Losing to the team that’s trailing you in the standings isn’t fun. It’s even less fun when that team is the Orioles. And it again gets worse when the Orioles’ starting pitcher for the night was Ubaldo Jimenez. To call this one a heartbreaker may be an understatement. There were positives, however, as Michael Saunders had two extra base hits, which scored two of the Jays’ three runs of the game. Given that Saunders had just two other multi extra base hit games over the last two months, this was a nice change.
With that said, things weren’t entirely peachy for the Blue Jays, as one would imagine looking at the box score. J.A. Happ was not only unable to put up a win and tie Rick Porcello for the league lead in the category, he also may have put up his worst start of the season. With six hits, two home runs, and two walks off of him over 6 1/3 innings of work, it’s needless to say that Happ struggled against the Orioles offence.
However, it isn’t the hits or home run against totals that are most suprising; it’s the lack of strikeouts. Since his ‘rebirth’, J.A. Happ had put up nine straight starts of five or more strikeouts. On Tuesday, he put up three strikeouts, which puts him more in line with his early season ways. It’s especially interesting because it seemed like people were just starting to accept the new strikeout happy Happ as the norm. Strikeout Happ may still be the norm…but at least now there is reason for pause.
All things considered, the Orioles have a relatively strong offence. So, worrying too much about one poor start from J.A. Happ is unwarranted. But, the Jays will need to keep an eye on him down the stretch, as he works towards unprecedented (for him) innings totals, and continues to pitch in to October *crosses fingers*.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
Tuesday’s top play of the game came via a Matt Wieters off Blue Jays’ reliever Jason Grilli in the 8th inning. It represents the first homer that Grilli has given up in August, and likely clears him of grabbing one homerless month this season. Wieters’ homer increased the Orioles chances of winning by 38%, and the two runs that it added were all that Baltimore needed to etch out a win.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
Tuesday’s bottom play of the game came when Russell Martin grounded in to a double play in the first inning. ‘Twas a departure from Martin, as he’s almost put up a 1.000 OPS in August. The groundout came with one out and men on first and second, dropping the Jays’ chances of winnings by 8.6%.
Wednesday’s game at 7:05 EST in Baltimore will decide the series. While not necessary to maintain first place in the East, it’d be nice if the Jays could hand a series loss to the Orioles. Although, even if a win doesn’t come on Wednesday, Jays fans can take solace in the fact that the team has a 94.9% chance at making the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Orioles are now down to 29.5%.
Lead Photo: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports