The Toronto Blue Jays suffered a painful loss on Saturday against Tampa Bay Rays in a dramatic match that hung in the balance for long periods. It was a game the Blue Jays knew they had to win, but the result moved their season to nine wins against 11 defeats.
Defeat to Rays, a team many pundits expected them to edge a win against, left Blue Jays down in fourth place of five in the AL East. Boston set the pace at present with 13 wins and nine losses, and it will be challenging to budge as we enter a crucial stage of the campaign.
The Canadian side is two-time World Series winners, claiming back-to-back glory in 1992 and 1993. Returning to those dizzy heights is looking increasingly unlikely for Blue Jays supporters this season as the team struggles to find the consistency needed to compete.
Biggio’s slip hands the game to Tampa Bay
Blue Jays and Rays proved a good match on the field of play, and those watching the action live on TV around the world watched the pair scrap out a tense eight-inning tie. It was a case of who would blink first. Pundits, fans, coaches and players knew it would take a mistake or a moment of brilliance to force the breakthrough. The fascinating aspect of the game in the latter stages was, which team would hold their nerve?
Tampa Bay was the braver of the teams and forced their opponents into an individual error that handed victory to Rays. Unfortunately for Blue Jays fans, it was Cavan Biggio who made the error. The third baseman looked to be handling things well, but a grounder, somehow, made its way through his legs, and, in an instant, the tide turned. It was a situation Biggio should have dealt with much better, and he knows it.
The game was level at 3-3 when Biggio took his eye off the ball, quite literally. That allowed Brandon Lowe to give his employers a 4-3 lead, and from then, having worked so far for their advantage, Tampa Bay weren’t about to give it up and allow their rivals a way back into the contest.
Victors earned the spoils of war
The victors had to work hard for the result, but even their harshest critics couldn’t grudge them the spoils of battle at the end of the play. They showed character to get ahead and a dogged determination at 4-3 to keep pushing and drive themselves across the line. Many in the Rays team stood up and were counted when the team needed them, and it will be interesting to see how that battling performance affects the team going forward. Do they have what it takes to ramp up the pressure on Boston? Fans will find out in the games ahead.
The pressure is now on Biggio and the Blue Jays coaching staff to lift their spirits, dust themselves off and move on. A player of his quality and experience knows how important it is not to dwell on errors, even those as costly as the one we saw that weekend.
The beaten team can take positives from the game and take confidence from those to look ahead as the games continue to come at them thick and fast. The central talking point of the game for fans was the jaw-dropping three-run homer made by Randal Grichuk. They did have their fair share of chances to build on that. The Blue Jays had the bases loaded with just two outs in the eighth as things became nervy. The spotlight was on, but the move came to nothing as Ryan Thompson struck out Alejandro Kirk. Players were left looking back at what could have been.
Blue Jays involved in a shoot-out
They are now involved in a shoot-out with teams like NY Yankees, Baltimore and Tampa Bay to ask questions of the leaders. Fans know Blue Jays now must piece together a winning run if they are to feature at the business end of the season.
However, pundits aren’t hot on their chances, with many MLB experts predicting NY Yankees will win the American League. The main challenge to the Yankees is expected to come from Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros.