The Thursday Takeaway

The Cardinals and Blue Jays were forced into a make-up doubleheader on Thursday, and if you followed both games you definitely got your money’s worth.

The matinee half of the twinbill brought the drama in a major way, even though it seemed like Toronto was going to cruise to a ho-hum victory for most of the game. Russell Martin had the visitors feeling good after he took Carlos Martinez deep to center to put the Jays on the board first.

Mat Latos managed to mystify the Cardinals for six innings, while the Blue Jays pushed to a 4-0 lead after the top of the seventh came and went. Once the bottom half of that frame began, that’s when things went sideways for Toronto.

The first leak in the dam occurred when St. Louis pushed ahead one run in the bottom of the seventh, then added another in the eighth to make things interesting going into the ninth inning. Yadier Molina led off that inning with a double and then with the home team down to their last out, Randal Grichuk ensured that the game would last a little bit longer with a dinger that barely made it over the wall in center and into the hands of an “excited” Cardinals fan.

Two innings later, the Cardinals loaded the bases and Matt Carpenter completed St. Louis’ comeback with a grand slam, and Toronto was left to wonder how a four-run lead in the seventh inning turned into a four-run loss in the 11th inning.

The good thing about a doubleheader is that Toronto didn’t have too much time to wallow in sadness after that bummer of a loss, because they had to play again in a few hours. With that being said, there may have been a slight bit of a hangover from the previous game because the Cardinals jumped out to a 6-0 lead after four innings. Dexter Fowler’s dinger in the second inning was the loudest of those six runs.

Meanwhile, Adam Wainwright went 6 1/3 innings, but the fifth inning was where he had his only hiccup, and it was a major one at that. A leadoff double eventually turned into a RBI single from Kevin Pillar, and a double from Chris “Jumpman” Coghlan eventually turned into another run on the board when Kendrys Morales brought everybody home with a three-run homer.

Unfortunately for Toronto, that was all the offense that they could muster up, as the Cardinals managed to hold on to their lead. What started out as a promising day for the Blue Jays ended up being a long and arduous one for the players on the field. The Blue Jays have already done their fair share of losing this month, and taking two losses in one day is just exacerbating their April woes.

Quick Hits

Back on Monday, the Rockies had the audacity to actually beat the Nationals. Apparently Washington took great offense to this, because they responded by scoring 15 runs on Tuesday, 11 on Wednesday, and then 16 more on getaway day. In fact, they scored 11 runs in the seventh inning alone on Thursday, and Bryce Harper delivered the exclamation point in this inning because it was always going to be Bryce Harper who added the emphatic punctuation mark.

Congratulations are in order for both the Yankees and Red Sox. Chris Sale pitched a great game for Boston, but Masahiro Tanaka was even better as he actually threw the first “Maddux” of 2017.

However, that’s not why congratulations are in order. Nope, we’re patting these two teams on the back because the Yankees and Red Sox managed to play a full nine innings against each other in a brisk two hours and 21 minutes. We are truly on the brink of a new era when it comes to this particular rivalry.

Don’t look now, but the Phillies have won six straight games. If it weren’t for the Nationals just tearing through their competition like a hot knife through butter, the Phillies would be getting a decent amount of attention right now. Jeremy Hellickson’s performance kind of symbolized the Phillies early start so far—it wasn’t remarkable or outstanding, but the job was done and they’re in a good place right now.

Plus, any time you can get the speed demon known Dee Gordon out on a bunt like this, you’re doing something right.

Defensive Play of the Day

Cleveland ended up beating the Astros by one run on Thursday night, and it was partially thanks to Abraham Almonte keeping a bunch of Houston runs off of the board in the first inning by making an outstanding jumping catch at the wall.

What to Watch on Friday

The Mets are in a major hole right now, and they could dig themselves into an even deeper hole if things don’t go well for them this weekend. They’ve got a date with the red-hot Nationals—who just got done scoring 46 runs in a four-game series in Colorado and have won 10 of their last 11 games—and if Washington continues to stay hot, the Mets could find themselves 10.5 games back if a sweep happens. New York will have Jacob deGrom going for the first game of the series, and that might be their best chance to keep them out of the injury-laden sinkhole that they currently find themselves in.

Meanwhile out West, the early front-runners in the NL West are going to begin a weekend series today. No, we’re not talking about the Giants and Dodgers—instead, we’re talking about the Rockies and Diamondbacks. Colorado may be reeling a bit after the aforementioned bludgeoning from the Nationals, but there will be no rest for the weary as they travel to the desert to start this series. There’s no telling at this point whether this series will turn out to be important as we get further down the road of this season, but it’s still fun to see two teams who were expected to struggle play decently well.

Thank you for reading

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Its a major oversight that Kendall Graveman's 1-unassisted double play isn't the defensive play of the day.