronto in 2016) countered by Marco Estrada (2-0, 3.00 ERA in 24 IP versus Baltimore in 2016.) So let’s see how it all went down!
Blue Jays – 2 R, 11 H, 0 E
Orioles – 3 R, 9 H, 0 E
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) April 3, 2017
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) April 3, 2017
Kevin Pillar had good at-bats, earning an infield single in the second and working a four pitch walk (four!) in the fifth.
Despite a few doubles, some defense-aided, Estrada battled. His change up was consistently excellent all afternoon, including a devastator to strikeout Manny Machado in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Steve Pearce had a pair of hits of starter Kevin Gausman. If he continues to hit well, there’s no reason to keep Justin Smoak on this team, regardless of him standing in the left-hand batter’s box. Pearce scored later on an RBI double from Ezequiel Carrera, conveniently bobbled by the stone-gloved Jonathan Schoop.
The bullpen was solid until Jason Grilli served up a meatball to Mark Trumbo, who delivered the painful closing blow. In 4.2 IP, a combination of Joe Biagini, JP Howell, Joe Smith and Grilli held the Orioles to just four hits.
Jose Bautista in the field. Seriously! After making a pair of strong throws in the second inning, Bautista made a very nice sliding catch to force extra innings, easily punching out a wandering Welington Castillo at first base. Is he back completely? It’s too early to tell, but he looked good on Opening Day.
I didn’t see it, but the Orioles attempted “O Canada” and it didn’t go well:
I see the anthem singer went with "all they sons command" and the French middle verse. Batting .500 for inclusiveness.
— Morgan Campbell (@MorganPCampbell) April 3, 2017
Early in the second inning, Estrada allowed a leadoff “double” on a cab of corn that dropped between excellent CF and terrible LF Ezequiel Carrera. He got out of it through, thanks to a trio of solid plays by Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis. In the third, though, another lackluster effort from Pillar resulted in another leadoff double, but this one led to the games first run, and another double brought the score to 2-0.
The offense off of Gausman was…bad. Gausman quickly got into a groove, was getting ahead early and didn’t waste pitches. This could prove to be an excellent strategy against the Jays this season.
The offense, in general, was bad. The Jays managed two hits off of Zach Britton in the top of the ninth, where Jose Bautista promptly grounded into a rally-murdering double play, which surprised people for some reason. Get used to those double plays, the Blue Jays already have two to start the season.
#BlueJays grounded into 153 double plays in 2016 (most in MLB)
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) April 3, 2017
Fresh off the release of Melvin Upton, Jr., Carrera has a solid game. Unfortunately, he also rolled his ankle coming aorund second base a little too over-zealously:
Carrera staying in game, looks like he tweaked something in his leg stopping hard after turning for 3B
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) April 3, 2017
This is poorly timed if the ankle injury becomes serious, and I can be confident in saying it’s going to feel much, much worse tomorrow morning. Luckily the Blue Jays have an off-day. Hopefully Dalton Pompey can be recalled (but more importantly: is healed) from the DL if the problem is serious. If not, we might be seeing Chris Coughlan sooner than expected in 2017.
*FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: GENEVIEVE DUCRET UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Roy’s earliest memories all involve baseball from the early 90’s and the Blue Jays dream teams. He became a Blue Jays fan while watching Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green evolve in Syracuse, NY at the run-down confines of MacArthur Stadium, nestled between highway and swamp. A lifelong baseball player, Roy still plays (P, C, 2B, 3B) in the 25+ Syracuse MSBL for the Liverpool Mets. He watches almost all games with his best buddy Sebastian, a five year old Pug, who could care less.