Chris Young facing the Blue Jays’ powerful line-up seemed like a bad matchup for the Kansas City Royals, and the game bore that out. The Jays socked four home runs, two of them by Josh Donaldson, chasing Young early en route to an 8-3 victory. That he only allowed six runs was somewhat flattering to the embattled Royals starter, who was hit hard and often in an outing that got into just the third inning before he was mercifully pulled. Former Toronto pitcher Chien-Ming Wang relieved him, and managed to keep the Jays mostly at bay after that, but the damage had already been done.
Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey looked fantastic early, his knuckler dancing all over the place as he struck out five of the first six hitters he faced. He did get into trouble a couple times over his seven inning outing, but worked out of it, and enjoyed the unusually strong support he got from the offense. The eight strikeouts he recorded were his second highest total of the season. An injury-depleted Royals lineup wasn’t able to mount much against him or Joe Biagini, who pitched the last two innings to finish up the contest.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
The rain came early to the Rogers Centre tonight, as Young gave up an early centre field dinger to Josh Donaldson with one out in the first inning. The opening strike for the Blue Jays gave them a 1-0 lead, and increased their chance to win by 10.3 percentage points.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
After two airtight innings from Dickey, he ran into some trouble in the third inning, allowing a double and a walk with one out. Christian Colon came to the plate and grounded into a double play, ending the inning and the threat, lowering the Royals’ chances to win by 10.2 percentage points.
The Good and Bad of R.A. Dickey
Dickey looked primed for a dominant outing after striking out the side in the first and following it up with two more in the second. His knuckleball was fluttering in and out of the strike zone, and the Royals weren’t close to it. As it happens with Dickey, the knuckleball stopped finding the strike zone, and he did get into some trouble in the middle innings. But he limited the damage, getting a couple of double plays, and even getting a strike out on a fastball in the fifth inning.
The Jays tend to be aggressive on the base paths despite not having much team speed, and they made some mistakes in this game. With a 6-0 lead, one out in the third, and Wang in the game for the Royals, Kevin Pillar tried to steal second off Salvador Perez, who gunned him down. In the next inning, Ezequiel Carrera was caught in a run down on a ground ball to the shortstop, and was out between second and third (though he did stay on the bases long enough to get Donaldson to second base, essentially replacing him). Then, in the sixth inning, Devon Travis inexplicably tried to steal second base with Josh Thole at the plate, in what might have been a failed hit-and-run. Though none of the mistakes mattered to the result, they were still very curious.
The Offense Continues to Roll
Even with Jose Bautista on the disabled list, the Jays’ offense has been rolling recently, scoring a total of 40 runs in their last four games. Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki continued hitting everything in sight, accounting for three home runs and five RBIs between them on the evening. Though they won’t always have the pleasure of facing Chris Young, it’s been fantastic to see the Jays beating up on teams much like the 2015 team did, rolling out to a big lead and never letting the opponent back into the game. Hopefully the hitters can stay hot, and the Jays can keep racking up wins.
Tomorrow’s third game of the series also starts at 7:07 ET, and sees the Jays send opening day starter Marcus Stroman (6-4, 5.08 ERA) to the mound. He will face free-agent acquisition Ian Kennedy (6-7, 4.04). After struggling for the last couple of months, Stroman had an encouraging start Saturday against the Indians, going six innings and allowing just one run, striking out six batters. Despite coming up with the Yankees, Kennedy hasn’t faced the Blue Jays since September 13, 2007, when he threw seven strong innings in an eventual loss.
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