The Blue Jays dropped the rubber game of a three game set to Kansas City on Sunday afternoon as the offense once again failed to deliver in a 7-1 defeat at the hands of the reigning champs. Marcus Stroman was bested by Yordano Ventura and the Jays failed to take advantage of their nine baserunners on the day in a disappointing end to the road trip.
Stroman struggled to deal with Royals Baseball(TM), victimized by bloops and bunts and only exacerbated the problems with some mistakes of his own. In the second inning Stroman fielded a weak comebacker after issuing a leadoff walk to Kendrys Morales. Stroman fired high on what should’ve been a double play and allowed Alex Gordon to reach on a fielder’s choice. Two singles and an RBI bunt (plus a Stroman throwing error) later, Kansas City took a 2-0 lead. A leadoff home run in the fifth inning from Alcides Escobar accounted for the other run off Stroman on the day. His final line reads 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K on 95 pitches.
Scott Feldman worked a clean sixth but ran into trouble in the seventh. The Royals came back out and collected three straight hits (one bunt, of course) off of Scott Feldman to load the bases with no outs. After a strikeout of Lorenzo Cain, Brett Cecil came in to try and put out the fire. He struck out Eric Hosmer and then conceded a two out grand slam to Morales to put the game away.
The Blue Jays had runners on in five innings but only had one make it to third base. With just one hit since the fourth inning, the team wasted four walks from Ventura and failed to drive in any runs. The lone run of the day came in the seventh when Darwin Barney scored on a wild pitch. It was a deflating day for the Blue Jays who could muster only six hits in dropping the series finale.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
The top play of the day came in the second inning when backup catcher Drew Butera poked a soft liner into the outfield to cash in Alex Gordon. Gordon was the batter who reached thanks to Stroman’s bad throw on a double play attempt. That misfire cost Stroman in the end, as Butera’s RBI single notched a 0.128 WPA.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
The bottom play of the game also came in the second inning when Alcides Escobar grounded into a strange double play. With runners on second and third, Escobar grounded out sharply to Edwin Encarnacion at first. Butera held up at third but Raul Mondesi foolishly took off from second base. Encarnacion astutely ran Mondesi to third and forced Butera to head home where he was tagged out by Josh Thole after a brief rundown. The play was good for a -0.094 WPA.
Devon Travis Still Swinging
The sophomore second baseman pushed his hitting streak to four and has hit safely in nine of his last eleven games. Travis entered Toronto’s July 10th game against Detroit with a .262 batting average but has climbed all the way up to .293. Since that day he’s hit .355 with four home runs and 10 RBI. While the rest of the team is slumping, Travis has been excelling at the top of the lineup. He looks to have reclaimed the leadoff role and will hopefully continue to provide a steady on-base presence atop the order.
The Blue Jays are going through something of a late-summer swoon as of late, having scored just 17 runs on this seven game road trip. If not for the hot streak of Travis, the team might be looking at a very different week in the rearview mirror. The strikeouts piled up in Houston and it felt like the Jays couldn’t catch a break in Kansas City. Whatever the case, the team will try to leave those troubles behind and get back on track with a brief homestand.
Despite dropping two of three to Kansas City, the Blue Jays will be satisfied with a 4-3 record on their road trip through Houston and KC. The team returns home tomorrow to kick off a three game set with the Tampa Bay Rays. R.A. Dickey (8-12, 4.49 ERA) will toe the rubber against right hander Jake Odorizzi (6-5, 3.70 ERA) with first pitch scheduled for 7:07 PM EST.
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