The Toronto Blue Jays walked it off in the 11th inning because for some insane reason Ubaldo Jimenez was on the mound for the Baltimore Orioles.
When you have the best closer in the league – a closer who’s in the Cy Young conversation no less – you’d have to figure that’s the guy you’d want in the 11th inning of a do-or-die game. At least, you’d want him over a guy who had a 5.44 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in the regular season. Nope, that’s not Buck Showalter’s style.
Enter Ubaldo Jimenez:
*Matt Wieters knew.
Probably not where Ubaldo Jimenez wanted to locate that 91 MPH fastball to Edwin Encarnacion pic.twitter.com/Ymp7rFvQYk
— Daren Willman (@darenw) October 5, 2016
Ubaldo Jimenez gave up 3 earned runs in the 11th inning tonight. Zach Britton gave up 4 earned runs all season. In 69 games.
— Larry Stone (@StoneLarry) October 5, 2016
"No one has been pitching better for us than Ubaldo." ? Except for Britton, who has given up 1 run since June 22. https://t.co/siT2C2Ltbq
— Mark Harper (@MarkHarper36) October 5, 2016
Orioles closer Zach Britton: "It was just frustrating to have to sit down there and watch and not be able to help the team.”
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) October 5, 2016
Yup, that happened. Showalter actually thought it’d be a good idea to have the season ride on Ubaldo Jiminez instead of Zach Britton.
Jimenez didn’t throw ONE good pitch in his appearance. He served one on a platter to Devon Travis who singled, then another to Josh Donaldson who did the same, and finally another to Edwin Encarnacion who hit the three-run homer that ended it.
That being said, I have just one thing to say to Jimenez…
This game is 1000% on Showalter. There’s simply no excuse. Britton was healthy and if there’s a time to put in your best pitcher, that was the time.
As much as the Orioles screwed this one up for themselves, I do want to give the Blue Jays credit where credit is due. Marcus Stroman and Francisco Liriano both stepped up.
Let me start by saying I couldn’t have been more wrong about Stroman coming into this game. I thought Baltimore would cruise to an easy win as a result of starting Stroman over Liriano.
Betting my life savings on the Orioles. No idea why the Blue Jays aren't going with Liriano instead of Stroman. https://t.co/sEngAtea7F
— Justin Leger (@JLegerSports) October 4, 2016
Well, I was wrong. Stroman did his job allowing just two runs in a quality start. As for Liriano, he ended up being the MVP out of the bullpen.
— Justin Leger (@JLegerSports) October 5, 2016
But hey, is there a better way to start the MLB postseason? We had it all in this one. Now I just can’t wait to see what goes down in this Blue Jays-Rangers ALDS.
— The Ledge (@TheLedgeSports) October 5, 2016