To quote the fictional philosopher, Ace Ventura, “Take care, now. Bye-bye then.”
This message was hilariously mimed by Jose Bautista after the game’s final out to silence his taunting critics in the right field bleachers.
But it also served symbolic as the Jays silenced their critics in a number of ways en route to a mostly efficient 3-0 victory over the remarkably outdated Philadelphia Phillies.
First of all, J.A. Happ mostly shut a lot of us up by pitching five extremely necessary shutout innings. While only 48 of his 80 pitches were strikes, and while his 4 walks (to two strikeouts) were frustrating, he only allowed three hits.
Considering the fact that he hadn’t pitched in nearly two weeks, that’s pretty solid, and it’s hard to blame him for only throwing 80 pitches.
Obviously this start will give him a few more opportunities in the rotation, which, combined with Dustin McGowan’s resurgence, only increases the need to send Marcus Stroman back down and bring Neil Wagner back up.
But that’s to worry about some other day. In the mean time, it was a solid start against the team he came up with. Maybe he’s right when he says he’s more fit to start than to come out of the bullpen.
Jose Reyes shut us up by homering off of Kyle Kendrick’s third pitch of the game, which conveniently served as the game’s winning run.
The bullpen collectively shut up its critics with a refreshing night of four shutout innings. They weren’t without a little bit of adventure, though, as Esmil Rogers was bailed out of allowing a lead-off triple when Jose Bautista unleashed this monster of a throw to the plate to avoid a sac-fly:
(Thanks to Drunk Jays Fans for that GIF)
But most importantly, the Blue Jays symbolically told me to put a sock in it by finally winning a manager’s challenge in the 8th inning. On a grounder to short, Marlon Byrd was initially called safe at first, but the call was over-turned upon further review.
This was John Gibbons’ first successful challenge in seven attempts. His reaction immediately after the announcement:
I guess instant replay isn’t so bad after all…
– I mentioned Reyes’ lead-off homer. He added a walk and was solid in the field, making a couple of tough plays.
– Brett Cecil picked up his 2nd save of the season. He struck out one and allowed a sharp grounder to the right side that skipped over EE’s glove. It was called an error, but this is arguable. Either way, statistically, it worked out for Cecil.
– Aaron Loup struck out the side in the 7th – nice recovery from the weekend.
– Melky Cabrera added two more hits for his A.L.-leading 15th multi-hit game of the season.
– Colby Rasmus and Josh Thole had solid RBI doubles. Colby had two hits to boost his average to .230.
– The score sheet says Esmil Rogers pitched a scoreless 1+ innings, but he allowed two hits, struck out nobody, and was bailed out by both Bautista’s throw and Aaron Loup’s stranding his lead-off walk in the 7th. Meh.
– 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position is simply not good enough.
– Not to be nitpick, but with six years spent in the N.L., surely Happ knows not to bunt on two strikes…
– In the 7th inning, Kyle Kendrick was on the ropes. Reyes and Cabrera singled, and he promptly beaned Bautista to load the bases with his 109th pitch. For reasons unknown, the Phillies left him in.
Edwin Encarnacion came up and was promptly handed a 3-0 count.
Pitch #113? Grounds into a double play. Unacceptable. Edwin was 0-for-4 with 4 left on base.
– In a play eerily similar to Reyes on opening day, Brett Lawrie pulled up lame running to first on a grounder, and left the game with a tight right groin.
The Blue Jays have listed him as day-to-day, so expect him to be out for at least a month.
Hey, Jose? What was the score again?
The Blue Jays close out their eight-game road trip (while simultaneously playing the second game of this confusing home and home four game series with the Phillies), and will play their last game in an N.L. park until June 20th in Cincinnati.
Drew Hutchison will look to continue his hot start against veteran lefty Cole Hamels. Should be a doozy of a pitching match-up, with a potential for a quick game with lots of strikeouts. But, like the rest of the Phillies, Hamels is eroding and is off to a not-so-great start.
Based on how the Jays did against Francisco Liriano over the weekend, it looks as though they’re confident against lefties right now. Close the trip out on a high note, fellas.
For Jays Balk, I’m @TheAsherRoth.