Toronto Blue Jays Highlights & Lowlights: Bullpen Squanders Another Lead. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The Toronto Blue Jays kicked off the first game of a split-doubleheader with the Cardinals this afternoon.

 

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After yesterdays’s rain out, the Blue Jays (6-14) and Cardinals (9-11) headed into today having to complete a split-doubleheader. For Toronto, it was the first such doubleheader since June 2015 when they drew a split with the Washington Nationals.

 

The first game featured starting pitchers, Mat Latos and Carlos Martinez, on the mound. Latos (0-1, 7.20) was making his second start of the season for Toronto, while Martinez (0-3, 4.76), who leads the N.L. with 12.3 K/9, was making his fifth.

 

Blue Jays – 4 R, 9 H, 0 E

Cardinals – 8 R, 13 H, 2 E

 

Lineups:

 

Blue Jays

 

Cardinals

 

Highlights

 

Russell Martin lead off the second inning with his third homerun of the season. Connecting on a fastball and driving it to right-center field 419 feet for a 1-0 Toronto lead.

 

 

After Kolten Wong lead-off the top of the fifth with a double, he was picked-off trying get to back to second after a failed bunt attempt from the pitcher. The always alert Martin caught Wong straying a little too far off, and made made him pay. As it turned out, the play was significant because Dexter Fowler followed the Martinez strikeout with a single.

 

Toronto took advantage of Martinez’ wildness in the sixth inning to grab a 3-0 lead. After walking his third batter in Devon Travis, Ryan Goins, took the first pitch from Martinez back up the middle for two RBI. This would also prove to be the end of Martinez’ afternoon. His final line: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 K on 97 pitches.

 

With Latos working his way through a scoreless outing after 5 1/3 he surrendered a one-out walk to Jedd Gyorko. With Latos’ nemesis Yadier Molina on deck, Latos induced a 5-4-3 double-play off the bat of Stephen Piscotty to end the sixth inning. A one-hopper that Chris Coghlan back-handed and fired to Devon Travis who made the turn with little effort.

 

With the bases loaded, and not outs in the seventh inning Justin Smoak delivered a sacrifice fly to center-field to cash in Kevin Pillar, who lead-off with a single, to push Toronto’s lead to 4-0.

 

Latos’ day would come to an end after six complete innings when he was lifted for Joe Biagini. His final like would read as 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 4 K, on 82 pitches, 47 strikes.

 

Despite working himself into a tough, bases loaded, two out, jam in the tenth inning. Reliever, Dominic Leone, was able to get a fly ball to end the inning without any damage.

 

 

Lowlights

 

During a game of early positives, Ezequiel Carrera, once again showed his depth perception is quite what it should be in the outfield. Leaving his feet on a Kolten Wong flare, instead of playing it on the bounce, allowed Wong to take the extra base.

 

Despite cashing in one run to help push their lead to 4-0 in the seventh. Toronto wasted a prime opportunity with runners on the corners, and one out, to put the game out of reach. Martin and pinch-hitter, Darwin Barney would both strikeout when a ball in play would have most likely scored at least one run.

 

The bullpen combination of Joe Biagini and Joe Smith each surrendered a pair of hits, and a run in their respective innings of work. Getting to the ninth with a 4-2 lead is fine, but all too often this season the bullpen is not locking down late innings. This is something that needs to get better as the season rolls along.

 

With a 4-2 lead in the ninth, closer, Roberto Osuna, would come in to try and lock down a victory. Instead he was treated to a lead-off double from Yadier Molina, and a two-out homerun to Grichuk to tie the game at four apiece. This was Osuna’s third blown save in six attempts, and the teams’s seventh blown save attempt this season. The latter being the most in the majors thus far in 2017.

 

Toronto would lean on Ryan Tepera for the 11th inning, but things didn’t go as planned for the right-hander. A lead-off triple into the corner off the bat of Wong, two IBB later, and he was lifted with the bases loaded for, J.P. Howell. Howell worked the count to 3-2 on Matt Carpenter before surrendering a grand slam on a hanging curveball. Final score 8-4.

 

Noteworthy

 

  • Danny Barnes will be 26th man in second game for the Blue Jays – Shi Davidi
  • With two singles, a walk and a HBP this afternoon, Jose Bautista, was hitting .291 on the current road trip (6 games), with a .433 on-base percentage.

  •  Looks like former Montreal Canadien, P.K. Subban, showed up to watch the Blue Jays at Busch Stadium this afternoon. His time away from the rink was well rewarded when fellow Montrealer, Russell Martin, hit a second inning homerun. Too bad the the bullpen couldn’t reward him with a win for his loyalty.

 

 

 

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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.

W Black

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.