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Jays 6, Rays 1: Angry Birds use 4 Bombs to knock Rays down

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Michael Saunders and Josh Donaldson took Drew Smyly deep to put the Jays on top despite a great outing from him.
Michael Saunders and Josh Donaldson took Drew Smyly deep to put the Jays on top despite a great outing from him.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This matchup included two pitchers who had injury issues in 2015 and are still finding their consistency in 2016. Drew Smyly was heading towards half the innings he threw in 2015, and Aaron Sanchez was heading towards a third of the innings he threw in 2015. With that in mind along with how electric their arms can be, we were treated to a great dual.

The Pitching

LHP Drew Smyly (26)

  • Pitches by IP (strikes): 17 (9) | 18 (13) | 19 (11) | 12 (10) | 15 (9) | 17 (11) | Total: 99 (63)
  • From the beginning, the Jays were popping out because of Smyly's effective use of his high fastball. He worked between 83 and 91 MPH, and Jays hitters must have had a hard time seeing the ball because squaring it up wasn't going to happen.
  • He warmed up to 92 MPH by the 2nd inning and had a lot more bite on his pitches.
  • The third had him on the same pace, but a mistake to Michael Saunders with 2 outs wound up hurting him, making it 1-0 Jays. The pitch was a high strike in the middle of the plate. Despite out-pitching Sanchez to that point, he was behind.
  • Through 4 IP, Smyly had allowed only 1 hit, and Sanchez allowed 4, yet the Jays still led 1-0.
  • In the fifth, he got visibly torqued about a non-call on a high strike that should have been strike 3. Thankfully he was able to get the pop-up after the fact and it became a non-issue....or so we thought.
  • With the next hitter striking out, Smyly made a gesture that could have cost him an ejection. Seeing this, Kevin Cash came bursting out of the dugout and took the attention off his pitcher, seemingly letting the umpire know how inconsistent his calls were in this one. Cash was ejected, and Smyly easily closed out the 5th inning having allowed only 1 hit, 1 walk, and striking out 6 to this point.
  • Final Line: 6 IP, 2 hits, 2 ER, 1 Walk, 8 Ks. Outstanding aside from two mistakes, and could have been even better with more called strikes from the ump.

Bullpen:

  • Steve Geltz was the first to relieve Smyly and came out having a hard time locating. His slider worked at around 81-82 MPH and his fastball sat at 92-93 MPH. Seemingly rushing his motions, he was visited by Jim Hickey on the mound who slowed him down. The result was immediately positive as he induced a pop-up.
  • Geltz did allow Russell Martin to get a base-hit, but got out of the inning with a pop-up to Kiermaier deep in CF. Final line: 1 IP, 15 pitches, 8 for strikes, with 1 H and 1 BB allowed.
  • Dana Eveland picked things up from Geltz and was hit hard by Michael Saunders who hit it to deep to Centre-Right. The leash wasn't too long on him as he was taken out after walking the next hitter who was Donaldson. Final line: 0.1 IP, 12 pitches, 8 strikes, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 ER.
  • Ryan Webb took over and wasn't able to limit the damage to less than the 2 runs given up. He wasn't throwing many strikes (7 of 15), and when he was they wound up providing the Jays with decent hacks. Final line: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB.
  • Jhan Marinez gave fans a taste of what he's all about while showing off his mid-90s heater and nice looking breaking ball. He worked very effectively and comfortably inside of the first two RHBs he faced (Martin/Pillar), but was reminded that this is MLB by Ryan Goins who took him deep to LF. Final Line: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 HR.

RHP Aaron Sanchez (23)

  • Pitches by IP (strikes): 17 (14) | 16 (10) | 17 (11) | 16 (9) | 12 (8) | 15 (11) | 10 (8) Total: 103 (71)
  • Unlike Smyly, Sanchez was squared up in the first inning by Logan Forsythe who drove the second pitch thrown up-the-middle. It was a good pitch, but a better bat!
  • By the 2nd inning, Sanchez was hitting 96-97 MPH, but still wasn't fooling anyone with his breaking stuff which got squared up a few times and was bailed out by a base-running mistake (Guyer) and an excellent play by Ryan Goins on a grounder from Kevin Kiermaier. In short, he was a little lucky through the 2nd.
  • Sanchez still wastes a lot of pitches as he struggles to get his pitches close enough to the zone for hitters to offer at them. It's an area he'll need to improve on to become more effective.
  • Final Line: 7 IP, 6 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, and 6 Ks. Effective overall, but wasn't as sharp as Smyly despite not giving up any runs. If the Rays had some timely hitting and didn't commit running errors on the bases, he may have left a tie game.

Bullpen:

  • The weak spot for the Jays is definitely their pen, and it showed tonight despite such a small sample size. Drew Storen, who is supposed to be replacing what Sanchez did for the Jays pen in 2015, came on and gave up a HR to Brad Miller.
  • Storen did go on to strike out Evan Longoria, but was taken out to allow Brett Cecil to face Corey Dickerson, an indication of how little faith John Gibbons has in his new "setup" guy. When you get replaced with a 4 run lead by a reliever who may be one of the worst this April, it says a lot, and you could see the anger on his face and on the bench. Arms crossed, no team mates around, 1000 mile stare. Final Line: 0.1 IP, 9 pitches, 6 strikes, 1 H, 1 HR, 1 ER.
  • Brett Cecil did come on and get the Jays out of the inning, looking much more comfortable than he has been this month. Final Line: 0.2 IP, 9 pitches, 6 strikes, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K.
  • Roberto Osuna got into some trouble, allowing a double to Guyer and eventually leading to 2 on with 1 out. He struck out Hank Conger to lessen the pressure and used his 98 MPH heater to get Forsythe to pop-up. Final Line: 1 IP, 19 pitches, 15 strikes, 2 H, 1 K.

The Hitting

Rays Lineup/Fielding:

  • Logan Forsythe was hot and driving the ball hard tonight. He managed a hit and double in the 1st and 3rd respectively, and was joined on the bases by the suddenly hot Brad Miller (who I love in the 2-hole instead of LoMo). That set up the first real scoring opportunity for the Rays (in the 3rd) with 2 runners on and only 1 out. Sanchez got out of it with some great stuff to get Evan Longoria and Corey Dickerson out.
  • Forsythe also walked in the 5th and stole a base to get himself into scoring position for the 2nd time int he game, but he was LOB by Miller who grounded out softly.
  • Logan Morrison almost got an infield hit, at least making some contact, but he's still having a hard time squaring up pitches. He did drive one to LF in the 6th and is finally showing hints, albeit small hints, of possibly coming around at the plate. I'd say he looks much more comfortable hitting 6th.
  • I liked Guyer's ABs overall. He's seeing the ball well, and when you manage a double vs Roberto Osuna, you know you're making great contact.
  • Brad Miller is getting very comfortable and is seeing the ball very well. With a better BABIP (.195) his stats could look a whole lot better. It was the sole highlight of the game for the lineup, so why not show it here:


Jays Lineup/Fielding:

  • Michael Saunders hit his 2nd HR of the season vs Smyly and is obviously comfortable hitting the LHP. He wasn't the only LHP to give one up to Saunders as Dana Eveland also gave one up to him in the 8th inning.
  • The second solo HR of the game for the Jays was a no-doubter crushed by 2015 MVP Josh Donaldson. The ball actually hit the "C-Ring" and showed off his incredible power.
  • Donaldson also made a few nice plays of note, including a grounder from Dickerson that he got to 1B just-in-time.
  • Ryan Goins hit a rare HR to give the Jays 4 of them overall on this night. The Angry birds were plentiful tonight.

Final Score / Boxscore

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Toronto (11-13) 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 3 1 6 7 0
Tampa Bay (10-12) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 9 0


Game Comment Summary and Tweets

The first pitch was thrown by a famous Rays fan:

Chris Archer may not have been pitching in this one, but he was the first one out on the field congratulating Smyly after his effective 1st inning:

An indication of how "not easy" the beginning of the game was for Aaron Sanchez tonight:

The Rays Twitter feed was pretty optimistic for a team 5 runs down facing Roberto Osuna: