With their offense sputtering in the Cleveland series, the Blue Jays came back home hoping to build some confidence against a struggling L.A. Angels squad. They got their wish, mixing a balanced offensive attack and a good start from their knuckleballer to beat the Angels 7-2.
R.A. Dickey was solid, mostly avoiding the big innings that occasionally plague his starts. He did get into trouble in the second inning, when Andrelton Simmons led off with a single, and was driven home when left fielder Nick Buss went yard. After that, it was relatively quiet, as Dickey kept the Angels off the board. But the important players were mostly silent, and Dickey finished with a solid line: 6 and 2/3 innings, six hits, two walk, two runs, and two strikeouts. The one home run accounted for all the damage, and Dickey’s done a good job limiting home runs of late, which have been a problem for him all through his Jays career. The bullpen kept it quiet after Dickey left, as Joe Biagini and Scott Feldman wrapped up the game without a lot of fuss.
Angels starter Tyler Skaggs didn’t make much account of himself, managing only one clean inning before eventually being removed after one batter in the fifth. Darwin Barney, who was in the lineup for Devon Travis, led off the game with a double and later scored on a Russell Martin single. The third inning saw the Jays get two more runs after the first four batters reached base, though it was on three walks, a single, and a double play. Kevin Pillar led off the fourth with a double, and was cashed in on a Josh Thole sacrifice fly. After Skaggs walked the first batter in the fifth inning, Angels manager Mike Scioscia had seen enough, and called for Mike Morin from the bullpen. Though Josh Donaldson was erased when he was caught stealing, the Jays did get two more runs off Morin, widening their lead.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
There was one out in the second inning, and Simmons had just reached base on an infield single, when Buss strode to the plate and hit a no-doubter to right field, giving the Angels a 2-1 lead. This had a positive WPA of .188, as the Angels were trailing prior to the home run, and leading after it.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
The Jays were trailing 2-1 in the third inning, and Mike Trout led off the inning with a walk. Albert Pujols then grounded into a double play, eliminating both runners and ending the Angels’ threat. This had a WPA of -.072, as one of the few times the Angels really threatened after the second inning.Jay
MVPs Get TOOTBLANed
The reigning American League MVP had a tough night on the bases, one of the few warts in a game the Jays should generally be happy about. Though the Jays did get two runs in the fifth inning, they could have had more if not for Donaldson getting caught stealing with nobody out after Morin came into the game. Then in the seventh, he hit one into the outfield corner, and was caught easily trying to stretch it into a double. Thankfully for the Jays, it didn’t matter much in the end.
Not to be outdone, perennial MVP candidate Mike Trout got in on the fun in the eighth inning. He did steal a base off Biagini, but was caught stealing shortly after, when Biagini stepped off and caught him trying to sneak to third base.
Martin was inserted into the cleanup spot for tonight’s game, getting a rare start at DH. He rewarded John Gibbons for the move, going 2 for 4 with a walk, two runs, and an RBI. With Michael Saunders struggling, one wonders if Gibbons might look at that as a more permanent arrangement.
Tomorrow’s game is at 7:07 ET. The Jays will start Marco Estrada (7-5, 3.20 ) to the mound, and he’ll be opposed by Matt Shoemaker (7-13, 4.14 ERA). Estrada is coming off his worst start of the year, going just four innings against the Yankees, allowing five runs and three home runs, though the Jays rallied for a 12-6 win. Shoemaker most recently notched a win against the Mariners, going seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks, striking out five.
Lead Photo: John E. Sokolowski – USA Today