By: Emily (@JaysGirlEmily)
Canadian Baseball Network
Game 1: Friday, April 22
Jays lose, 5-8
Losing Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez
On a day full of unpleasant news, the lineup was partially overshadowed by the Chris Colabello drama (which you can read about here). The absence of Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Saunders was felt pretty severely at game time, however, as Ezequiel Carreramade a nice throw to save a run at the plate early on, but misplayed a ball in left field in the ninthth. That allowed two more Oakland runs to score after the Jays had battled back to a one-run deficit.
Darwin Barney may have a Gold Glove from his time in Chicago, but he's no Tulo. With him at second and Ryan Goins at short, the normally stellar middle infield couldn't turn a single double play in the game. There were several opportunities, but they just weren't turned fast enough, and one was overturned on a replay and resulted in the runner at second being safe as well. Fortunately, Aaron Sanchez managed to leave the bases loaded that inning after giving up four runs (including a three-run homer) in the first two. He then retired the top of the order the fourth and seemed to be settling in, until three straight hits scored another run and pushed him from the game in the fifth, in favour of Chad Girodo's major-league debut.
Barney did have a good day at the plate, though, scoring two runs on a home run and a walk off Athletics starter Sonny Gray. Barney also had a single, ending the game 2-for-3 with 2 RBI. The Jays seemed to be rallying in the 8th, after they loaded the bases with two out and Kevin Pillar hit a 2-RBI single. But their luck turned in the 9th as Roberto Osuna allowed a hit and they intentionally walked Coco Crisp. Then came the misplay, and the 2 runs.
Game 2: Saturday, April 22nd
JAYS WIN! 9-3
Winning Pitcher: J.A. Happ
These are the Jays we know and love! Thirteen hits and nine runs later, the offense found itself in a big way. Five runs were scored in the first two innings alone, with three coming on a Josh Donaldson home run. Tulo also had two home runs in this game, each of them solo shots, to lead off the fifth and seventh innings.
On the defensive side of things, there were three double plays turned, and six different innings in which the A's were sent packing after just three batters. Ezequiel Carrera made two nice Pillar-esque catches in left field, and had a great day at the plate as well, going 4-for-5 with a double, three runs scored, and a stolen base.
In the 6th, former Blue Jay Liam Hendriks came on in relief and hit Donaldson with a pitch, which JD was none too pleased about. The next inning, Happ wasted no time plunking the first batter he faced, Khris Davis (who eventually came around to score their third and final run, so you're welcome Oakland). Honestly, if you'd asked me at the beginning of the year what series would be the first to feature the umpire warning both sides, the Athletics would not have been high on the list. But there you have it.
Game 3: Sunday, April 24th
JAYS WIN! 6-3
Winning Pitcher: Drew Hutchison
Save: Roberto Osuna
Of course the bats came out just in time for Hutch to make a spot start. Remember all the run support he got last year? In spite of him having no influence on it whatsoever, it kind of became his calling card. Carrera and Bautista each had home runs, the latter of the two-run variety. Josh Donaldson clearly felt like showing off for his former team on his bobblehead day, as he scored two runs on a double and a walk. All six Jays runs were charged to Oakland starter Eric Surkamp. Each of the Athletics' runs came on solo homers, and they only had five hits total. Darwin Barney tagged one of the runners out attempting to steal.
Everyone in the Jays' lineup had at least one hit, save for Tulo, but he was intentionally walked in the third and then came around to score on a Kevin Pillar single. Hutchison & company recorded eight strikeouts, including a golden sombrero (four) to Mark Canha.
Oddly Specific Record Fun Coincidence Alert: (I couldn't find any records from this series)
Darwin Barney, who wears #18 on his jersey, hit a home run in Game 1 of this series, the Jays' 18th game of the season
Russell Martin left Friday's game in the sixth with neck spasms, played Saturday, and then was scratched from the lineup late on Sunday. He's now listed as day-to-day with the neck problems. In spite of his bat being off to a slow start, their All-Star catcher really isn't something the Jays can afford to lose right now.
My Favourite Player(s) This Series: Carrera/Happ
Ezequiel Carrera definitely capitalized on Michael Saunders needing the weekend off. The backup left fielder/leadoff man stepped up at the plate, scoring four runs with seventh hits and a walk, and he also made two nice diving catches. His teammates, the fans, and even Jays broadcasters Buck and Pat showed him a lot of love!
On the pitching side, J.A. Happ had a spectacular seven-inning outing in which he walked only one batter, gave up just three runs, and allowed only one extra-base hit (a home run to Mark Canha in the first). Not too shabby for the 'fifth starter'!
Where we are now:
Still 2.5 games back of Baltimore
The bad news is, Martin's injury means we'll be seeing more of Josh Thole.
The good news is that the bats are starting to look like their old selves, and that's an incredible relief. Even the bottom of the order (Barney, Carrera) are stepping up, and that's always a good sign!