Friday, July 24, 2020

Game #1 Toronto Blue Jays (1-0) @ Tampa Bay Rays (0-1) - game recap

Cavan Biggio smacked a 3-run blast to lead the Blue Jays to a 6-4 victory over the Rays

Four months and 12 days after sports stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Blue Jays kicked off a truncated 2020 regular season against division rivals Tampa Bay Rays. The Blue Jays will play the bulk of their games at their AAA facility in Buffalo (except for next week's series against Washington where they will be the "home" team in DC) and maybe the following series). Some new faces in today's lineup, including new "ace" pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu. The Japanese import signed a 4 year deal in the off-season worth $20million/season. Another new Blue Jay is 3B Travis Shaw. Vlad is moving across the diamond where he will be the new first baseman, replacing the departed Justin Smoak, who is now in Milwaukee. Can the Blue Jays open this odd season with a victory in their own house of horrors? Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the top of the 4th as Randal Grichuk ripped a line drive to left scoring Cavan Biggio
  • The next batter, Rowdy Tellez hit a sac fly to center plating Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
  • The next batter, Teoscar Hernandez smacked a sac fly to left scoring Travis Shaw
  • The Rays got one back in the bottom half of the inning as Mike Brosseau doubled home Manuel Margot
  • The Jays added three runs in the top of the 5th as Biggio cranked a three run blast to right also scoring Bo Bichette and Danny Jansen
  • Charlie Morton pitching line: 4IP 7H 6R (all earned) 1BB 4K 80 pitches (54 for strikes)
  • The Rays got a pair back in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run jack to right-center by Yoshi Tsutsugo also scoring Hunter Renfroe
  • Hyun-jin Ryu pitching line: 4.1IP 4H 3R (all earned) 3BB 4K 97 pitches (54 for strikes)
  • The Rays got one back in the bottom of the 8th as Willy Adames singled home Margot
  • Ken Giles pitched the 9th for his 1st save of the season. He struck out 2 batters
  • Final score: Blue Jays 6 Rays 4
  • Up next, the Blue Jays continue the three game weekend set to kick off the season. Matt Shoemaker will be making his first regular season start since tearing his ACL in a rundown April 20 last season. The Rays will counter with lefty Ryan Yarbrough

My Take:

  • It was a solid start for the new Blue Jays pitching ace as Hyun-jin Ryu pitched into the 5th, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits, while walking 3 and striking out 4. Not surprisingly, he struggled a bit with his command (as did a few other pitchers in a game that saw a combined 11 walks, including 8 by Blue Jays pitchers). 
  • Quirky stat of the day: both starting pitchers threw 54 strikes
  • Cavan Biggio had a strong start to the season, cranking a three-run HR and scoring twice
  • Some players opted to wear masks, while others did not. I found it odd that the Astros pitching coached covered his mouth with his hand during a mound visit, even though he was wearing a mask.
  • Every Blue Jays starter, except Tellez had at least one hit.
  • That was the first win over the Rays since September 29, 2019. The last time the Blue Jays won at Tropicana before tonight was September 28, 2018. Can they make it two straight tomorrow?