The game on June 27th between the Blue Jays and the Orioles had all the irritating hallmarks of this 2017 team.
Decent starting pitching, decent bullpen pitching, an offense ineffective against middling LH pitchers, a turning point in the game where a much needed hit with RRSP never comes and a solo homer to remind people that they can hit, they just can't when they really need it. And, of course, a loss to the Orioles.
"Not many chances to get things going," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, whose team had just three at-bats with runners in scoring position. "A couple, and then of course Tulo's home run. A lean night."
Marcus Stroman attacked down in the zone, went hard after a very tough Orioles' lineup and was generally fantastic. In short, he pitched like an ace.
"I work extremely hard between starts to put my body in a position where I'm able to go deep into games and maintain velocity," said Stroman, who walked off the field to a standing ovation. "I credit that to the work that everyone puts in. The training staff, the strength and conditioning staff here has been unbelievable. My body feels great. I feel like I could have went another inning, another two innings. I feel great where I'm at right now."
It was a great game. A dominant start from the starter, timely hits and a no nonsense appearance from the closer.
"A dangerous team, a tough team to shut down," said Gibby. "We needed that. We needed that game desperately."
"Early in the game, I felt really strong and thought I was getting some early outs, keeping the pitch count down," Happ said. "I think any time you keep any team in this league, especially this division, in this ballpark, in the ballpark, you give yourself a chance to win. So overall I felt pretty good about it."
Happ is the only who feels pretty good about it. Though the loss last night was nowhere near his fault.
The general moaning about Jimenez and the Jays’ inability to beat him was a consistent theme last night, but here’s the thing: Jimenez, when on, is near unhittable.
Last night, he threw a tonne of strikes. The hitters could stand there and look at them, or swing at them.
But Jimenez, when on, is near unhittable. Most contact turned into outs.
The reason Jimenez went into that game with an ERA over 7 is that he isn’t consistently on. He’s wild, which leads to walks, which leads to missing over the plate, which leads to runs. If he had been wild and the Jays failed to score, it would’ve been more concerning. This was just irritating.
It’s frustrating and irritating. It was terrible to watch. Looking at the ERA and thinking that the Jays “should” beat Jimenez. But since when does “should” factor into baseball?
Josh Donaldson's face and demeanor have become barometers for this team.
More of this:
Make Josh happy again.