Sadly, the series that people thought would be neck and neck is now the farthest it could be from that.
On October 17, 2016, our Toronto Blue Jays played a “must win” game three in the Rogers Centre against the boiling hot Cleveland Indians. Not only are the players on the team hot, so is the team name, but not for the right reasons. The Cleveland Indians name has been compared to the Washington Red Skins name. An Ontario court denied the bid to take on the action of not allowing the Indians name to be shown in Ontario. Had this case been taken on, there was a potential risk of the Blue Jays game not being shown on cable TV, which would have resulted in a lot of upset. For more on this story, click here.
The game started off with a lot of confidence. Marcus Stroman has pitched in a lot of high intensity games (the wild card game and 2015 ALDS game 5), and I truly believe that there was no one that the Blue Jays would rather have had pitching for them during game 3.
The first inning was not a good one for our boys. Stroman starts off the inning with a 5 pitch leadoff walk to the DH Carlos Santana. With a pop up and a strike out on 3 pitches to Lindor, all of the viewers thought that Stroman would get out of the inning nearly untouched. Napoli doubles and scores Santana from first base, and the Indians strike first and take a 1-0 lead to the game. Stroman gets Ramirez to pop up and strands the runner on second base.
Trying to respond to the run, Bautista leads off the inning. Gibbons thought that the Blue Jays could use a good shake and bring back Joey Bats to the number one spot in the lineup. The Blue Jays were 25-15 when the Bautista lead off in the regular season. He starts off the inning with a strike out on a 3-2 count. Again, he strikes out not swinging nor looking at a strike (#Circumstances). Donaldson walks and Edwin pops up. Tulowitzki walks, and the Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer’s day is done, but not for the reason you think. Bauer had an injury a few hours before ALCS game 1 when trying to repair his drone. If you are unaware, Bauer’s favourite past time is when playing with his drone around Progressive Field. When trying to repair it, he ended up slicing his finger with it and needing 10 stitches. Thanks to this, Bauer’s start was moved to game three, instead of his scheduled start in game two. Fast forward to the first inning of the game, with two on and two out, Bauer is forced to leave game three because of a dripping with blood finger. I’m going to spare all of you the nauseousness of looking at his finger, unlike what TBS did to us! Martin came up to bat and sadly grounded out. Therefore, we couldn’t respond to the run.
In the top of the second things were good, scary, good, scary and then (thankfully) good. To start off the inning, Chisenhall grounded out. On a full count, Stroman gave up another walk on a 3-2 count. Coco Crisp (the runner) stole second base, without Martin even throwing. After a pop up, Martin throws a wild pitch but Stroman gets the runner to strike out to end the inning!
Heading to the bottom of the second, our Blue Jays are still trailing 1-0… but not for long! Michael Saunders leads off the inning with a home run, and just like that we are tied! After Pillar grounds out, Carrera singles to try and get something going, but the inning ended with a double play.
Forwarding to the top of the 4th, Napoli hit a solo home run, and the score was now 2-1 Cleveland.
Now we ask ourselves, where would we be without Carrera? After writing blog post recaps for every single playoff game, I realize that I don’t think there is one game that I haven’t written his name in (spoiler from the future: this trend continues tomorrow) for a key play. Carrera starts off the bottom of the fifth with a lead triple, and we are back in business. With Goins batting next, he flies into a sacrifice out, that scores Carrera and we are tied yet again!
In the top of the sixth inning, Kipnis scores a solo homer and we trail 3-2. But the damage didn’t stop there. Napoli walked, stole and scored on Jose Ramirez’s RBI single. I have to admit that at this point I was sad. Like sitting in my own pile of tears sad. It just looked like we weren’t having any luck, and as I kept saying “This isn’t fair.”
The bottom of the seventh was quite the fiasco. With two on and two out, the MVP is up at bat, bringing the go-ahead run to home plate. On the first pitch, he swung and 9/10 times his play would have been a single, but I guess the baseball god’s did not have our back today, and it ended up completing the inning. I guess it completed the end of the ballgame, too.
Not much happened during the 8th or 9th, other then Navarro hitting a single off of Miller during the bottom of the 9th inning, Navarro being the first batter he faced.
Although many are freaking out, I’m not so sure there is a ton to freak out about. Sure, we are down 0-3, and while Cleveland needs one win to get to the World Series, we need three. When you really think about it, Cleveland’s world is crashing around them, pitching wise. They really only have 1 good starting pitcher (Kluber, whom he will face tomorrow) while all of the others are injured… or shall I say playing with drones (LOL)?. Tomorrow, we have the best starting pitcher in the American League pitching for us, followed by our best playoff pitcher (Marco Estrada, who went 7.2 innings with only one earned run pitching for us in game 5 of the ALCS last year) come game 5, and our most reliable pitcher (JA Happ) pitching game 6 in Cleveland. There is still a massive chance that all depends on one thing, our offence.
Tomorrow, our bats have to come alive, and lets say we come back with a win, there is no doubt in my mind that this series will go all the way to seven games, because that is what our boys do.