Feelings are not facts. Objectively, things are not that different, success-wise, than they were two weeks ago. Subjectively, this is just the worst. It's almost physically painful.
Yesterday’s second loss in a row to the Yankees, after the horrifying weekend in Tampa, was particularly dispiriting.
The Jays' best starter, on a team of great starters, battled all game but his offence only gave him but two runs. Sanchez gives up a two run homer in the bottom of the 7th, and it’s 3-2 Yankees. It was like getting kicked in the face.
Top of the 8th, the offence finally wakes up and gets a rally going. Kevin Pillar hits a 2 run double and it’s 4-3 Blue Jays. This high powered but sleepy offence finally showed a pulse.
Jason Grilli comes out for the bottom of the 8th and proceeds to give it all back and then some. He walks Ellsbury, gives up an RBI triple to Gregorious (4-4), a sac fly to Castro (5-4) and a short porch number by Chase Headley. It was 7-4 Yankees going into the 9th. It was like getting kicked in the face.
The Yankees’ best relief pitcher is on the mound for the top of the ninth, and he is not good. Betances throws 40 pitches.
He walks Bautista. He walks Donaldson. He throws a wild pitch to Encarnacion, and the runners advance.
Encarnacion hits a soft single, scoring Bautista and advancing Donaldson to third. Carrera runs for Encarnacion. Russell Martin strikes out. Navarro draws a walk. Barney runs for Navarro. Upton hits a soft single, scores Donaldson, and to load the bases. It's 7-6 Yankees.
Justin Smoak, having left a village on base throughout the game, drives a ball deep to left field. Had the wind been blowing out, it’s a Grand Slam. The wind, however, was blowing in and it was snow cone catch at the wall by Brett Gardner. It was like getting kicked in the face.
The Orioles had just finished beating Tampa and the Red Sox would later beat the Padres. It's all very real.
Had I been a neutral observer, I likely would have enjoyed the heck out of that baseball game. There was drama. It was tense. There was great pitching and terrible pitching. There were dramatic home runs and infield hits. The score went back and forth. I am not, however, a neutral observer. That was so exciting yet painful to watch.
The national media in the States is salivating at the drum tight AL East (the only tight race outside of the Wild Card), so the excitement in the baseball community and the American media, who likely dream of a Cubs/Red Sox World Series, is palpable.
Also palpable is the anxiety among Jays fans.
I found myself alarmingly stressed after that game yesterday. It’s not just that I was upset my team lost, but I was angry that all the angry, negative Jays writers and fans had new fuel for their hate. That they could keep saying “See, I told you, I was right to be negative. I was right to call you all fools.”
I read some of this stuff and I just wonder why these people bother writing about the Jays and why they bother even watching. I mean, why?
The numbers tell me this is a very, very good baseball team. They have pitched brilliantly this season and have one of the best offences in the AL.
Neither of these facts feel real. Watching this team flail hopelessly and try to scratch out runs makes it seem like this is the worst offence ever. The immediate is what is felt.
This team could and maybe should probably win the East.
Will they? I don’t know. So much of success at this time of year is from luck and a game like the one last night makes me wonder if they just don’t have any. It’s not the lack of desire and it’s not their heart. The fates just didn't line up.
It’s the pointy end of the season. The fact is the Jays are really good but the feelings are like getting kicked in the face.