Well, so much for writing regularly. There are things I’ve been meaning to scribble on about but I have to admit the Jays awful start to 2015 has diminished my enthusiasm. Before I do get to the stuff I want to get to, I need to complete the trilogy of my 2014 trip to Baseball North complete with tons of photos. After having a nice dinner with my folks on the Friday night, it was back to the ballpark with them for Saturday’s game against Baltimore. I always cherish going to games with my parents because it doesn’t happen all that often. My pop is a big fan and my mom’s been getting into it too so it makes it a good time for all, especially when the Jays win. Thankfully, they did on this day as they doubled up the O’s 4-2.
Baltimore grabbed an early lead on a Delmon Young RBI single in the second inning but the Blue Jays got back-to-back RBI doubles from Steve Tolleson and Jose Reyes in the third off O’s starter Wei-Yin Chen to take the lead. Adam Jones homered off J.A. Happ in the sixth but Happ lasted 6-1/3 innings and got the win in his final appearance in Toronto to even his record at 11-11. The Jays tacked on an insurance run thanks to instant replay. Kevin Pillar was called out at home plate after trying to score on a Jose Reyes fly ball in the seventh. I found it odd that Pillar didn’t argue the call but it was overturned and Reyes got an RBI for his efforts. Reyes and Pillar had two hits apiece and accounted for two-thirds of the Jays hit total. Aaron Sanchez overcame a couple of walks in his 1-2/3 innings to get the ball to closer Casey Janssen in the ninth and he retired the side in order for his 25th save of the year and his final one in a Toronto uniform. My dad was happy to see Janssen pitch one final time. It was a shame how his second half of the season went after a bout of food poisoning during the all-star break.
R.A. Dickey got the ball for the final home start of the season and went up against Miguel Gonzalez. Two of my closest friends joined me to watch this one but they were a little late getting to the ballpark as they had to drive down to the park instead of parking at Yorkdale Shopping Centre and taking the subway down. Sadly, you can no longer park at the mall thanks to its recent expansion chewing up a lot of parking space. I was able to get some pictures from the 100 level before joining my amigos in the upper deck. There was not much to see in this one. Jonathan Schoop socked his 16th home run off Dickey near the Jays bullpen in left field in the fifth inning and that was the only run of the game to give Baltimore a 1-0 win. I had a good look at it from my left field seat in the 500 level. Dickey giving up a tater? Who would’ve thunk it? He served up 26 of them in 2014 and number 26 dropped his record 14-13 despite going six solid innings. Call-up Kendall Graveman, who rocketed up to the bigs after starting the year in A-ball, would make his final appearance as a Jay as he would be included in the Josh Donaldson trade with Oakland. Sean Nolin, also sent to Oakland in that deal, was warming up in the pen but did not get into the game. Brett Cecil pitched the eighth and Casey Janssen made his final curtain call with another 1-2-3 ninth.
The Jays had opportunities to tie it but wasted a Ryan Goins two-out triple in the fifth but Nick Markakis robbed Reyes of a hit that would have scored Goins to end the inning. Jose Bautista reached on an error in the sixth and stole second base but Ubaldo Jimenez struck out Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Dalton Pompey to end the threat. That was Encarnacion’s last chance for a 100 RBI season as a two-run homer would have given him the century mark. Encarnacion led off the ninth with a single in his final at-bat of the year and Juan Francisco — of all people — came in to pinch-run. Maybe Edwin had a flight to catch! However, Francisco’s stay at first was short-lived when pinch-hitter Danny Valencia lined out to first for an unassisted double play. A Pompey strikeout against Orioles closer Zach Britton ended the game and the season for the Blue Jays as they finished 2014 with a 83-79 record. A disappointing end to an exciting but ultimately disappointing season which leaves the Jays with the current longest streak of not making the playoffs to 22 years.