Series Sum-up: Blue Jays vs. Rangers

By: Emily (@JaysGirlEmily)

Canadian Baseball Network

Game 1: Friday, May 13th
Winning Pitcher: R.A. Dickey

Well hello there May R.A., nice to see you again! After an April in which he performed inconsistently, Dickey was lights-out in his second May start. The first hitter reached base on a bunt, but Dickey promptly picked him off. He allowed just three more runners (two singles and a walk) in eight innings total, and retired the last fourteen batters he faced in order. Chad Girodo pitched the ninth and got three consecutive outs to close the game. 

Dickey also has had a trend of not getting enough run support even when he’s pitching well, but that was no problem in this game. The Blue Jays didn’t score until the seventh, but they added to the lead in the eighth when Darwin Barney singled and Josh Thole bunted him over. Barney advanced to third on a Kevin Pillar ground out, and then scored on this wild pitch from Sam Dyson:

Under normal circumstances, I’d be furious about the location of that pitch, but Donaldson was unhurt so, hey, thanks for the free run, Sam!

The real Blue Jays offensive fun didn’t happen until the eighth, when they scored three runs on an Edwin Encarnacion homer, a Justin Smoak double, and a Troy Tulowitzki home run to blow the game wide open. All told, they scored five runs on nine hits, four walks and an error.

Game 2: Saturday, May 14th (night game)
Jays lose, 5-6 (10 innings)
Starting Pitcher: Marco Estrada
Losing Pitcher: Gavin Floyd

I guess a walk off via the homer isn’t the worst way to be walked off? (See: Passed ball walk off, bases-loaded walk walk off). But man, this was a painful one to lose. Marco Estrada gave up four runs in the second on a no-out grand slam to Rangers catcher Bobby Wilson. In spite of that, and one unearned run (scored on a passed ball) following a triple in the sixth, he didn’t pitch poorly enough to get the loss. That honour went to Gavin Floyd, who was one strike away from ending the 10th inning when he gave up a home run to a guy who had entered the game as a pinch-runner.

The Jays teased a little bit, as they battled back from being down 4-0 (and subsequently 5-2) to tie the game in the ninth. They scored four of their five runs through homers – a Ryan Goins solo shot in the third, and Justin Smoak and Troy Tulowitzki going back-to-back in the 9th. They had the first two consecutive homers of the year for the Blue Jays. Smoak also drove in Jose Bautista, who had led off the inning with a double. But they failed to score again in the 10th, and that led to the walk-off. Sound familiar? That’s because Game 3 in San Francisco sort of ended the same way.

Game 3: Sunday, May 15th
Jays lose, 6-7
Starting Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez
Losing Pitcher: Jesse Chavez (blown save)

There are some games that just beg to be broken down inning-by-inning, moment-by-moment. This was one of them. So I’m going to do just that, and I will link to it here when it’s done.

Overall Notes: 

It’s kind of weird to be finished with one AL team so early in the season when there are so many they haven’t even faced once yet. This series also reminded me starkly of when the Blue Jays played the Royals last season – they won 3 of 4 at home, lost 2 of 3 in the other team’s ballpark, and the final game of the regular season involved some plunkings, ejections, and the benches clearing. Aaron Sanchez also featured prominently in the final game of this season series, and in that one.

Weirdly Specific Record/Milestone Alert:

This team holds the franchise record for best starter ERA through 38 games

Edwin Encarnacion is now #4 on the all-time list of home runs as a Blue Jay with 204

Tulowitzki hit his 200th career home run in Friday’s game

R.A. Dickey breaks his own record (set this year) for ‘Oldest Blue Jay pitcher to ever win a game’

My favourite player(s) this series: Dickey/Tulo

One of my favourite things about R.A. Dickey has always been how humble he is. That humility was clearly on display following Friday’s game, when he referred to it as a great ‘team win’. Mr. Dickey, sir, you threw eight innings of three-hit shutout ball, with six strikeouts and only one walk, you’re allowed to take some of the credit for yourself!

Tulo homered in two games in a row, and went 6-for-13 with two doubles, five runs scored, and four RBI. Like Dickey, he’d been struggling through April and didn’t seem like his normal self, but certainly came around this week. It was also nice to see him recover from some goofs in the Giants series and be his usual flawless self on defence.

Where we are now:
3rd place, 6 games back of Baltimore/Boston

The bad news is, they’re facing the Rays next and always seem to struggle against the Rays for some reason. Also, missing some of the key players in the lineup due to pending suspensions can only serve to hurt them.

The good news is, they’re facing the Rays in Toronto, instead of at the Trop! And after that, they’re off for a four-game series against Minnesota, the team with the worst record in the AL. Some more good and exciting news:

That means a maximum of 20 days before he’s back with the big club! I can’t wait!