After a rain-out, the Blue Jays played their first double header of the year (last Sunday's game vs. the LA Angels was also rained out but will be made up in August). The temporary rules of double header games being seven innings each has carried over to this season. The Blue Jays lost the first game of the series Thursday as Anthony Kay was knocked around to the tune of 5 runs (4 earned) over 3.1 innings. Tanner Roark, relegated to the bullpen after a rough start, was also charged with a pair of unearned runs. In the 1st game, Steven Matz made his 3rd start of the season. Tommy Millone made a spot start in the second game. Danny Jansen got the first game behind the plate and Alejandro Kirk started the second game as the backstop after serving as the DH in the 1st game. Santiago Espinal was at the hot corner in the 1st game. Jonathan Davis got the start in CF in the 1st game and Randal Grichuk was in RF. Everyone else was in their usual position and spot in the lineup in the 1st game. After being in the field in game 1, Vlad got the half day off in the 2nd game, serving as the DH, with Rowdy Tellez playing 1B. Randal Grichuk got the 2nd game completely off with Josh Palacios in his spot in RF. Joe Panik got the start at the hot corner in the 2nd game. The rest of the lineup was the same as game 1 and the regular lineup. Could the Blue Jays sweep the double-header (or at least earn the split)? Here are today's game recaps.
Game Highlights (1st game):
- The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the top of the 1st as Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doubled home Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Randal Grichuk
- The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 5th as Jonathan Davis smacked a solo shot to left and into the Royals bullpen
- The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 6th as Guerrero Jr. whacked a solo shot to left and into the Royals bullpen
- Mike Minor pitching line: 5.2IP 7H 4R (all earned) 0BB 3K 99 pitches (59 for strikes)
- The Royals got one back in the bottom half of the inning as Andrew Benintendi doubled home Nicky Lopez
- Steven Matz pitching line: 6IP 2H 1R (earned) 2BB 5K 82 pitches (48 for strikes)
- The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 7th on a sac fly by Marcus Semien that scored Davis
- Final Score: Blue Jays 5 Royals 1
My take (1st game);
- Steven Matz pitched another gem, tossing 6 innings of 2 hit ball, giving up a run, walking 2 and striking out 5.. He carried a no-hitter through five innings, gave up a run on two hits and was promptly pulled in the 7th. He should have been given the opportunity to start the 7th. I mean, he has already thrown 90+ pitches in a start, he had a 4-run lead and if the Blue Jays were worried about him, they could have had someone like Rafael Dolis,ho did not throw a strike to the first two hitters he faced, issuing a 4-pitch walk to Carlos Santana and then hitting Jorge Soler with the next pitch, warming up behind him. I miss the old days when pitchers were at least allowed to start the next inning if they had under 100 pitches. Also, you have to consider how stressful the pitches were. Matz only had to contend with base runners in three of the six innings he worked (a 1st inning walk that was quickly erased by a double play, a one out walk to Soler in the 5th and a pair of hits in the 6th that led to the only run he gave up. Matz retired 12 batters in a row at one point. Besides, Charlie Montoyo only has to look at the last game of the world series when his protégé John Madden pulled starter Blake Snell, who was also pitching a gem, in the 6th inning only to see the bullpen give up a pair of runs and really cost the Rays their first world series. Trust your starters and let them keep going when they are cruising.
- Vladimir Guerrero (solo HR, 2 runs scored, RBI), Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (2 run double), Jonathan Davis (solo HR, 2 hits, SB) and Randal Grichuk (2 hits and a run scored) carried the offense and had strong games offensively
- Danny Jansen's having a rough season offensively. He was 0-3 today and is now batting a miniscule .072.
- Up next, game two of the double header. Tommy Millone got the spot start against Royals righty Ervin Santana
- The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the top of the 2nd as Alejandro Kirk doubled home Josh Palacios
- The Royals tied the game in the bottom of the 3rd as Jarrod Dyson scored on a throwing error by Rowdy Tellez
- Two batters later, Carlos Santana doubled home Benintendi
- Tommy Millone pitching line: 2.1IP 3H 2R (both earned) 0BB 4K 39 pitches (26 for strikes)
- Ervin Santana pitching line: 3IP 2H 1R (earned) 0BB 1K 36 pitches (25 for strikes)
- The Blue Jays tied the game in the top of the 4th on a sac fly by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. that scored Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
- The Royals walked it off in the bottom of the 7th as Salvador Perez hammered a solo bomb to dead centerS
- Final score: Royals 3 Blue Jays 2
My Take (2nd game):
- Tommy Millone threw 2.1 innings, giving up a pair of runs on a throwing error and a double. He gave up 3 hits overall, walked none and struck out 4. Charlie Montoyo was displaying a quick hook today, earlier pulling Steven Matz, who was tossing a gem and had a decent pitch count. Perhaps Montoyo was hoping Millone might be available tomorrow if Robbie Ray, starting his second game coming off an elbow contusion, can't go very deep
- Let's address Cava Biggio's getting thrown out trying to advance on a a wild pitch. It's a judgment call whether a player advances on a wild pitch. Biggio felt that he could make it, but Royals catcher Cam Gallagher made a great play
- Another continuous issue I want to address is bunting. It is a good strategy and can lead to a multi-run inning. For example, say you got runners on 1st and second with nobody out and the top of the order due up. Why not get Danny Jansen or Jonathan Davis to drop down a bunt to move the runners up a base? That gives Semien a chance to drive in at least one run and then Biggio could knock in the other run with a base hit. I agree that bunting with 2 strikes is unwise. Bunt should be taken off with two strikes and batter should just swing away because if the ball is bunted foul with 2 strikes, the batter is out. Look at Ichiro, he regularly bunted to get on base. Speedy runners should be allowed to drop down a bunt every so often to get on base.
- Re: the use of pitchers today: Matz should have been allowed to start the 7th. The Blue Jays are in a situation where they are closing by committee. Ken Giles is now a Seattle Mariner (he would have missed the season anyway after TJ surgery). Kirby Yates is gone for the year after TJ surgery. Julian Merryweather is on the IL. As are Tyler Chatfield and Jordan Romano. Rafael Dolis, having had previous closing experience with the Cubs, is likely to be the go to, but it may depend on what part of the lineup is up. Dolis is unreliable and isn't the most efficient getting batters out, typically taking about 20 pitches to get through an inning. Today, he didn't throw a single strike to the first 2 hitters he faced. David Phelps or Tim Mayza could be asked to close, depending on the situation. Besides, Joel Payamps is supposed to be a pro and should be able to handle that type of situation. He just made a bad pitch and that was unfortunately the ball game
- Rowdy Tellez was the only Blue Jay to reach base more than once in this game
- Up next, the Blue Jays wrap up this series with a matinee before their first off-day of the season Monday. Lefty Robbie Ray gets his second start of the season. He gave up a pair of runs over 5 innings in his first start of the season. The Royals will counter with righty Brady Singer.