Blue Jays 1, Orioles 3
Well…crap. The Jays lost again and that sucks. But it’s just been two games, so let’s ignore that and focus on the good stuff.
Happ, like Estrada on Monday, is a good stuff. He looked great out there: gave up the two dingers to Jones and Davis but that’s going to happen and in the end he only gave up three runs over seven innings. I’ll take that. Tepera was also sort of a good thing: one inning, no hits and no walks: nicely done Ryan.
And here’s another good thing: Pillar’s defense and his first highlight-reel catch of the season. I always hate watching him come down hard after going to the wall, but he always pulls himself up again. I can’t shake the suspicion that he plays it up for the camera a bit (or even a lot) but, heck, he makes a great catch, gives up his body, I can stand a bit of prima donna if that helps him feel good about himself. I’m certainly not like a certain Sportsnet television personality who shall remain name(GreggZaun)less who likes to complain about TV dives cause I don’t see that in Pillar, but when he does get crunched he likes to channel his inner Italian footballer…but again, meh. Let him.
Here’s an even better thing: Tulo. Just: Tulo. Yep, he went zero for four last night with two strike outs, bringing him to a full zero for nine to start the season, but he made at least four plays that are beyond the powers of mere mortals. The fact that he made them look so easy makes it easy to miss just how good they were, but holy freaking mackerel, is he a fine sight of poetry in motion with the glove.
Other good things: Smoak got two hits and was the Jays’ only run; Travis, Donaldson, Bautista and Morales all got hits; Pillar keeps looking like a whole new hitter at the plate and they darn near managed to beat Zach Britton who looked like all relievers (who aren’t named Mariano Rivera) finally look when everyone finally remembers that relievers are just failed starters.
But, you know, crap, they lost. And that stinks. It wouldn’t stink so bad if it wasn’t the way they lost, which was kind of an exact copy of how they kept losing at the beginning of last season. If you thought that you’d fallen into a wormhole to April 2016 I wouldn’t blame you. I don’t care what Pat “He’s a big young man, a real pitcher” Tabler or Buck “man but the Auree-alls kin reelly git the mohst outta thee-ar pichers” Martinez say, but the Orioles starter Dylan Bundy was throwing garbage.
If you read the Baltimore media coverage you’ll see them fainting over Bundy’s slider, but more than half the time he threw it out of the zone from hand to plate, and yet the Jays’ hitters just had to keep swinging at it. And when he left it up in the zone they almost invariably popped it up (yeah, I’m looking at you Tulo). Which is the sort of thing they did last April and then again in September which is why their first two games this year have been kind of scary even though it’s only been two games. It was all just so darned familiar: a garbage pitcher throwing garbage pitches that seem, somehow, to keep fooling the Jays’ big bats. Maybe it was just the recalled trauma of last year being triggered by a statistically-irrelevant two game blip this year that made me feel this way…probably…I hope so. But scoring three runs and hitting zero homers in two games ain’t the kind of thing that instills confidence; nor is going one for eight with runners in scoring position (compared to the Orioles’ one for one), or leaving 14 men on base (compared to the Orioles’ five); or the 11 strike outs (compared to the Orioles’ nine).
But it’s just two games, for criminey’s sake! Two games! It’s beyond meaningless, I know that. It’s gonna happen sometimes that good hitters just miss bad pitches.
Like it did on Monday and Wednesday.
And last September.
And all of last April.