The Toronto Blue Jays entered tonight’s game 13 games above .500 and just one game back of the division-leading Orioles, sending Marco Estrada to the mound to face Houston’s Collin McHugh. The concern entering the game was Estrada’s recurring back pain, which was clearly an issue for him in his previous two starts. Estrada, however, appeared to be in fine form tonight, holding the Astros’ offense to just two hits with six strike outs through the first five innings, baffling hitters with his spectacular changeup. He surrendered a two-out sixth-inning double to Marwin Gonzalez, who came around to score on a single by MVP-candidate Jose Altuve. The Jays, meanwhile, continued their all-or-nothing approach at the plate, scoring their first run off of a Josh Donaldson opposite field home run in the fourth inning followed by back-to-back jacks courtesy of Jose Bautista and Donaldson in the sixth. Though both teams would threaten, neither team would score beyond the sixth inning, solidifying a 3-1 Jays win.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
The top play of the game by WPA (.129) came in the top of the sixth inning off of the bat of Jose Bautista, who crushed his 15th home run of the season on a liner to left field to give the Jays a 2-0 lead.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
The Astros threatened in their half of the eighth, getting runners to second and third with one out thanks to some questionable defense behind Joe Biagini. After a rare mound visit by John Gibbons, Biagini settled in to face Jose Altuve, who promptly flew out to right field to provide the bottom play of the game by WPA (-.139).
So. Many. Strikeouts.
For the third night in a row, the Jays amassed a worrisome number of strikeouts, wracking up 14 tonight. Meanwhile, all ten runs they’ve scored thus far in Houston have come off of solo home runs. In fact, the last time they scored a run that wasn’t via the long ball was during the second inning on Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles. Perhaps a change in plate approach is necessary; perhaps a lineup shuffle would do the trick. Either way, one hopes this offense can find a way to make more contact.
With tonight’s win, the Jays keep pace with the Baltimore Orioles to remain one game back in the AL East. The Jays will finish out their four-game set against the Astros at 8:10 PM ET tomorrow, sending J.A. Happ to the mound to do battle against Mike Fiers.
Lead Photo: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports