After an off-day yesterday, the Blue Jays opened a mini 2-game series with the Washington Nationals. Last season, the Blue Jays were supposed to play a home and home 4-game series. Due to Buffalo needing renovations to meet MLB standards and COVID protocols and the border closed, all four games were played in Washington, but the Blue Jays were considered the home team in the latter 2 games. The Blue Jays and Nationals split the 4 games with the "home" team winning all 4 games. The Blue Jays outscored the Nationals 13-12. Tonight, the Blue Jays faced Nats ace Max Scherzer. Scherzer allowed just three hits over 7.1 innings his start against the Blue Jays last season. He earned a no-decision that day. It was a bullpen day for the Blue Jays as they continue to deal with a rash of injuries to their pitching staff. Trent Thornton got the ball first. Alejandro Kirk got the start behind the plate. Joe Panik was at the hot corner. George Springer was not activated tonight as his quad is becoming a nagging issue. Marcus Semien was back at 2B after playing SS Sunday. Bo Bichette was back at SS after serving as DH Sunday. Cavan Biggio was in LF and batted leadoff. Rowdy Tellez served as the DH today. Could the Blue Jays make it three straight wins? Here is tonight's game recap.
- The Nationals opened the scoring in the top of the 1st as leadoff hitter Trea Turner lined a screamer over the wall in left
- The Nationals added a run in the top of the 3rd as Turner whacked a solo blast to left-center
- Trent Thornton pitching line: 2.1IP 3H 2R (both earned) 0BB 2K 42 pitches (26 for strikes)
- A batter later, Yadiel Hernandez smacked a solo shot to left-center
- The Blue Jays took the lead in the bottom half of the inning as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hammered a grand slam to left-center; also scoring Alejandro Kirk, Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette
- The Blue Jays added a run in the bottom of the 4th as Joe Panik scored on a fielding error by Josh Harrison on a ball hit by Kirk
- A batter later, Kirk scored on a sac fly by Biggio
- The Blue Jays added a run in the bottom of the 5th as Guerrero Jr. annihilated a solo bomb to dead center
- Max Scherzer pitching line: 5IP 8H 7R (5 earned) 2BB 5K 86 pitches (54 for strikes)
- The Nationals got a pair back in the top of the 8th as Ryan Zimmerman knocked a 2-run shot to right; also scoring Hernandez
- The Blue Jays added a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning as Guerrero Jr. whacked a 2-run opposite field shot to right also scoring Bichette
- Final score: Blue Jays 9 Nationals 5
- The Blue Jays went with the opener again and it didn't work out great, at least to start. Trent Thronton gave up a couple of solo HR, including one to the 1st batter of the game. Tommy Milone followed Thornton and the first batter he faced took him yard. I've never been a fan of using an opener. Call me a traditionalist, but I like the old days where pitchers pitched 7 or so every night and faced the lineup 3 times. Sadly, the norm now is to maybe throw 5 or 6 innings. Bullpens used to have 6 or 7 pitchers. Now, they have nine pitchers, who typically throw a couple of innings at most. Roster sizes are still the same, but now there are three bench players available.
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a HUGE night with 3 HR (including a grand slam off Max Scherzer), and 7RBI. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the first player age 22 or younger with 3 career Grand Slams since Alex Rodriguez.
- Every Blue Jays starter got on base at least once, except Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
- Tommy Milone was credited with his first win in a Blue Jays uniform, pitching an inning.
- Up next, the Blue Jays and Nats finish off this quick 2-game series. Steven Matz gets the start against Nationals righty Erick Fedde