So far the Blue Jays have lost 1 out of 3 with the Mariners in Seattle, but they evened up the series yesterday with an 8-6 win, so the outlook for a second win does not as look as bad as the weather did on Friday night, as Blue Jays’ Marco Estrada could attest to those struggles in their opener loss to the Mariners.
He told media that he knew ‘something was off’ early in his start and, for once he couldnt shake it off or get it corrected. And now the Jays might want to make a bold move to not get too far behind.
Friday was a rare bad outing for Toronto’s right-hander, who recently has been very good over the last two months, it’s a tough game to lose facing Seattle’s Felix Hernandez. “When things aren’t going well I kind of figure it out pretty quick, I think, and I try to fix it, and today I just, I don’t know, I don’t know what happened,” Estrada said. “I just wasn’t making pitches.”
He only pitched four innings, in that time he gave up five runs, in a 5-2 loss to the Mariners on Friday night. He started in place of Drew Hutchison, who was scratched for the second straight game due to illness. Estrada didn’t use the unexpected start as an excuse, telling media he had had enough time to get ready. “I let the game get away from me. It’s just unfortunate. I was feeling good today, I just didn’t make pitches,” Estrada said. “I had plenty of time, there’s no excuses. I just didn’t pitch well today, plain and simple.”
“He was gutsy. He made some good pitches at times, then that one inning, when they knocked him around a little bit. That’s the way it goes,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “Hernandez, he’s not going to give you much room. When he’s on, you’re playing with fire.
Estrada’s counterpart, Hernandez, overcame a shaky first few pitches which included and error that led to a run scoring, to shut down the Blue Jays. Him alongside Houston’s Dallas Keuchel are currently the only pitchers in the American League with 12 victories. Hernandez told media post-game: “I feel like I started off a little better and commanded the strike zone way better and made good pitches,” Hernandez said.
“When you face Felix, when you have the opportunity to score runs, you have to do it because when he puts all his game together it’s going to be tough,” said Blue Jay, Jose Reyes.
But Saturday the Jays had a chance at redemption to make up for the missed opportunities. They rallied in the ninth to beat Mariners.
In the ninth inning at Safeco Field, the situation seemed oddly familiar to the Jays but luckily for them, the result was very different in very a positive way. The bases were loaded and nobody was out against Mariner’s right-hander Carson Smith. Chris Colabello grounded a single in infield to score a pair of runs, whicj allowed the Jays a win of 8-6 and split the series. It was familiar to a situation that occured just this past Wednesday, in Oakland against the A’s when they weren’t able to capitalize. The Jays had loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth and were able to get one run to tie before losing in the bottom of the inning. The lost chance still bothered Gibbons three days later and he knew this was the chance at redemption for Gibbons and the team, who finally are now back above .500.
“Any win is a good one, but they’re always a little bit sweeter when you grind it out,” Colabello said. “Today was a grinder day. They’re character wins. Whenever you’re behind halfway through the game, sixth inning, whatever . . . you keep clawing and scratching. Wins like this are always a little bit sweeter. It reminds me of the one in Boston when we were down 8-0.”
It was Aaron Sanchez’s first game back which ended up as an extreme, high leverage contest and happily he was credited with the win. The win is as a closer, but for the 23-year-old he’s fine with his new role. “I’m thankful to be here and be back in the big leagues, whether it be in the starting rotation or in the bullpen,” Sanchez said. “This team needs a guy down there. Obviously we’ve been scuffling and if they feel that I can go down and help these guys out, then that’s what I’m here for. I want to win. That’s everybody’s mindset.”
“I love the way it turned out, I really like the way it looked,” Gibbons said of his new-look bullpen with back-to-back relievers that throw between 95-99 m.p.h. “Even if we add a couple of more (runs) on there, (Bo) Schultz is coming in. So I really like the potential of it.”
Meanwhile on Seattle’s side, Hutchison allowed one run in each of the first three innings, which led to a tie game in the fourth. He has only a tenuous grip on his first start in eight days, but it all came crashing down for him in the fourth inning. After two quick Mariners’ outs, he gave up a harmless single to Kyle Seager, then on a 1-1 pitch hit Nelson Cruz in the left elbow, walking him and bringing Robinson Cano to the plate, who deftly drove a home run hit to leftfield.
Of the loss Hutchison told media, “I didn’t pitch well.” “Obviously I started to get it going a little bit, then to do that was something you can’t do.”
The next game is today Sunday afternoon in Seattle, 3rd in the series and the decider on who’ll take the win.
Our Pick: Look for the Jays to build on the 9th inning and carry it through to a win today.