Toronto and Tampa Bay completed the three game series on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field. The game seemed to follow the same pattern of the first two games: Jays score early, bats go silent and the pesky Rays start adding on runs. Today, however, the Jays were able to alter the script.
The Blue Jays sent JA Happ to the mound who struggled early giving up hits to the first three batters of the game, and two runs in the first inning. Happ would consistently get ahead of hitters, but was unable to put them away quickly. After getting two quick outs in the third he surrendered three straight singles before being pulled with the Jays down 3-1.
The Blue Jays were challenged with facing Chris Archer, who had a 0.94 WHIP in his last seven starts. He continued this dominant trend on Sunday, holding the Blue Jays offence in check for just over six innings, only allowing one run while striking out nine. Archer would leave the game after surrendering a one out single to Troy Tulowitzki and having thrown 105 pitches.
The Jays would take advantage of the change in pitchers and Brad Boxberger’s wildness to score two runs in the seventh thanks to a bases loaded single by Devon Travis. They would add two more runs off of Kevin Jepsen in the eighth to win the ballgame 5-3.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
After Chris Archer was removed from the game the Jays feasted off of the weak Rays bullpen. They would tie in the seventh and in the eighth take the lead, thanks to a two-run homer by Russell Martin. This blast increased the Blue Jays win expectancy by 24.3 percentage points. This was Martin’s 17th home run of the season and 10th since August 1st.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
In the seventh inning, after the Blue Jays had tied the game with a two-run single by Travis, Edwin Encarnacion came to the plate with the bases loaded and two out. He proceeded to pop out to the first baseman, Brad Miller, to end the inning. This lowered the win expectancy by 11.9 percentage points. It was a rough day for Encarnacion as he stranded five baserunners in the game.
BULLPEN SHUTS THE DOOR
Manager John Gibbons had to dip into the bullpen in the third inning with two out and two runners on. September call up, Danny Barnes, and deadline acquisition, Scott Feldman, would provide 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. This allowed the offence to battle back and eventually take the lead in the top of the eighth. The “big three” of Joaquin Benoit, Jason Grilli, and Roberto Osuna would shut the door to preserve the lead. Overall the Blue Jays bullpen final line was 6.1 innings, two hits, no runs, no walks, and nine strikeouts.
Toronto leaves Tampa and heads to New York for a three game series to complete the road trip. The Blue Jays will play a Monday afternoon game sending the knuckleballer RA Dickey (9-13, 4.43) against Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka (11-4, 3.12). First pitch at 1:05 PM ET.
Lead Photo: Kim Klement – USA Today Sports