Recap: Tigers 3, Blue Jays 2; A Wasted Effort

A night after the Jays were trounced 11-0 by the Tigers, Aaron Sanchez pitched an absolute gem of a game, locked in a pitchers’ duel with Tigers’ starter (and former Blue Jay) Matt Boyd through five innings. The first hit of the game was a Justin Upton opposite field double to lead off the third inning, but Sanchez retired the side on two strike outs and a ground out. He wouldn’t end up giving up another hit until the 9th inning. He was throwing all of his pitches, and commanding them to all four quadrants of the zone, and out of the zone when necessary.

For their part, the offensively-challenged Jays, who managed just three hits Monday night, ended Matt Boyd’s no-hit bid when Kevin Pillar homered to lead off the fifth inning. After giving up singles to Russell Martin and Michael Saunders and sitting at 101 pitches in the sixth inning, Boyd was pulled by the game for pitcher Shane Greene, but Martin was caught stealing (bit on a pump fake from Jarrod Saltalamacchia) to effectively end the threat. The Jays would plate another run in the seventh when Kevin Pillar and Darwin Barney led off the inning with back-to-back singles, with Pillar scoring from third on a fielder’s choice by Jose Bautista. The Jays would threaten again in the ninth, loading the bases with one out for Edwin Encarnacion, but failed to drive home a run. With a complete game shut-out on the line, Sanchez came out to pitch the ninth, but promptly gave up a lead-off single to Jose Iglesias followed by a double by Ian Kinsler, which scored Iglesias to make it 2-1. John Gibbons made the switch to closer Roberto Osuna, who blew the save (though he had very little chance to hold it) when Miguel Cabrera doubled home Kinsler to tie the game. The Tigers would walk it off in the tenth inning when Joe Biagini gave up a single to Ian Kinsler with the bases loaded to win the game 3-2.

Top Play of the Game by WPA

Miguel Cabrera’s double off Roberto Osuna to score Ian Kinsler to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth and force extra innings was the top play of the game by WPA (.286).

Bottom Play of the Game by WPA

The Tigers rallied in the bottom of the ninth, scoring one run off of Sanchez before scoring the tying run off Osuna. With two runs in and Miguel Cabrera standing at third with Victor Martinez at first, Nick Castellanos grounded into a fielder’s choice that ended the Tigers’ bid for a walk-off win, providing the bottom play of the game by WPA (-.111).

Aaron Sanchez

Aaron Sanchez pitched the game of his young career, recording a career-high 12 strikeouts while surrendering just two runs (one after he left the game) on three hits and one walk. He certainly deserved a better fate in this game – and has made the conversation surrounding his innings limit and pending move to the bullpen very intriguing and highly debateable. The 12 strikeouts were a Blue Jays season high, and he was also the first person ever to strike out the notoriously stingy Victor Martinez three times in one game.

Where Have All The Hits Gone?

The most perplexing – and maddening – thing about this season has been the stark lack of offense in comparison to last season. Tonight was no different. The Jays went 0-for-9 with RISP and left 11 stranded on base. Combine that with just three hits Monday night and the fact that the Jays have now gone 0-for their last 19 with RISP, and it really doesn’t matter what the pitching does – this team was built to score runs, and it needs to start doing so before the pitching staff inevitably suffers an injury.

This is rather telling:

Up Next

With their series-win streak over at five, the Jays will look to salvage the series when R.A. Dickey battles Jordan Zimmerman in tomorrow’s afternoon game. Oddly enough, the Blue Jay with the most success against Zimmerman is Josh Thole (who will be in the lineup to catch Dickey), who is 8-for-20 with three RBI against the big right-hander.

Lead Photo: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Related Articles

Leave a comment

Use your Baseball Prospectus username