Blue Jays from Away
Game 1: Tuesday, May 15
Jays lose, 2-12
Losing Pitcher: Jaime Garcia
On a rainy night in Queens, the Blue Jays had to wait an extra hour and a half to play their first interleague game this year. The Mets’ pitcher, Noah Syndergaard, had as many RBI as the entire Blue Jays’ lineup that faced him. After an uneventful first inning, in which Jaime Garcia stranded a pair and Syndergaard struck out the side in order, Garcia walked the leadoff hitter in the second and Syndergaard doubled to bring in a run. The Blue Jays took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth on a bases-loaded two-RBI single from Yangervis Solarte. Then, as part of a nine-batter bottom of the fourth, Syndergaard came up with the bases loaded and nobody out, and hit a sacrifice fly. That tied the game.
Garcia exited with a 5-2 deficit, a runner on base, and two outs in the fpurth. He’d allowed six hits total, four in that inning alone. Three of the hits were doubles. Jake Petricka got three outs, went one time through the order and allowed six hits, including an RBI double to the first batter he faced. Syndergaard was done after the fifth inning, lifted for the pinch-hitter Adrian Gonzalez. He’d allowed two runs on five hits and picked up seven strikeouts. Petricka then gave up four consecutive two-out singles in the fifth, the Mets widening their lead to 9-2, before he was replaced by Deck McGuire in his Blue Jays debut. McGuire got the final out of the fifth, the eighth batter the Mets had sent to the plate that inning.
McGuire worked around a walk in the sixth, and gave up a single in the seventh which a double play then took care of. He then allowed three more runs in the eighth, thanks to a leadoff triple from Juan Legares, an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single, and a Devin Mesoraco two-run homer. In fact, Mesoraco reached base every time he went to the plate, walking three times, with one single and the homer. The Jays only got one runner in four innings against the Mets’ bullpen, and it was a single by the pitcher, McGuire, in the eighth. Toronto had six hits, while the home team had 16.
Game 2: Wednesday, May 16 (Day game)
JAYS WIN!!! 12-1
Winning Pitcher: J.A. Happ
In an extreme reversal of fortune, the Blue Jays scored 12 runs after allowing that many the day before. They tallied 15 hits, belonging to nine different players, and RBI belonging to five. Yangervis Solarte and Gio Urshela were the only starters without hits. J.A. Happ and Mike Wheeler were pretty evenly matched through the first three innings – each had struck out six, and allowed one hit. The main difference was that Wheeler’s hit allowed was a home run, Justin Smoak’s sixth of the season. Happ was helped out in the second by a catch Kevin Pillar made at the wall.
Following a brief rain delay in the bottom of the third, both pitchers allowed their second hit in the fourth inning. Wheeler’s was once again a home run, a two-run shot to Teoscar Hernandez. Hernandez drove in Josh Donaldson, who had walked. Happ’s second hit allowed, a Wilmer Flores double, was stranded. Toronto sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth inning and scored three runs on three hits and three walks before leaving the bases loaded. Donaldson drove in one with a single; Smoak plated two with a double.
With Wheeler long gone, Toronto kept their foot on the gas in the sixth, adding three runs on four hits. Happ led off the inning with a single, moved to third on Curtis Granderson’s second double of the game, and scored on a Donaldson sac fly. Hernandez and Pillar also drove in runs. Hernandez was originally called safe at second on an attempted force out, but on replay the call was overturned. Happ left the game after seven scoreless innings. After several defensive replacements, Richard Urena hit a three-run homer in the ninth. He drove in Dwight Smith Jr., who’d doubled after earlier being used to pinch-run for Granderson, and Maile, who had singled.
Brandon Nimmo ended the shutout at the last possible moment, hitting a home run off Danny Barnes with two out and two strikes in the ninth inning. Then, after a lengthy delay for the grounds crew to work on the infield again, Flores doubled. Barnes then got Michael Conforto to ground out to end the game.
Anthony Alford was optioned to triple-A Buffalo on Monday, but the corresponding move wasn’t announced until Tuesday, when Dwight Smith Jr. was recalled. Deck McGuire was optioned on Tuesday and Danny Barnes was called up.
Because it was a National League game, and double-switches are common, Russell Martin played shortstop for the first time in his career on Tuesday. He spent one inning at the position and didn’t have to make any plays. I wonder if he'll try to imitate Andrew Romine and play all nine positions in one game...
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- Before Wednesday, the Blue Jays had played 14 consecutive games without their starting pitcher recording a win. It was the second-longest such streak in team history. Their last starter with a win was Aaron Sanchez on April 30 against the Twins.
- Wednesday also broke the franchise winless streak on the road against the Mets. Toronto has played 13 games combined at Shea Stadium and Citi Field, and lost all of the first 12.
- J.A. Happ joined Roy Halladay as the only Blue Jays pitchers to score two runs in the same game. Halladay had scored two on June 6, 2003 in Cincinnati.
- Happ also became the first pitcher in team history to reach base three times in one game.
My favourite player(s) this series: Happ
J.A. Happ struggled in his last two starts, but this week he looked more like his April self. He held the Mets scoreless over seven innings, allowed just two hits, and didn’t walk anyone. He set down the last 11 batters of his start in order, and struck out 10. To top it off, he had a productive day at the plate with two hits, a walk, and two runs scored. He also tied or set a few Blue Jays records for hitting pitchers (see above). He also made an excellent defensive play to start the fifth, sliding on wet grass to retrieve the ball and shoveling to first base for the out.
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The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit the Handbook page for more information!