Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17: Rangers 2 Jays 3

JA Happ shines in start against not-so-hard hitting Rangers

Texas, since August 1st is batting .287 / .353 / .791 and can be explosive at the plate. Happ wasn't fazed, pitching six innings, letting one run score on two hits, striking out 8 over six innings and 98 pitches. This is exactly the start required for the Jays to have a chance to win, and with Edwin back in the lineup, the Jays had a chance to score a couple of runs against Yu Darvish.

Yu hasn't be so yu-ish lately. In his past 9 starts, he's 4-4 with an ERA of 5.85 and a WHIP of 1.45. So, the Jays had a chance to do a little bit of damage. The Jays sported six vets in the lineup, (Cooper, Sierra, and Gose were the AAA Jays). Rasmus was scratched with his aggravated groin injury.

Scoring opened for Toronto in the 1st inning with a Kelly Johnson walk followed by Edwin's 31st home run to make it 2-0.

Happ, meanwhile, had a perfect 3 innings, striking out 6 in a row in the 2nd and 3rd inning, before walking Kinsler at the top of the 4th, but finished off the side. Happ got into a bit of trouble in the 5th, letting in a couple of singles before a sacrifice bunt and a ground out allowed a run to score. Happ then pitched a 1-2-3 6th and left the game.

The Jays running game took over in bottom of the 5th. With two out, Anthony Gose hit a fly ball that Gentry couldn't reach, and the ball bobbled around in the corner, while Gose pulled off a Usain Bolt with a triple despite the ball being no more than 10 feet from Gentry. Gose's triple was the difference in the game: Rajai knocked him in with a single, but then stole 2nd AND 3rd base before Kelly Johnson struck out.

Rajai is ridiculous in that he has 37 stolen bases (8 caught) in 80 stolen base opporuntinues. That's a 56% attempt to steal rate. Miami's Emilio Bonifacio has 33 stolen bases / attempts in 99 opportunites, for a rate of 33%. Mike Trout's rate is 23%. Rajai is prolific and aggressive, and the pitchers really can't do anything about it.

Delabar meanwhile came on the 7th and got into a bit of trouble. Delabar walked Beltre, and then gave up a single to Adrian Young and walked Nelson Cruz to load the bases with two outs. Rookie Mike Olt then hit a grounder to Omar Visquel who uncharacteristly booted it for an error to cut the lead to 3-2. Out went Delabar, and in come Brandon Lyon to face Ian Kinsler, who grounded to Escobar. Fans let out a big sigh.

Darvish had a good night too, letting in 3 runs over 7 innings, striking out 10, pitching 114 pitches (71 for strikes), allowing only 3 hits and 1 walk, meaning that the Jays were very efficient in scoring runs.

The Jays then used Lyon, Loup, and Lincoln to pitch a 1-2 inning to Andrus, Hamilton, and Beltre. Lincoln, however did not get Beltre out as he hit a broken bat single to left. Michael Young then grounded out as Lincoln preserved the game with a one run lead.

KC Janssen then pitched the 9th for his 16th save against the bottom of the Texas lineup, pitching a 1-2-3 inning. Gose and Escobar pretty much ran into each other for the fly for the 2nd out.

This is precisely the only way the Jays are going to win games for another week when both Lawrie and Bautista return and Rasmus returns healthy. Excellent starting pitching, a little bit of run support, and a strong bullpen is the only way the Jays can expect to win games in the next week against Texas, Detroit and Baltimore.

Great game for the Jays fans to watch in this nailbiter.

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