This game was wild from the very first inning. Mookie Betts hit a double over Kevin Pillar’s head in centre, a play Pillar usually makes, which cashed in the games first run. However, it was far from the last one in a high scoring affair. Edwin Encarnacion answered in the bottom of the first inning with a home run, tying up the game at one. Then the Jays fell behind 4-1 after a Jackie Bradley Jr. three-run shot. Aaron Sanchez looked quite awful today. He wasn’t able to locate his pitches with any resemblance of effectiveness, specifically his sinker. The Jays continued to rebound despite the lacklustre pitching, as in the third inning, Troy Tulowitzki hit a monster grand slam which gave the Blue Jays the lead at 6-4. It did not last long, however, as Sanchez gave up two in the next inning and got the quick (but deserved) hook from John Gibbons.
There were a lot more home runs in this affair. Edwin hit another, Hanley Ramirez cranked a shot to the flight deck and Ortiz gave the deafening blow, launching a three run shot to right field. Good riddance, Big Papi. The Jays lost a series they needed to win. There isn’t much time left but the Jays have to quickly turn it around in September. Thus far, they are 2-7 in the month, which is not even close to good enough for a team in a TIGHT playoff race.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
It is tough to imagine that the top play of the game does not go to Troy Tulowitzki, who hit a grand slam in the third inning. In fact, the top play goes to Big Papi, who cranked a three-run homer off of Joaqiun Benoit in the sixth inning. The Red Sox were down by one run at the time and immediately pulled themselves out in front by two thanks to Ortiz. He attributed 0.367 WPA for the Red Sox which was clearly the defining play in the entire game. Ortiz also passed Jimmy Foxx on the all-time home run leaderboard; Big Papi hit his 535th home run to claim sole possession of #18 on the list. Next in his sights, is Yankee legend Micky Mantle with 536.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
The worst play of the game goes to Devon Travis in the sixth inning, when he was facing submariner Brad Ziegler. The Jays were down two runs at that time and Ryan Goins was on first base with no outs. Travis grounded out weakly to shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who was able to turn the double play with ease. A promising inning turned quickly negative with one weak swing of the bat from the Jays DH on Sunday. The double play detracted 0.118 WPA from the Blue Jays’ chance of winning.
In the third inning, the Jays had the bases loaded against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz. He walked Russell Martin which allowed Donaldson a free pass to home plate. Troy Tulowitzki stepped up and did not wait for Buchholz to get settled into the at-bat. On the first pitch, Tulowitzki launched an absolute bomb to deep left field clearing the bases and tallying four runs for the Jays. Although Tulowitzki hasn’t hit a grand slam since 2008, he has been tearing the cover off of the ball as of late. In the last month, he has hit just under .300; a marked improvement upon earlier in the season. On Sunday, Tulowitzki went 4-5 and has finally begun to play like the Tulo that Colorado Rockies fans witnessed for years. If the Jays plan on making a surge at the end of the season, Tulowitzki will certainly be in the middle of the action.
The Blue Jays are blessed with an incredibly easy portion of their schedule considering it is September and it feels like every game has been against a division rival recently. The Tampa Bay Rays are coming to the Rogers Centre beginning Monday. Then the Jays play the Angels and the Mariners afterwards; all of these series are winnable, and must be won if the Jays want to claim the division title.
Lead Photo: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports