What a bizarre series.
It had everything fans of the Toronto Blue Jays have come to expect from their favourite team: wildly inconsistent pitching, offence that takes its time getting things done and defence in the form of Swiss cheese. There were even some new things added to the mix, including a pair of dramatic comeback victories and Marcus Stroman playing the role of pinch-runner.
Who needs daytime television when you can get your daily dose of drama from the Jays?
Aug 10, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price (14) throws a pitch during the first inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
It wasn’t a pretty series by any stretch of the imagination – the Jays could’ve gone any combination of 0-3, 1-2, 2-1, 3-0, 4-0 or 0-4* – but in the end, they took two key games from the Tigers. They even managed to survive and outlast David Price yesterday – an incredibly rare feat for the Jays given Price’s excellent track record against Toronto.
(Wouldn’t it be something if the Tampa Bay Rays were the key to Price’s success, not the other way around? Price is now winless in two starts for the Tigers.)
I mean, think about it. We saw pitching gems from J.A. Happ and Stroman and another decent outing from R.A. Dickey, but these were matched by complete meltdowns from Mark Buehrle and Casey Janssen. When Janssen entered yesterday’s game in the 14th inning and conceded a hit to the fourth batter he faced with a runner already on base due to shoddy defence, I nearly “shipped” my pants.
“Here it comes,” I thought, “the merciful end thanks to Janssen.”
Fortunately, both Janssen and my pants survived the inning.
Aug 10, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera (53) celebrates the win with first baseman Jose Bautista (19) and shortstop Jose Reyes (7) during the nineteenth inning in a game against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Nolan Reimold got to play the big hero one night in walk-off fashion, then promptly went 0-7 the next night. On the other hand, it only made sense that Jose Bautista would go 0-7 in yesterday’s marathon before finally making contact on the eighth try to win it all. This guy is the Jays.
When the dust finally settled yesterday – the longest game in team history – the Jays left 24 runners on base and 15 runners in scoring position. We’ve come to expect this from the Jays, too, but it does underscore this team’s penchant for the over dramatic. No team frustrates its fan base like the Jays these days.
Everyone – the team, fans, TV schedulers, etc. – will be hoping for a less dramatic series when the Jays open a three-game set on the road tonight against the Seattle Mariners, but the odds point in the opposite direction.
Both teams are contending for the final Wild Card spot in the American League so there’s plenty of potential for drama right there alone. Add to this Seattle’s notoriously melodramatic civic spirit and you have all the makings of another barn burner.
This makes for great baseball, but it’s taking a toll on my stress level and social life. Oh, well.
I hope October baseball proves just as fun.
*Yesterday’s marathon of a game – 19 innings in total – could be counted as two games on its own