In the long, sordid history of tough loses, this was one of them.
Our starter pitched just well enough to get left in too long. Our best hitter all year took one off the knuckles and had to leave the game early. Our manager was an idiot. There were crucial errors, laughable throws, and loads of men left on base. It was all there.
On the bright side, Steven Souza Jr. singled to lead off the game and eliminate the possibility of a no-hitter. And Ryan Garton pitched an inning of scoreless relief. So there was that.
You got the feel for how things were going to go in the very first inning. With two out, Jose Bautista drew a walk. Kendrys Morales followed by grounding toward the hole between short and third. Tim Beckham make a nice play on the pickup, then spun and threw in an attempt to force Joey Bats.
But the throw was wide, and trickled into rightfield. Souza was apparently shifted and in no position to back up the play, which sent first baseman Rickie Weeks Jr. lumbering after it. He picked up as Bautista rounded third, and then let go of an absurd lollipop throw toward the plate. It looked like a third string quarterback throwing a fade route. Bautista slid safely into home, and then (I assume) cackled madly as he jogged back to the dugout.
The Rays got on the board in the second. After back-to-back one out walks from Beckham and Daniel Robertson, Jesus Sucre singled to right. The strong throw home beat Beckham handily, and he was initially called out. But after a challenge, it was ruled that his nifty slide avoided the tag of Russell Martin. 1-1 game.
In the fourth inning, Martin doubled in Justin Smoak. 2-1, Blue Jays.
Meanwhile the Rays were putting up scoring chances virtually every inning against Francisco Liriano, with the third inning being the only time the side went in order. In the sixth, they got things started with a Weeks’ walk and a bobble and late throw by third baseman Chris Coghlan that allowed Corey Dickerson to reach safely.
And then Kevin Cash pulled a Cash. With runners on first and second and no outs, he asked Tim Beckham to sacrifice. He asked him to sac bunt on 1-0, which Bex took for strike one. He asked Bex to bunt with one strike, which Bex fouled off. And finally, inexplicably, he asked Bex to sacrifice bunt with two strikes. Predictably, Beckham fouled it off for strike three.
The guy who writes Cash Considerations is gonna have a field day with this one.
Brad Miller then pinch hit for Robertson. He of course struck out. And Logan Morrison, who followed by pinch hitting for Jesus Sucre, grounded out to second to end the “threat.”
As if to make a point, the baseball gods then allowed the following:
- Justin Smoak took Matt Andriese deep in the bottom of the sixth to push the score to 4-1.
- With one out in the seventh, Souza was hit in the hand by a 94 mph Joe Biagini fastball. He would leave the game. Thankfully, preliminary x-rays were negative, but he is day-to-day.
- With two runners on in the eighth, Logan Morrison lofted a foul down that left field line which Ezequiel Carrera dropped. LoMo responded by giving one a ride to right center. It was caught by Pillar well shy of warning track.
Other notes and random musings:
- Before Cash ticked off the baseball gods, Sucre threw an absolute seed to pick off Coghlan at second in the second inning.
Jesus Sucre makes the perfect throw to get Chris Coghlan out!! pic.twitter.com/ER4g64I0Nf— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) April 29, 2017
- It is a crime that Justin Smoak’s walk up music is not “Smoke on the Water.”
- When you have a second baseman named Barney, isn’t it incumbent on the GM to sign a shortstop named Fred? Just bad management all the way to top. It’s no wonder the Blue Jays are terrible.
Tomorrow the Rays try to get things back on track and win this series. Game time is at 1:07 PM, because apparently you have to convert Canadian start times from metric minutes.