Recap: Rays 8, Blue Jays 3; Stone Hands Sink Jays In Opener

The Jays played a sloppy game against the Rays in the series opener in Tropicana Field, losing 8-3. Toronto was unable to field the ball cleanly all game and it was largely their defense which lost them the game. The offense didn’t produce either. Donaldson and Encarnacion hit back-to-back doubles in the first which showed promise for the how the game would turn out but it was anything but. Stroman, who looked good through the first few frames, began to miss his spots and throw the ball over the heart of the plate. Tampa hasn’t been tremendous this year, but they don’t miss meatballs down the middle, as Logan Morrison did against Marcus Stroman tonight. All in all, a bad game for the Jays and they have a chance to win the series by taking the next two in a row at the Trop

Top Play of the Game by WPA

The play that really broke the game open was Logan Morrison’s two-run homer in the sixth inning off of Marcus Stroman. The game was tied prior to the ball clearing the fence. Morrison cranked a sinker from Stroman which stayed up about thigh-high but sat right on the inside half of the plate. Logan put a picture-perfect swing on it and the Rays never relinquished the lead after. That home run increased the Rays’ chance of winning by 0.167 WPA.

Bottom Play of the Game by WPA

The worst play of the night is awarded to Melvin Upton Jr. In the sixth inning, the Jays had something going with men on first and second, albeit with two outs. Upton grounded back straight to the pitcher, Danny Farquhar, who quite literally sprinted off the mound toward first base. It wasn’t a terrible play by WPA standards, only decreasing the Jays chance of winning by -0.064. Having said that, it would be nice for Upton to put together some good at-bats. The results have been better for Melvin lately but he swings at too many borderline pitches that he can’t do much with even if he connects.

Sloppy Game

That may have been the sloppiest game I’ve watched the Jays play all year. In the third inning, the Rays had a man on first base when Kevin Kiermaier hit a groundball at Devon Travis. Travis had to move to his left and attempted to get the lead runner at second; in his haste he bobbled the ball and both runners were safe. Donaldson, who could be compared to a vacuum cleaner, allowed a ball to pinball in between his legs tonight. The Jays were even having trouble connecting with the cut off man. Michael Saunders fielded a ball in right-centre and threw it back into the infield. He missed both Travis and Tulowitzki, with the ball eventually residing at Donaldson’s feet. I’m not sure what came over the Jays, who are usually quite sure-handed defensively, but I am glad it all happened in one game. Hopefully, that type of performance is behind the club.

Up Next

This was the first game of a three game series against the Rays in the lovely Trop. The Blue Birds were beaten down tonight, but they have a chance to take flight again tomorrow at 6 pm ET, in a game that will have Marco Estrada facing off against Chris Archer.

Lead Photo: Kim Klement – USA Today Sports

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