Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz may have received a fancy coat for his future retirement, but the Toronto Blue Jays are the ones on thin ice now.
Before the biggest series, so far this season, got underway in Toronto, fellow Dominican Blue Jays Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion presented Big Papi with the Expedition Parka. Scott Lauber of ESPN reported that it is “‘standard issue,’ according to a press release, for scientists at the South Pole. And while that might be true, it’s unclear why the Jays thought it might be, as the release states, ‘the ideal gift for the Boston Red Sox’s own Big Papi.’”
The day before, a very well-known sports talk show named Tim & Sid, named after its two beloved stars, brought up the subject of what Ortiz’s gift should be. After all, did Toronto really want to celebrate Ortiz’s retirement right in the middle of a close division race? The Red Sox had just taken the one-game lead two nights ago; was it too soon to praise the opposition?
Article continues below ...
Tim Micallef broached the subject to Sid Seixeiro, who said that “it should suck just a little bit.” He explained that one cannot just butter up the opposition and make him feel comfortable while Ortiz tries to take the division away from the Blue Jays in front of their own fans. Micallef and Seixeiro have shown nothing but complete respect and admiration for Ortiz over the years, including this season, so Red Sox Nation should be able to see their point. Who could blame them?
The Parka is truly a Canadian gift, even though Boston is often colder than Toronto in the winter months. Highly sought and highly expensive, the coat does make a great gift for anyone, even Ortiz.
However, whether the coat was tongue-in-cheek to suggest that the powerhouse hitter should get chilly in his at-bats or not, Ortiz was not the one who needed to keep out the cold last night.
As predicted in yesterday’s Mornin’ Chowda, Boston’s starting pitcher Rick Porcello was absolutely painting the corners of the plate in the early innings. In Josh Donaldson‘s first at-bat, one could see that Porcello had mastery over his fastball, slinging the first two pitches over the far edge of the strike zone with a touch of movement that fooled the 2015 American League MVP. Even when the Blue Jays did get a hold of a pitch, they hit them off the ends of their bats which flew harmlessly for flyouts or smacked the turf for easy groundouts.
Porcello went seven innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts for his major-league leading 20th victory of the season.
While the Blue Jays bats seemed stone cold, they did score three runs: two on Porcello and one off of reliever Brad Ziegler. Koji Uehara came in for an inning and shut down the Blue Jays, allowing only one hit and struck out two batters.
How did Porcello’s counterpoint Marco Estrada do? Equally as predicted, Estrada faltered. The only thing not foreseen was how badly it went for him.
Sep 9, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello (22) at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
If he didn’t allow a hit, Estrada would walk, seemingly, every batter he faced. His pitches missed badly, even if they were supposed to be out of the strikezone. The Red Sox bats didn’t want to bite on pitches clearly out of their range. Estrada only lasted 2.1 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits, three walks, and two strikeouts.
Had it not been for some timely outs, the Red Sox would have made the score out of reach in each of the first three innings.
Boston wasn’t sweating that, because they got help from multiple errors by Blue Jays outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. and one from second baseman Devon Travis to help the onslaught along. Especially Upton Jr., who had two easy flyballs that he dropped. The Blue Jays used six relievers to get through the game, with only two keeping the Red Sox off of the scoreboard. A double, a sacrifice fly, a groundout, an error, four singles, and two home runs pumped Boston’s lead to 13-3 by the ninth inning. The Blue Jays couldn’t come back, not even by one more run.
It’s been pretty hot in the Great White North for the past few days, temperatures making Toronto feel like a sauna in the desert. Everyone has been feeling the heat in the city, except the bats that went cold against Porcello and the Red Sox relievers. Two of the Jays’ gloves went frozen, as well. The Red Sox bats and pitching arms are red hot, lifting Boston two games clear of the Blue Jays with two more games to go, this weekend. If the Red Sox complete the sweep, Toronto’s manager John Gibbons and the rest of the Blue Jays will need to take Ortiz’s coat back for warmth, as they will be surrounded by chilly fans and a front office while they sit on the proverbial hot seat.