The Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox locked horns in an epic pitcher’s duel through eight innings, but needed extras to decide a winner.
The Blue Jays came into this game with the opportunity to win their first series of the season. Despite being in tough against Boston’s starter, Chris Sale, Toronto’s starter, Marco Estrada matched Sale out-for-out through his six innings of work. The contrast in styles made for a interesting, and very well played game on both sides. The game was decided late with Toronto’s bullpen surrendering three runs after a game-tying homerun tied things up in the ninth.
Red Sox – 4 R, 7 H, 0 E
Blue Jays – 1 R, 5 H, 0 E
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 20, 2017
— Red Sox (@RedSox) April 20, 2017
It might be School Day, but this ain't no textbook catch! 👌 pic.twitter.com/zNNEWPUz7h
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 20, 2017
Helping Marco navigate through Boston’s lineup, Kevin Pillar, did his usual work in centrefield with this sliding catch on a soft fly ball.
Marco Estrada baffled the Red Sox lineup through his 6 innings of work. Mixing and spotting his pitches with precision, he induced a lot of weak contact, and even racked up 7 strikeouts along the way. His final line after 106 pitches read as 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, and 7 K. His effort lowered his ERA on the season to an excellent 2.63.
The Blue Jays bullpen mix of Joe Biagini (1 IP), Joe Smith (1 IP, 2K) held up their end of the bargain by keeping the Red Sox off the board, and backing up Estrada’s strong scoreless six inning effort.
With the team down 1-0 and facing Boston’s closer, Kendrys Morales, delivered once again in the ninth inning. This time he took a fastball from Craig Kimbrel and deposited it 427 feet later behind the centerfield fence to knot the game at 1-1.
Bautista now mired in an 0-for-14 skid at the plate with seven strikeouts. He K's with a pair of runners on vs. Sale in the third. #BlueJays
— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) April 20, 2017
Jose Bautista is in a funk like we have never seen. After two plate appearances he’s looked lost against, Sale. As seen by the tweet above, it’s been an ugly skid for the former silver-slugger award winner. Unfortunately, it didn’t get better for Bautista in his later plate appearances as he ended up 0 for 4, with 4 K’s, while stranding 3 base runners.
Despite the Blue Jays mounting small rallies against Sale, he was dominating their lineup through the first 8 innings. He piled up 13 strikeouts while throwing only 22 balls through 102 pitches.
The typically dominant closer, Roberto Osuna, struggled during his inning of work in the ninth. After surrendering a double to Mitch Moreland, Boston’s shortstop Xander Bogaerts stroked run-scoring single down the right field line to cash in Boston’s first run. An over-turned play at second base ended the inning as Bogaerts was gunned down by Bautista trying to stretch his single into a double.
Jason Grilli, who was working consecutive days, came in to work the tenth inning. Things didn’t go as planned for the veteran reliever. After getting the second out off a pop-up from Dustin Pedroia, he fell into a 2-0 hole to Mookie Betts and paid the price. Betts smoked a 3-run double down the left-field line to put the game seemingly out of reach at 4-1.
The Blue Jays offense had a season-high 18 strikeouts this afternoon. Not unheard when facing pitchers the likes of Sale and Kimbrel, but still ugly nonetheless.
John Gibbons confirms RHP Mat Latos and RHP Casey Lawrence will fill in for Aaron Sanchez a& J.A. Happ on Friday & Saturday in LA. #BlueJays
— Laura Armstrong (@lauraarmy) April 20, 2017
- With Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ on the 10-day disabled list there was much speculation as to who would be called up to cover their respective places in the rotation. Today, Gibbons, made the announcement official that Mat Latos and Casey Lawrence will take the mound in Los Angeles against the Angels.
- With Happ able to come off the DL on the final day of the road trip, it is possible he could make his next start in St. Louis; however the scenario is just speculation at this point. It’s most likely that one of Latos or Lawrence make that start.
- One reason why Chris Sale is such a dominate pitcher, outside of his fastball, is his ability to mix speeds. The left-hander delivered pitches this afternoon as fast as 98 mph, and slow as 74 mph. It’s almost unfair. After today’s game, Sale, has tallied 42 strikeouts thru his first four starts.
Player of the Game
Select a @JaysFromCouch Player of the Game for this monstrosity! At least it didn't take long.
— Roy-Z ☘ (@rolewiii) April 20, 2017
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.