The Toronto Blue Jays started their series against the Tampa Bay Rays with seven solid innings before a soul-crushing collapse that began in the eighth
The Toronto Blue Jays kicked things off in their second series with the Rays this season by sending Marcus Stroman (2-2, 3.10 ERA) to the mound to face Blake Snell (0-2, 3.38 ERA). Luke Maile got his Jays debut and first MLB start of the season at catcher.
Toronto Blue Jays: 7 R, 10 H, 1 E
Tampa Bay Rays: 4 R, 11 H, 2 E
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 28, 2017
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 28, 2017
Stroman K’d a season-high ten batters, the second-best strikeout total of his career. He struck out every single Rays starter.
Darwin Barney had a nice bit of hitting with his RBI single in the bottom of the 5th. With two strikes, he was aiming for the right side of the field. Worst-case scenario, he’d ground out and get Pillar to third with one out. Instead, he put the ball between first baseman Logan Morrison and the bag.
Jose Bautista followed that with a cheeky attempt of his own, trying to half-bunt the ball into the empty space at second base. It didn’t work, but he’d just regular hit the ball in the same empty space, moving Barney to third.
In the 2017 season, you better believe that Kendrys Morales plating Barney by grounding into a double play is a highlight.
Kevin Pillar continued to pad his “I’m not just a world-class defensive CF” case, picking up a single, two doubles, a homer and a walk. I don’t understand how he worked up the will power not to try for a triple in the ninth. He’s a better man than me. His excellent day at the plate boosted his 2017 wRC+ from 126 to 158. At the 100 PA mark, Pillar has the second highest wRC+ among CF, behind Mike Trout (obviously).
The first run of the game came after Stroman walked Tim Beckham with two outs. Shane Peterson and Derek Norris hit a couple of singles to bring him around. Walks happen, but they’re extra frustrating when they happen after being ahead 1-2 against a batter with a career strikeout rate of 30%.
Isn’t Steven Souza Jr. the worst? He made catches on three well-hit balls with hit probabilities of 78%, 65% and 85%, then proceeded to get a single on a batted ball that had a 35% hit probability.
Corey Dickerson hit a home run in the top of the 8th on Stroman’s 96th pitch.
Evan Longoria hit a home run in the top of the 8th on Jason Grilli‘s 7th pitch. He is giving up a worrying amount of good contact. His .398 xwOBA (before tonight) is 10th highest among 145 relievers with 30+ batters faced.
Morrison hit a two-run homer in the top of the 8th on Dominic Leone‘s 2nd pitch. I’m starting to feel like Jack Torrance. I think we all are.
Leone also gave up a triple and a double, narrowly missing out on the cycle.
- Jose decided to run into the outfield wall again. He should really stop doing that. It looks dangerous.
- Steve Pearce increased his 2017 hit total by 11%!
Player of the Game Vote
Time to pick a @JaysFromCouch Player of the Game, I guess.
— Roy-Z ☘ (@rolewiii) April 29, 2017
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I’m an economics professor in the GTA whose lifelong love for the Jays was reignited by that magical August of 2015 and the amazing moments since.