Marky Mercury, everybody; a rookie starter who has been absolutely out of this world since entering the rotation.
Seriously! Nine of his 11 starts have been quality ones, and he’s had six or more strikeouts in seven of those. He’s also allowed one earned run or less in seven starts.
In short, he’s pretty good.
And tonight, he tossed seven innings of one-run ball, striking out eight batters, and the Jays won their fourth in a row to keep pace with the red-hot Orioles/Rays with a 4-2 victory over the hilariously inadequate Boston Red Sox.
Obviously it was not as decisive a victory as the 14-1 shellacking of the night before, and there were certainly some things one could pick apart.
Four runs on 12 hits spells a lot of missed opportunities, and in a perfect world, Casey Janssen doesn’t allow a lead-off homer in a save opportunity.
But when you’re dealing with a lineup that once again has Dioner Navarro batting clean-up, you’re going to miss that dominating bat in a crucial spot in the lineup who can deliver in the clutch.
No tonight, that clutch hit came from #9 hitter Anthony Gose, who delivered a two-out, two-run double in the fourth which put the Jays up 3-1, where they would never look back.
But the play of the game came in the 8th inning on the defensive side. With Aaron Sanchez on the mound, Dustin Pedroia hit a grounder towards the hole in left.
Jose Reyes, clearly determined to prove those who think his days as a shortstop may be numbered (myself included) snagged it, and made a very Jeter-like acrobatic throw to first which arrived on one hop.
Snagging said bouncer at first base was none other than brand-spanking-new Blue Jay Danny Valencia, who had entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the previous half-inning.
The impressive part? This was literally Valencia’s first minute played at first base as a Major Leaguer, and he made the scoop look easy.
Fun fact: with Stroman’s eight K’s on the night, Jays starters have now struck out 18 Red Sox over the last two nights. Didn’t they win the World Series last year?
– Colby Rasmus crushed a solo homer to deep centre field for his 14th of the season to open the scoring. He’d add a shift-busting single in his next AB.
– Gose had that clutch two-run hit, and would also make a tough running catch in right-centre look extremely effortless.
– Juan Francisco continues to turn on the heat, going two for three with a double off the monster.
– Did you know Munenori Kawasaki is hitting .294?
– Dioner Navarro was 0-for-4 in the clean-up spot with four men left on base, further cementing the fact that he should not be hitting clean-up. Still love ya, Dioner.
– Colby Rasmus, though effective in his first couple at-bats, was caught looking at strike three – twice.
– Janssen, though picking up his 17th save in 19 opportunities, allowed his third homer in his last five appearances. The team has won every one of those games, but it’s not a favourable trend.
If you followed the live tweet tonight, you’re probably aware that I wasn’t a huge fan of the umpiring crew – especially the work of plate umpire Tom Woodring.
His strike zone was an absolute joke, if you believe in the pitch tracker. In one memorable at bat, he called a pitch that nearly hit the ground a strike, then the next pitch, a good two feet higher, a ball.
Munenori Kawasaki fouled a ball off his foot, which wound up rolling to first. Kawasaki limped and didn’t even attempt to run to first. Woodring called it a fair ball.
In the ninth, Brock Holt clearly swung and missed at what should have been strike three. The ball missed the bat by about a foot, missed Navarro’s glove and rolled to the backstop. Perhaps because the ball nailed Woodring in the groin, he decided to call it a foul ball?
In addition, Ryan Goins checked his swing on a ball he was trying to get out of the way of – the third base ump called it a swing.
All in all, a noticeably horrid umping crew tonight.
Hey look! Danny Valencia!
Yeah…that’s all I got.
The Jays look for the sweep tomorrow night as Mark Buehrle takes on
Jon Lester Brandon Workman.
That’s right, Lester has been scratched from tomorrow night’s start. Let the rampant speculation begin!!
Oh, and rumour has it the Jays are no longer in the running.
But they’re red-hot, and the Sox are quite the opposite. Should be a doozy!
For Jays Balk, I’m @TheAsherRoth.