Toronto’s heart of the batting order fails to register a pulse against Bundy and the Orioles, Baltimore sweeps the Blue Jays in two games with 3-1 win.
After a heartbreaking loss to open the season on Monday, the Blue Jays looked to get back on track in the second of a weird two-game opening set against their avian rivals from Baltimore. 20 game winner J.A. Happ (4.10 ERA in 26.1 IP at Camden Yards) looked to even Toronto’s record taking on “King Kong” Dylan Bundy (first career start against Blue Jays).
Blue Jays – 1R 7H 1E
Orioles – 3R 5H 0E
#BlueJays lineup: Travis 2B, Donaldson 3B, Bautista RF, Morales DH, Tulo SS, Martin C, Pearce LF, Smoak 1B, Pillar CF.
— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) April 5, 2017
— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) April 5, 2017
Kevin Pillar is picking up right where he left off from last season:
— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) April 6, 2017
Seriously, a sweet catch, made sweeter by the fact that it was robbed Manny Machado he robbed of a home run. Combine that with a great throw from the outfield to nail Welington Castillo as the catcher tried to stretch a single into a double, and it was a great defensive performance for Superman.
Happ had the fastball working for the better part of the night and the Orioles were offering on a lot of pitches. The veteran lefty tallied nine strikeouts in seven innings of work, and was able to keep most Baltimore hitters off balance.
Ryan Tepera came in with the goal to keep the deficit at two. He pitched a perfect 1-2-3 inning. Keep on keeping on, Texas Tep.
Justin Smoak had a hit! An honest-to-god hit! In his first at bat! Then he had another one later! An extra-base hit! Maybe there is some fire left in the maligned first baseman yet.
Zach Britton doesn’t scare the Blue Jays anymore. For the second straight night, the Orioles closer looked shaky. Two more hits and a walk before he settled down and coaxed a game-ending double play out of Steve Pearce. Buck Showalter may have been right to leave him in the bullpen during the wild card game.
Gregor Chisholm had the supper I wish that I had tonight.
Man, @gregorMLB is going with the high-performance recommended cheese dog and ice cream sundae combo right now.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) April 6, 2017
Smoak was the best hitter tonight. It wasn’t even close. Only five singles came from non-Smoak at bats in an anemic display for the Blue Jays. Bundy dominated them for seven innings, as no one was able to detect when that change-up was coming from the former top prospect.
The ineptitude of the offense was on full display in the top of the eighth. Smoak smashed a ground rule double to greet Brad Brach and was lifted for the “speedy” Ezequiel Carrera. Prime opportunity to cut the deficit to one against a closer who the Blue Jays got hits off of on Monday. Brach even helped the cause with a wild pitch to put Carrera 90 feet away. However, Pillar weakly fouled out and both Devon Travis and Josh Donaldson caught nothing but air with their bats on consecutive strike outs.
After putting up a combined donut in the hit column on Day One of the season, the 3-4-5-6 hitters for the Blue Jays made like your average stereotypical movie cop and went back for another. Only 9th inning singles by Jose Bautista and Kendrys Morales prevented another 0-fer day from the heart of the order. Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin are still looking for their first hits of 2017. The Blue Jays can not survive with this level of failure at the plate from their run producers, and they’ll need to show signs of life against Tampa Bay to get back on a proper beat.
For as good a start as he had, Happ’s mistake pitches were brutal against an order that feasts on mistakes. Machado’s home run may have been reeled in, but Adam Jones and Chris Davis did enough damage on the two long balls to seal the deal for Baltimore, especially with the way the Blue Jays offense has been acting so far this year.
Another game, another scary moment for a Blue Jays contributor. This time it was Martin who took a foul tip of his bare hand in the fifth inning.
Russell Martin takes a Mark Trumbo foul tip off his right hand, trainer George Poulis and manager John Gibbons out to see him
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) April 6, 2017
Martin would stay in the game.
In other news, Roberto Osuna is expected to make a minor league appearance over the weekend in Dunedin. If all goes well, he is on track to be available for the home opening series against Milwaukee.