If you decided not to watch tonight’s game because you assumed the Blue Jays would cruise to a blowout victory, nobody would fault you. Jered Weaver has been awful this season, entering tonight’s game with a 5.47 ERA in 24 starts for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Conversely, J.A. Happ came into the game tonight in the thick of the Cy Young debate, leading the league with 17 wins and posting a 3.05 ERA in 150 1/3 innings pitcher so far. However, you can’t predict baseball, and thus, the expected outcome was not the case tonight.
The Blue Jays were struggling to hit the slow throwing Weaver, as they managed just two runs on three hits through the first five innings. Things fell apart for Happ in the top of the sixth, as he got messed over by some lucky bounces and ground ball hits. John Gibbons came to get him after zero outs had been recorded and the Angels scored three runs, bringing in Joe Biagini to try to get out of the jam. He recorded a ground ball to get a couple of outs and got Andrelton Simmons on a flyball to end the inning, but another run scored on the double play to make it a 4-2 ballgame. The Blue Jays threatened in their half of the sixth loading the bases with two outs, but Darwin Barney grounded out to end the inning and keep the Jays off of the scoreboard again. The Blue Jays allowed another two runs in the seventh inning, as Joaquin Benoit allowed a two run single to Mike Trout that doubled the Angels’ lead to 6-2. The Blue Jays got one in the ninth, but still lost the game 6-3 and the series two games to one.
In the end, it was an ugly game tonight for Toronto. This is one they should have won, and instead, they came out and couldn’t do anything. They didn’t lose ground because the Red Sox lost earlier in the day, so they still lead the division, but not capitalizing on this opportunity could cost them later in the schedule. This was a tough one to watch. Awful.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
The top play in tonight’s game came off of the bat from baseball’s best player, Mike Trout. With the bases loaded and nobody out in the top of the sixth inning, Trout stepped up to the plate against J.A. Happ hoping to put the Angels on the board for the first time tonight. He did just that, hitting a ground ball to left field that scored both Kaleb Cowart and Gregorio Petit, and increasing the Angels’ WPA by 16.2 percentage points.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
After Kevin Pillar and Melvin Upton Jr. singled with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Ezequiel Carrera walked to load the bases. That brought up Darwin Barney, who grounded out, keeping the score at 4-2, and lowering the Blue Jays’ chances of winning by 11.8%.
Trend to Watch
Brett Cecil hasn’t had the best season to date, but for some reason, manager John Gibbons has kept on throwing him into the fire expecting different results. It is *probably* time for him to stop doing that, as yet again, Gibbons put him in a tough situation tonight and Cecil failed to deliver. After Joe Biagini put two runners on in the seventh inning, Cecil was summoned with one out to record an out against a lefty in Kole Calhoun. Instead, he walked him, and was promptly removed from the game. He has allowed a .385/.432/.615 line in high leverage spots in 2016, which is…not good. We know Cecil is very talented, but sometimes relievers just have those seasons. Things happen.
After dropping two of three from the lowly Los Angeles Angels, the Blue Jays will continue to host less than stellar ballclubs as the Minnesota Twins come to town for a three game series. Pitching the series opener for the Blue Jays will be Francisco Liriano (6-12, 5.21) and he will be opposed by Pat Dean (1-3, 5.48). First pitch is set for 7:07 PM ET Friday.
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