The Toronto Blue Jays have dug themselves a bit of a hole.
After a 2-0 loss in Game One of the ALCS Friday night, the Jays looked to regroup in an effort to split the first two games before heading back to Toronto. First, came a roster-shake up. Manager John Gibbons moved Troy Tulowitzki ahead of a slumping Russell Martin in the lineup, a move that, to many, seemed long overdue. Second baseman Devon Travis, who left last night’s game after aggravating a knee injury, was replaced by Darwin Barney (more on that below).
Cleveland took an early lead when Carlos Santana led off the second inning with a solo shot to left-centre field. The Jays tied the game in the top of the third when Josh Donaldson doubled to right field to drive home Darwin Barney, who had reached on a single. The Jays fell victim to Cleveland’s running game in the bottom of the inning when former Blue Jay Rajai Davis reached base, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and subsequently scored on a single by Francisco Lindor.
Once again, the Jays’ pitching was outstanding, with J.A. Happ, Joe Biagini and Roberto Osuna holding Cleveland to just four hits and two walks with six strikeouts. For the second game in a row, the Jays’ offense simply couldn’t get anything going off Cleveland’s pitching.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
With a runner on second and down by a run, Josh Donaldson stroked a double to right field to drive home Darwin Barney for the Jays’ only run of the game. Though the Jays ultimately lost the game, it was the top play by WPA (.120).
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
Down by a run in the top of the ninth, Edwin Encarnacion struck out looking for the first out of the inning and the bottom play of the game by WPA (-.071).
Devon Travis is Done for the Season
Prior to today’s game, it was reported that Devon Travis had flown to Toronto for an MRI on his injured knee. About an hour before first pitch, the Jays announced that the MRI revealed an injury that had not appeared during tests last week and that MLB had approved him being replaced on the roster with Justin Smoak. Had MLB deemed the injury a pre-existing condition not suffered in last night’s game, they could have denied his replacement. The loss of Travis for the remainder of the postseason is a blow to the Jays’ offense, as Travis was one of their most consistent and versatile hitters all season. Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins will instead take over duties at second base but will not play a straight platoon; John Gibbons said which one starts will depend on matchups.
Can’t Hit the Curveball…or Andrew Miller
The Jays’ hot bats of October have suddenly gone ice cold again. They managed just three hits – their only three hits of the game – off starter Josh Tomlin, who used his curveball very effectively and far more often than is typical for him to induce ground ball outs while striking out six. After a brief appearance by Bryan Shaw, it was Andrew Miller time in Cleveland, who mowed down the Jays, striking out five of six batters faced.
After an off-day tomorrow, the ALCS will resume with Game Three in Toronto Monday night. Marcus Stroman will take the mound against Trevor Bauer in what can only be described as a must-win game for Toronto. First pitch flies at 8:00 PM ET.
Lead Photo: David Richard – USA Today Sports