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The Blue Jays And Orioles Will Not Play Normal Baseball

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

There is an alternate universe in which fans of the Toronto Blue Jays are spending this morning stomping around and grumbling about a potentially season-ruining stretch of losses to the vile and incompetent Orioles. On Friday, the Jays began a four-game set in Baltimore while just a half game out of the wild card race. The Jays were already on an eight-game winning streak before the start of Friday’s game, and a weekend spent slapping around the O’s was exactly what they needed to keep the momentum going.

The Jays didn’t do much slapping in Friday night’s game, as they lost 6-3 and starting pitcher Robbie Ray convinced himself that the Orioles were somehow stealing his catcher’s signs from the dugout. Down 3-0 in the second inning to one of the very worst baseball teams ever assembled is not a place any serious person wants to find themselves, not to mention getting into a little spat with the manager of said awful team in the middle of the inning.

So that’s how the weekend started for the Jays, and things weren’t looking much better through the first six innings of the first game of Saturday’s double-header. Jays starter Hyun-Jin Ryu got wiped out, giving up seven runs in less than three innings, and for awhile there it looked like the Orioles were actually about to win two games in a row against the hottest team in baseball. All they had to do was protect a four-run lead in the seventh and final inning. Well, they did not do that.

One might have assumed that both teams would finally adhere to form in the second game of the doubleheader. The Jays had worked out whatever kinks had been threatening to ruin the weekend, and the Orioles would surely have no interest in competing in another game so quickly after suffering a humiliating loss. Would you believe me then if I told you that the O’s actually no-hit the Jays for six innings in the second game? Would you throw something at me if I told you the Jays still won that game 11-2?

Please empty your hands, because that is exactly what happened. Some dude named Keegan Akin did not allow a hit through the first six innings of the game, and went back onto the mound in the seventh with a chance to secure a seven-inning no-hitter and a 2-0 win for Baltimore. Here is how the top of the seventh went for the Jays:

  • Single
  • Homer
  • Single
  • Homer
  • Single
  • Single
  • Sacrifice fly
  • Single
  • Homer
  • Single
  • Single
  • Homer
  • Walk
  • Line out
  • Walk
  • Line out

By the time it was all over, the Jays had an 11-2 lead, which they held onto through an easy bottom half of the inning.

So what the hell is going on here? Are we bearing witness to the irrepressible magic of the 2021 Toronto Blue Jays, a team that has now won 13 of its last 15 games, is extremely fun and cool to watch, and is inching ever closer to becoming the Team of Destiny? Or can this all be chalked up to the utter haplessness of the Baltimore Orioles, who were built to do things like give up 11 runs in a single inning? The answer is that it’s probably a little bit of both, which is good news in the sense that this combination of teams seems particularly suited for crafting weird, entertaining baseball games. The series wraps up today with an afternoon game, which will surely feature three different Orioles hitting for the cycle and the Jays still winning 14-12.

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