As a baseball fan, those are the kind of games you live for. The ones where all hope is seemingly lost and your favourite team has virtually no chance of winning. Then, only to witness their meteoric rise mere innings later and watch them complete the comeback.
Within the context of one single game, nothing feels better than going from having almost no chance of winning to actually winning.
There was some sweet satisfaction in watching the Blue Jays mount an epic 12-6 comeback win against the New York Yankees. Not just because the Blue Jays are trying to fend off the Red Sox and Orioles for first place; it was because the Blue Jays’ bats were all but dormant the night before.
That 12-6 victory only added to the pantheon of epic comebacks by the Blue Jays over the past few years.
Epic Blue Jays comebacks
Jun 20 2014: Trailed 8-0, won 14-9
Jun 12 2015: Trailed 8-1, won 13-10
Aug 16 2016: Trailed 6-0, won 12-6
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) August 17, 2016
For whatever reason, that rain delay must’ve done the Blue Jays some good, as they immediately went to work and whittled away a 6-0 lead by the Yankees, cutting the deficit to 6-4 in the sixth inning, and then eventually jumping out ahead for good in the 8-run eighth inning.
Once Edwin Encarnacion hit that game-tying two-run home run, it truly felt like the Blue Jays were going to come back. It turns out all they needed was a rain delay to ice Michael Pineda out of the game so the Jays’ lineup could feast on the Yankees’ middle relievers.
Tulo and Martin Come Up Big
While it was great to see the Jays’ heavy hitters – Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion – come up with big hits, it was Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin who once again did the heavy lifting for the lineup.
Tulo and Martin combined to go 6 for 10 in that game with five RBI’s and three home runs between the two of them. Martin now has four home runs in his last three games and Tulowitzki is slashing .357/.426/.571 over his past 12 games.
With the Blue Jays getting very little or no production from the bottom third of their order, the team will be leaning heavily on the 4-5-6 of Saunders, Tulowitzki and Martin. I think it’s high time Saunders moved out of the cleanup spot, but having the combination of Tulo and Martin in the five and six spot as of late has been money for the Blue Jays.
It’s safe to say that Troy Tulowitzki is officially out of his funk from earlier this season, and now the same can probably be said about Russell Martin as well.
“Only” 8 Strikeouts by the Lineup
It seems a little bizarre to praise a team for “only” striking out eight times in a game, but after the Blue Jays struck out a total of 13 times in Monday’s 1-0 loss to the Yankees, anything less than a baker’s dozen worth of K’s was an improvement.
The Blue Jays lineup has been extremely swing-happy as of late, especially the bottom third of the batting order. But many of those strikeouts from Monday night turned into balls in play on Tuesday evening off the bats of Melvin Upton Jr. and Ezequiel Carrera.
Funnily enough, the only Blue Jays to reach base via walk in that game were Josh Donaldson (who walked twice) and Melvin Upton Jr. (go figure). On Monday, the Blue Jays were unlucky on several of their batted balls, but almost everything went through for a hit during the 12-6 game.
The Bullpen Kept the Jays in the Game
That game clearly wasn’t kind to many pitchers; Marco Estrada experienced one of the worst outings of the season and he didn’t look too particularly sharp against the Yankees. Luckily, a torrential downpour came in and salvaged that game for the Blue Jays.
Kudos to the Blue Jays’ bullpen trio of Scott Feldman, Jason Grilli and Ryan Tepera; who combined to throw four innings of one-run relief.
To me, that outing really reiterated the value of someone like Scott Feldman. Although he may not be called upon to close out a game, those contests are often won and lost in middle relief. How many times this season did the Blue Jays piss away a game by going to someone like Jesse Chavez or Drew Storen in middle relief and they put they game beyond reach?
Scott Feldman wasn’t quite perfect in his three innings of relief, but he was pretty close … with a career-high five strikeouts in relief. Luckily, Feldman stopped the bleeding and hung around long enough to give his teammates a fighting chance against the Yankees.