The Toronto Blue Jays look to get back on track against a sneaky-good Atlanta Braves team in the fresh confines of SunTrust Park.
The Toronto Blue Jays limp out of Toronto after dropping two straight against the Braves for…two more against the Braves! Luckily, thy had Joe Biagini on the bump Wednesday night, who was yet to allow an earned run as a starter this season. Let’s see if they’ll learn from the Matt Kemp and Freddie Freeman-led massacre north of the border and take a better approach to the rebuilding Braves.
Toronto Blue Jays – 4 R, 7 H, 3 E
Atlanta Braves – 8 R, 6 H, 1 E
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) May 17, 2017
No Morales, no Tulowitzki.
5/17 @Braves lineup vs TOR
— MLB Lineups (@mlblineups) May 17, 2017
Starting Pitcher Matchup
Justin Smoak hit a two-run home run in the fourth, his ninth of the season. If you’re keeping track at home, it was July 3rd against Cleveland last season before Smoak hit his ninth. Proceeding the home run, Jose Bautista struck an opposite-field double, which was a huge improvement over his first AB.
While Biagini’s first inning was a disaster, he settled in after that, retiring 12 consecutive Braves. Some what subitaneously, he’s still been one of the Blue Jays’ better pitchers of late. His day was done after five, though.
LUKE MAILE GOT A HIT!
Dominic Leone had a solid inning mopping up for Aaron Loup, stranding runners on first and second, striking out Matt Kemp and inducing a 4-3 ground out to Blue Jay Killer Nick Markakis. Danny Barnes also had a bounce-back inning in the eighth.
Bautista hit at absolute laser beam of a HR in the eighth with his team down 8-3 to bring the team to 8-4, and he…didn’t exactly handle it well:
Bautista flipped his bat, Suzuki had words for him at home
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) May 18, 2017
This is probably a good segue into the Lowlights section.
Joe Biagini had a brutal first inning, surrendering a dink of a hit, botched a double-play, walked a couple in a row, Ezequiel Carrera butchered (a tough) line drive down the line and served up a three-run dong to Kurt Suzuki (!) – all before the first out. Any hope of a comeback after the first two games of the series were quickly ablated.
It’s getting very difficult to defend Ezequiel Carrera getting playing time on this team. Sure, injuries have forced the hand of Jays management, but there was absolutely no excuse for his play tonight. Two runs scored (and eventually six in total) in the first as a result of his horrific defense, and he single-handedly murdered a rally in the fourth by plowing into the innocent Jace Peterson on what would have been a very difficult play for the third baseman to make, ending the inning on an interference call.
Justin Smoak hit a slow roller to 3B with two on, two out, Carrera runs into Peterson, interference call ends inning, 6-3 #Braves lead
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) May 18, 2017
His heroics late in 2016 have apparently left such an impression with Manager John Gibbons that his position is bomb proof, but on Wednesday night, it could very well have cost the Blue Jays the game.
The Blue Jays keep hitting the Braves, and it needs to stop.
Atlanta is starting to get fed up with all of these hit batters, and close calls. Who can blame them? #BlueJays
— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) May 18, 2017
The play immediately following the JP Howell pitch up and in to Ender Inciarte was quickly avenged by a two-run single from the offended Brave, and to be honest, the Jays kind of deserved it. With the Bautista home run and bat flip (down by four runs!) in the eighth, it just got chippier. We’ll see if it carries over into tomorrow’s finale, but this series is already over. Hopefully Atlanta takes the high road.
- In the least surprising development of the day, Troy Tulowitzki was not activated from the DL, leaving the Blue Jays with a bench of Kendrys Morales, Mike Ohlman and Darrell Ceciliani. As was aptly described on today’s At The Letters podcast, that milk has spoiled.
- Clutchlings has a nice piece on Danny Jansen, who was just promoted to Double-A New Hampshire this week after terrorizing the Florida State League in which he’s described at the Blue Jays Catcher of the Future.
- The returns of Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin are also delayed.
- So, this is pretty far off-topic, but 2016 first-rounder had an impressive line on Wednesday night:
- W, 7.0 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 4 ER, 6 K. Somehow he did this throwing only 92 pitches.
Player of the Game…I guess
If you’ve made it this far without trading all of your Zeke Carrera trading cards for David Ecksteins, make sure to vote on tonight’s Jays From the Couch Player of the Game:
Blue Jays have no one to blame but themselves for this loss, but don't let that keep you from voting on a @JaysFromCouch Player of the Game!
— Roy-Z ☘ (@rolewiii) May 18, 2017