The Blue Jays previous two games have run the gamut on the emotional investment side of things. The opener against the Tigers was an 11-0 laugher, and the Blue Jays were out of it from basically the get go. The second game featured a dominant performance by Aaron Sanchez, but unfortunately the offense couldn’t score and the team lost 3-2 in 10 innings after leading for eight. In game three, the Blue Jays decided to avoid all those negative feelings.
Justin Smoak got things started with a home run. Josh Donaldson hit one as well. Josh also hit a triple, as did Kevin Pillar. R.A. Dickey was fine, allowing a lot of hard contact, but still limiting the damage to just two runs scored. It wasn’t the best game for him, but thankfully, he didn’t have to be perfect like Sanchez last night, because the offense decided to do their job.
John Gibbons went to the bullpen as soon as things got serious in the sixth inning, and it paid off. With a runner in scoring position and one out, Jesse Chavez came into the game and struck out two straight to end the inning. Chavez worked the seventh and continued to look good, but in the eighth came Drew Storen and his usual antics. Storen put runners on first and second with one out, but was able to escape without allowing a run. Aaron Loup and Gavin Floyd finished things off in the ninth inning to give the Blue Jays the victory.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
After the Blue Jays jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on the strength of a Justin Smoak home run, the Tigers found themselves with a hole to climb out of early. That wouldn’t be a problem, as with Mike Aviles at first base and two out, Nick Castellanos hit a home run on a 2-2 pitch to tie the game at two. This increased the Tigers’ chance of winning by 19.1 percentage points, though that obviously was not enough in the end.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
Eventually, batters will stop getting greedy on first base when R.A. Dickey is on the mound. It hasn’t happened yet though, and the biggest blow to the Tigers’ chances of winning this game occurred when Jose Iglesias was picked off in the second inning. There were runners on first and third with one out when Iglesias was caught leaning and Dickey fired over to Justin Smoak at first to record the out. This play had a WPA of -.082, the lowest such value in the game.
Donaldson Does His Thing
Despite still having a good season, Josh Donaldson’s numbers have been down across the board compared to his 2015 MVP stats. Today, though, Donaldson was fantastic, going 3-4 and finishing just a double shy of the cycle. On a team where consistent offense has been hard to come by, Donaldson has been a pleasure to watch in 2016.
Trend to Watch
Many of the Blue Jays’ offensive problems in 2016 can be traced back to their inability to hit with runners in scoring position. A lot of people will credit this to bad luck, as their hits have come at times when runners were not in scoring position, whereas others will say it is a skill to hit with runners close to coming home. Regardless, the Blue Jays were a lot better in this department today, going 4 for 10, after going 0-9 in Tuesday’s game.
The Blue Jays will try to make it two victories in a row tomorrow night against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre. Marcus Stroman (5-2, 4.82) will be facing Tyler Wilson (2-5, 4.39) with a 7:07 PM eastern first pitch.
Lead Photo: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports