Saturday, August 14, 2021

Game #115 Toronto Blue Jays (62-53) @ Seattle Mariners (62-55) - game recap


Robbie Ray threw seven strong innings, but got the no-decision in a 3-2 walk-off loss to the Mariners

After winning three of four in LA, the Blue Jays moved onto Seattle. This was going to be an interesting series in that typically it would feel more like a home game on the road with fans typically making the trip down the I-5. However, with the border still closed on the US side to non-essential travel (Canada opened up its side for non-essential travel if double-vaxxed on Monday), there was likely to be a bigger ratio of Mariners fans this time around. Of course, these two teams did not meet in 2020 with the MLB essentially creating three divisions with the NL east facing AL East, the NL Central facing the AL Central and the AL West facing the NL West. The Mariners took 2 of 3 in Buffalo and outscored the Blue Jays 19-18. Robbie Ray got the start. Alejandro Kirk was behind the plate. Vlad got the half day off as DH with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. at 1B. Bo Bichette was back in the lineup after missing a couple of days with soreness. Corey Dickerson was out after leaving last night's game with lower back stiffness, meaning Teoscar Hernandez was in LF, Springer back in CF after DH'ing last night and Randal Grichuk got the start in RF. Could the Blue Jays make it four wins in a row? Here is tonight's game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Matiners opened the scoring in the bottom of the 3rd as Tom Murphy drilled a 2-run bomb to left; also scoring Jarred Helenic
  • The Blue Jays tied the game in the top of the 3rd as Lourdes Gurriel Jr. singled Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette 
  • Chris Flexen pitching line: 6IP 6H 2R (both earned) 1BB 3K 73 pitches (46 for strikes)
  • Robbie Ray pitching line: 7IP 5H 2R (both earned) 1BB 8K 90 pitches (64 for strikes)7
  • The Mariners walked it off in the 9th on a bases loaded walk to Kelenic that forced in Kyle Seagar
  • Final score: Mariners 3 Blue Jays 2

My Take:

  • Robbie Ray was excellent tonight, other than a mistake pitch in the 3rd that cost him the 2 runs he allowed. Other than that, he threw an efficient 90 pitches over 7 innings and probably could have gone one more inning, but with the smoke and heat, it was best to call it a day. Ray retired the first six batters he faced, as well as the final 4. It's impressive what Pete Walker has done with him since he joined the team at the trade deadline in 2020.
  • Let's address tonight's management of the bullpen. It was fine. Trevor Richards threw a perfect 8th and struck out one. Charlie Montoyo had basically 2 options for the 9th: Jordan Romano and Adam Cimber. Both have been lights out this season and I think most Blue Jays armchair managers would have been fine with either option. Cimber had a rough outing, loading the bases on a pair of walks and a questionable infield single that should have been interference (I'll get to the horrible umpiring in a moment). Brad Hand was brought in for the lefty-lefty matchup. Hand got 3 outs with 6 pitches just yesterday. Also, consider that Tim Mayza is on the IL. The other options were rookies Taylor Saucedo and Kirby Snead. 
  • Let's talk about the umpires robbing the Blue Jays of a victory. Breyvic Valera should have been called safe. He clearly touched the front of home plate before Mariners catcher Tom Murphy swipe-tagged him. Then in the bottom half of the inming, interference was not called on Abraham Toro, who prevented Marcus Semien from making a play he would have made that would have sent the game into extra innings. 
  • Umpiring aside, the Blue Jays haven't been creating enough scoring chances. We're in a critical point of the season where the Blue Jays need to win these winnable games against weaker teams. You're not going to hit home runs every night, small ball needs to be in play too (yes bunting and hit and runs). 
  • In terms of the wild card race, the loss means the Blue Jays missed an opportunity to gain a game on the A's, who lost and fell back a game on the Red Sox and Rays, who both won.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays try to even the weekend series. It will be a battle of the lefties as ace Hyun-Jin Ryu pitches against Mariners lefty Yusei Kikuchi