Aaron Sanchez against Matt Boyd seemed like a slam dunk, but that’s why they play the games. The Blue Jays were looking to extend their winning streak to eight games but came up short against Detroit on Saturday afternoon. Sanchez was not at his best and the offense struggled to get much going against Matt Boyd, resulting in a narrow defeat at the hands of the Tigers.
Sanchez got off to a strong start by striking out the side in the 1st inning but ran into troubles in the 2nd. The Tigers loaded the bases with nobody out when Steven Moya lined to left fielder Ezequiel Carrera who launched a perfect strike to nab a tagging Victor Martinez at the plate. Sanchez looked like he would wriggle off the hook until he was robbed of a third strike on a beautiful curveball that umpire Mark Ripperger simply missed. Jarrod Saltalamacchia turned the extra pitch into a walk, allowing Austin Romine to pick up a RBI after being hit by an errant fastball. When all was said and done, Sanchez was at 48 pitches through two innings. The young starter WAS named to the all-star team after the game, so it wasn’t an entirely bad day for him.
Saltalamacchia would collect an RBI single in the 4th, notching the only other run Detroit could manage off Sanchez. While conceding two runs is hardly a bad day, Sanchez was done in by a high pitch count and lots of high leverage moments. He finished with a line of 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB and 4 K on 92 pitches.
It was looking like the Jays would get to Boyd in the early going but stranded two runners in scoring position to close the 1st. After the early threat, the Jays struggled to get much going against Detroit pitching. Trailing for most of the game, Ezequiel Carerra cut the deficit to one with an RBI triple in the bottom of the 5th but was stranded after Edwin Encarnacion popped out with runners on the corners. The Jays managed to knot the game at two in the 7th thanks to a home run off the bat of Devon Travis but couldn’t crack the rest of the Tigers bullpen.
Jason Grilli quickly surrendered the lead in the 8th, as Victor Martinez crushed a home run to right center field to give the Tigers their third and eventual game-winning run of the day.
Justin Wilson and Francisco Rodriguez preserved the lead and recorded the final six outs without much fanfare.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
Unsurprisingly, Victor Martinez’s dinger off Jason Grilli in the 8th was today’s top play. The homer was good for a WPA of .273.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
Today’s bottom play of the day came off the bat of Steven Moya who lined into a double play. It’s a bit unfair to pin the play on Moya, whose fly ball wasn’t deep enough to score a tagging Victor Martinez from third thanks to a fantastic throw from Ezequiel Carrera. The play resulted in a -.178 WPA.
Baffled by Boyd
Matt Boyd entered the day with a 1-8 career record and 7.17 ERA. Most Jays fans will remember his horrific outing against the Red Sox when he conceded seven runs while failing to record an out in his second career start. The rest of his big league starts haven’t gone too well and it looked like the Jays were set up nicely to hang some runs on the board today.
Boyd, fresh off a AAA stint where he posted a sub-3 ERA, looked like a changed man. Though he only went five innings, he surrendered just four hits and two walks while striking out six. It was a missed opportunity for a Toronto offense that came in hot.
The Jays will look to take three of four from the Tigers and head into the All Star break on a positive note. The final game of the season’s first half comes at 1:07 PM ET tomorrow when R.A. Dickey (6-9, 4.10 ERA) takes on Anibal Sanchez (5-9, 6.52 ERA).