As with all of their other losses in the ALCS, the Blue Jays fell behind early, and failed to figure any way to come back over the next 8 innings. The Jays fell 3-0, and in the series 4-1, and I don’t recall them ever getting a runner to third base.
Things did not start off well for the Blue Jays in this win or go home game, and they didn’t get any better as the innings wore on.
A Mike Napoli double off of starter Marco Estrada resulted in a 1-0 deficit for the Jays before they even got a chance to bat. Their bats were completely paralyzed by the rookie junkballer Ryan Merritt, as he faced one over the minimum through his four and a third innings.
Solo home runs by Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp made it a 3-0 hole, and the Blue Jays found themselves inside a seemingly bottomless pit, from which their offense was reluctant to climb.
Cecil, Biagini and Osuna held the line, once again giving up zero runs over their combined three frames, but in a familiar turn of events, the Blue Jays could not solve the Cleveland bullpen.
Jose Bautista doubled to lead off the 9th, in what might well be his last at-bat as a Blue Jay. Two strikeouts and a popup later, the Blue Jays 2016 season was over. Cleveland moves on to the World Series.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
The game was, in a way, won in the first inning with that Mike Napoli run scoring double. That hit raised the odds of a Cleveland victory by 11%, and they just kept inching upwards from there.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
Josh Donaldson did not have an MVP calibre day, highlighted by the double play he hit into in the 6th inning, that twin killing cost the Jays .058 of a win. It’s also a note about how few opportunities the Jays had, since nothing moved the needle more than 6% for Toronto.
Bautista Goes Out Hitting?
Jose Bautista’s Toronto tenure may be over. He did himself proud on this day, going 2-4 with a double on a day when not other Jays got multiple hits, or hit for extra bases. As he rolls into free agency, there are many Blue Jay moments that will define his career, and the franchise’s history. Players like that are few and far between
Staring out the window and waiting for spring. (Well, a World Series next week if you still need baseball in your life for a few more games.)
Lead Photo Credit -Nick Turchiaro USA TODAY Sports