It’s safe to say that no game, since the home opener, this season began with more positive energy than this one. Coming in with a 7-2 record since the disastrous three-game sweep at home by the Rays, which was surely the “gut check” moment of the season so far, the 2015 confidence was back in play. Even so, the exuberance had to be tempered a bit by the knowledge that RA Dickey entered the game with a 5.94 ERA against AL East opponents this year (six of his 10 starts this year) and 7.45 against Boston in two starts. And of course, the memory of knowing what David Price is capable of on any given day.
Dickey put fears about his performance to rest in a dominant no-hit performance through five innings. Price held the Jays scoreless until Jose Bautista delivered a two-run homer into the left field corner in the bottom of the fifth. Now the onus was on Dickey to shut down the Boston club in the sixth.
Alas, it was not to be. With one out in the sixth, Mookie Betts gave the Red Sox their first hit, a triple, followed by single, single, walk, HBP and the game was tied when Dickey left the game with nothing to show for his 5.1 no-hit innings. Chad Girodo came in and walked the go ahead run home, before Jesse Chavez replaced him to get two big outs and leave the bases loaded. The pressure now shifted back to David Price, and he delivered. The score remained 3-2 until the bottom of the eighth.
Edwin Encarnacion changed that up when he launched his 10th homer of the year off Red Sox reliever Heath Hembree to lead off the inning. The Blue Jays put two more baserunners on in the inning, but failed to score again. They put two on in the bottom of the ninth and stranded them again. Extra innings would be needed to settle it.
Things began to fall apart for the Jays in the 11th inning. A (probably tired) Gavin Floyd walked two and gave way to Drew Storen, Storen surrendered a ground-rule double which was followed by an RBI groundout and the home team was down 5-3. Koji Uehara easily retired the Blue Jays in the bottom of the inning and the Red Sox avoided the sweep.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
Dustin Pedroia’s ground rule double that drove in the go-ahead tun in the 11th inning increased the Red Sox’s win probability by, as you might expect, 40%. It was the clutch hit the Red Sox needed to put them over the top. The Blue Jays failures in that regard were further magnified by Pedroia’s ability to execute.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
An inning before, Josh Rutledge flew out to center field with 2 on and 2 out, decreasing Boston’s chances by 14.6%.
Trend To Watch
The Blue Jays burned through six relievers to get through the 11th inning, leaving Aaron Loup as the last man standing out there. Given that three of the six were also used on Saturday, the Jays may want to go to an eight man bullpen vs. the Yankees, since there is no off-day between series. Stay tuned for possible roster moves.
Marco Estrada and his 2.76 ERA take the mound for the Blue Jays tomorrow as the Yankees come to town and the Toronto club looks to feast on Ivan Nova (3.65 ERA and 63% groundball rate).
Lead photo credit : Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports