For those that believe in momentum in baseball, Wednesday’s afternoon matinée between the Toronto Blue Jays and the San Diego Padres at the Rogers Centre dispelled that notion rather quickly. After the Jays’ thrilling come-from-behind victory Tuesday over the Padres the home squad’s lackluster play on both sides of the field made for a sloppy and energy killing game. Toronto look befuddled at the plate and in the field for much of the game, minus a brief glimmer in the home half of the sixth, leading to a decisive 8-4 Padres victory.
The Jays managed a meager six hits and proved ineffective for much of the night all across the diamond. R.A. Dickey, who got bumped into Wednesday’s matinée to rest Marco Estrada’s back and to pit Toronto’s top three starters against the Baltimore Orioles in their upcoming weekend series, was shaky. The 41-year-old walked four, gave up a pair of home runs, and surrendered six earned runs. Those home runs give Dickey a league-leading 26 home runs against, and was the second-straight appearance where the former Cy Young winner allowed six earned runs against.
All the blame should not fall on Dickey’s shoulders however. The defense was suspect, and the offense was mostly invisible. A perfect snapshot that summed up the Jays’ day occurred in the top of the fourth inning on Padres’ Christian Bethancourt little league home run. The San Diego catcher hit a double to right-centre field, bouncing up against the wall. Kevin Pillar picked the ball off the wall, bobbled it, dropped it, and lost it between his legs. Ezequiel Carrera picked it up and threw to cutoff man, Devon Travis. Bethancourt was easily at third but Travis threw the ball anyways. Josh Donaldson misplayed the hop and the ball fell behind him, and Bethancourt walked home.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
R.A. Dickey has given up his fair share of home runs, including a pair on Wednesday. The first of which, an Adam Rosales two-run shot into the first-row of seats in left-centre field, proved to be the turning point for the Padres.
Rosales took a 0-1 knuckleball into the seats in the third inning, scoring former Jay Brett Wallace, and giving the Padres a 2-0 lead. This play resulted in a 19.6% jump in win expectancy for the Padres, and gave San Diego a lead they would never relinquish.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
Jose Bautista has struggled since returning to the lineup on Monday, going 1-for-11 with three strikeouts, and he didn’t help resurrect those numbers Wednesday with a second straight hitless game in four at bats. The biggest of which game just as the Jays looked to be staging a comeback against the Padres. After cutting the deficit to three in the sixth, Josh Thole walked to leadoff the seventh. Bautista followed and took a 1-0 fastball from Brad Hand and promptly hit into a 6-4-3 double play. The Jays win expectancy declined by 9.3%, and following to 7.8% on the day.
The Jays never had another man reach base for the rest of the game.
Upton scores, Benoit debuts
Melvin Upton Jr. started his first game as a Blue Jay, and had one shining moment, a moment that proved exactly why the Jays acquired him in the first place. After notching his first hit in the sixth, a single through the right side of the infield, Upton showed off his wheels. Kevin Pillar followed, and hit a two-out liner off the left field wall. Encarnacion scored, and Upton followed shortly thereafter, scoring easily from first to cut the Padres lead to four at the time. It was a nice play, and small indication of what he can offer the Jays moving forward.
Not to be outdone, the newly acquired Joaquin Benoit had some nice moments despite a nervy ninth inning. Benoit struck out two, including former All-Star Matt Kemp, induced a flyout, but did so around two walks. Despite coming in trailing by four, Jays manager John Gibbons didn’t want the Padres to add to their lead, so he had Brett Cecil warming up in the bullpen if things got away from Benoit.
The Blue Jays have an off day tomorrow before the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles come to town for a weekend series that starts Friday night. Thanks to Tuesday’s swift decision to push Marco Estrada back a day the Orioles will be tasked with facing the Jays’ top three starters in the three-game set. Estrada will take the mound Friday, followed by J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez, in a pivotal late-season matchup that could dramatically alter the AL East landscape for the stretch run.
Lead Photo: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports