(Thanks Frank Gunn!)
If you disregard the emblem on the shoulder, it sure looks as though I’m not the only one who’s trying to see how the world responds to just a little less blatant racism on the Cleveland Baseball Team’s jersey.
And if you disregard the first three innings (in which they were set down in order with 7 of 9 outs via the ground ball), the Blue Jays had an unusually effective night against sinker-ball specialist (and notorious Jay killer) Justin Masterson.
This was simply a fantastic baseball game on the whole from an entertainment standpoint (ESPECIALLY if you like the Blue Jays). Jose Reyes hit his first triple as a Blue Jay, Juan Francisco hit a mammoth home run, Melky Cabrera saved the game with a fantastic throw, and R.A. Dickey had another solid start (minus the 7th inning) as the Jays held on for a 5-4 victory.
In what has become a familiar storyline this season, the Dickster was fantastic through his first six innings – in fact he retired the first 8 batters of the game, and the only run he’d allowed was on a blooper to right in the 3rd inning that Jose Bautista appeared to make a sliding catch on – but was ruled a trap. Blue Jay for-a-second Mike Aviles would alertly score on the play to make it 1-0. Dickey would respond to that set-back by retiring 10 of the next 11 hitters. 6 Ks, only one walk.
The Jays’ bats had done their part to that point as well. In his first AB after the bogus-run, Jose Reyes tripled to the gap in left-centre, scoring on a sac-fly by Melky. The next inning, Johnny McFrank-Frank takes Masterson to the 2nd deck – in centre-field – to make it 2-1. They’d blow it open in the 6th with a 2-run double by ZZ Lind, and a bonus double (the winning run!!) by none other than Juan Franshishke (skip to 17:05). 5-1 going in to the 7th.
Then, the usual scare. Two singles, a walk, and a hit batsman makes it 5-2. Dickey exits with the go-ahead run at the dish and nobody out. He reminds us that he cares by getting huffy in the dugout.
In comes (LEFTY) Aaron Loup. After he gets (RIGHTY) Aviles to fly out to shallow right, (LEFTY) Michael Bourn singles to make it 5-3, then a sac-fly makes it 5-4. Suddenly Dickey’s line is 4 earned runs on 5 hits – and all that’s added to his 6 innings – despite pitching to four additional batters – is a mere +. And he only threw 102 pitches – ugh.
In comes Brett Cecil for the 8th. Carlos Santana (not Carlos Santana) singles and advances to 2nd on a passed ball. After a couple strikeouts, (should-be-Jay) Yan Gomes singles to left. Santana tries to score – but:
Inning over, game saved. Casey Janssen would come in for the actual save – his first of the season. More on him in a bit…
– Francisco/Lind – 3 extra base hits and 4 RBI between the two of them – both of them hitting effectively (and in the lineup at the same time) could be a lethal combination.
– Melky – a very unselfish, and well-hit drive to centre for the sac-fly was a much needed strike against Masterson, who was on a role. And how ’bout that throw?
– John Gibbons – for trying something interesting against Masterson and moving Lind to the clean-up spot, dropping EE to 5th, thus alternating all the lefty and righty power bats. I know EE is EE, but I’ve always been a fan of the lefty-righty thing all throughout the lineup when possible.
– EE wasn’t as big a fan of the drop in the lineup – he was 0-for-4 with a pair of Ks.
– Kevin Pillar made his 2014 debut – 0 for 3, two strikeouts, 4 left on base.
– Aaron Loup got his 5th hold – but allowed two of the three inherited runners to score.
With Johnny McFrank hitting as well as he did, you’re probably wondering – how did the Brettuation do at 2nd base tonight?
To be fair, this was ruled a base-hit, but it certainly didn’t look like a play that, say, Ryan Goins/Chris Getz/Steve Tolleson/Mark Grudzielanek/Chuck Knoblauch (that one’s a stretch) would have trouble with.
It also proved to be ugly for Dickey’s stat-line – if that’s ruled an error, at least one of Dickey’s runs would be unearned. Kind of shocked that the scorekeeper at the ‘Dome chose Lawrie’s confidence over Dickey’s ERA.
How much have the Jays missed this guy?
Aside from his hilariously deliberate superstitious routine, and the fact that he rides so much adrenaline that he literally can’t stand still on the mound, the great thing about Casey Janssen is his reputation for pounding the strike zone.
When pitchers are well-known for throwing strikes, umpires will sometimes give them the benefit of the doubt on close calls.
And it’s not as though the Jays’ bullpen is stuffed to the brim with guys well-known for throwing strikes – at least not over the first chunk of this season. Welcome back, Casey.
Corey Kluber allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 9 hits against the Jays in a loss back in April. Should be a doozie for Dustin McGowan, right?
Here are Dusty’s three career starts against the Clevelands:
Aug 26, 2005: 5 innings, 4 ER on 8 hits – 1 walk, 6 K. Not bad…
May 3, 2007: 5 innings, 5 ER on 6 hits – 5 walks, 4 K. Slight regression, but it was his first start of the season…
May 10, 2008: 3.2 innings, 9 ER on 9 hits – 1 walk, 1 K. …Well, two months later, his arm pretty much fell off, right?
The good news is that last season he pitched a shutout inning in relief against them, and they pretty much have the same lineup now!
Be sure to catch up on Episode 3 of the BalkCast and follow us on Twitter @JaysBalk.
For Jays Balk, I’m @TheAsherRoth.