Silver Linings from the Blue Jays’ 19 Inning Affair
When your team plays a 19 inning 6-plus hour marathon baseball game (which is the equivalent of at least two games in one afternoon), at the very least, you want to walk away from the victory.
Unfortunately, the Blue Jays lost their 19 inning battle with the Cleveland Indians, but that doesn’t mean the matchup didn’t supply its wealth of controversy and entertainment.
Most of it was supplied by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza. If Blue Jays fans weren’t familiar with his name before, they certainly are now. He probably had one of the worst umpired games behind home plate in recent memory. His game-calling was awful, but so too was the offense on both sides.
The Blue Jays and Indians had their fair share of chances to win that game through 19 innings, but it’s unfortunate that a home plate umpire took the bat out of the hitter’s hands on multiple instances.
Anyway, there’s a lot to gripe about from that game, but there were also some secret linings after being downed by the Tribe in 19 innings.
Stroman Was Solid
Dare I say it, but Marcus Stroman was kind of reminiscent of vintage Stroman in that start. That was only the second time in his past seven starts that Stroman allowed less than four earned runs and Marcus Stroman limited the Indians to only five hits.
I think the most promising part about that start was Stroman kept the ball down in the strike zone. As of late, he’s been guilty of leaving the ball up, and teams have been absolutely teeing off on him as of result. Most of his pitches mere predominately in the lower half.
Stroman is at his best when he’s inducing ground balls and letting his infielder handle the majority of the outs, and Stroman subsequently tallied 12 ground ball outs against the Indians; a promising sign that his sinker may be working again.
I don’t know if we’re at the point where we can say that Marcus Stroman has turned the corner, but his past two starts are beginning to show some very positive signs.
The Bullpen Was Lockdown
The Blue Jays bullpen has been a point of contention the entire season, but boy did they ever bring it in that game against the Indians. The Jays relievers combined to throw 11.1 innings of scoreless relief. It was their backup infielder that surrendered the game-winning run.
Three relievers were tasked with recording four or more outs, and Bo Schultz and Jesse Chavez both notched multiple scoreless innings out of the bullpen. At the end, the Blue Jays simply ran out of relievers, but damn did they ever put up a fight.
Even though it was only for one out, Brett Cecil’s presence in the bullpen as a legitimate left-hander is a weapon that’s been sorely missed in the bullpen. Jesse Chavez looks to be back on track again, and Drew Storen didn’t implode. These are all positive signs.
Schultz Saved the Day
If anybody deserved a steak dinner after that game, it was Bo Schultz. He came in and shut the door on the Indians, and Schultz even led all Blue Jays pitchers with a 0.60 Win Probability Added in that game. Only Trevor Bauer bested Bo Schultz in that regard with a 0.75 WPA.
Midway through his appearance, Schultz was clearly in some discomfort, but he ended up pitching through the pain anyway. Bo is less than a week removed from being summoned back from the disabled list after missing most of the past three months due to hip surgery.
Goins and Barney Didn’t Pitch Horribly
Considering that one of his warmup tosses sailed far and wide to the backstop, it’s a miracle that Ryan Goins’ relief appearance wasn’t an utter and complete disaster.
Not only did he bring the heat at 90 MPH, but he also mixed it up with a few changeups and curveballs. The pitch that Lonnie Chisenhall hit was way outside the zone, so kudos to Goins for not getting lit up in the top of the 18th inning.
Having a position player pitch in a game is weird enough, let alone asking a position player to preserve a tie in the 18th inning of a game. Somehow, someway, that’s exactly what Ryan Goins did.
Although he allowed the game-winning run, props to Darwin Barney for also holding his own against the Cleveland Indians. Again, the fact that the Tribe didn’t hit more than one home run combined off Goins and Barney is another silver lining.