After a rain out yesterday, the Blue Jays wrapped up regular season play with a double header in Baltimore. Casey Lawrence was called up as the 29th man. Trent Thornton was recalled for the 2nd game and Mitch White was optioned to AAA-ball. The Blue Jays went with bullpen games for both games to save their starters for the playoffs with Trevor Richards starting the 1st game and David Phelps starting the 2nd game. George Springer got the day off in both games with Bradley Zimmer starting in CF both games. Gabriel Moreno was behind the plate in the 1st game and in LF the 2nd game (Raimel Tapia was in LF the 1st game). Danny Jansen DH'd in the 1st game and was behind the plate in the 2nd game. Vlad was at 1B in game 1 and Cavan Biggio was at 1B in the 2nd game (Biggio was at the hot corner in the 1st game. Matt Chapman started the 2nd game at the hot corner). Joel Otto got his first career big league start at SS with Bo Bichette getting the 1st game off (Bichette was back at SS in the 2nd game. Otto was at 2B in the 2nd game. Whit Merrifield was at 2B in the 1st game). Finally, Jackie Braley Jr. started both games in RF. Also, Teo DH'd in the 2nd game. Could the Blue Jays sweep the last 2 games of the season and earn their 7th sweep of the season? Here is/are today's game recap(s)
Game Highlights (1st game):
- Trevor Richards pitching line: 1IP 1H 0R 0BB 0K 14 pitches (9 for strikes)
- The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the top of the 2nd as Otto Lopez singled scoring Gabriel Moreno. It was Lopez's 1st career RBI.
- The Blue Jays added three runs in the top of the 6th as Moreno bashed a 3-run blast to the opposite field in right-center; also scoring Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio
- The Orioles got a pair back in the bottom half of the inning as Austin Hays doubled scoring Anthony Santander and Gunnar Henderson
- Mike Baumann pitching line: 5.1IP 9H 4R (all earned) 1BB 4K 84 pitches (52 for strikes)
- The Orioles took the lead in the bottom of the 8th as Terrin Vavra hammered a 3-run bomb to right; also scoring Santander and Henderson. It was Vavra's 1st career HR.
- Bryan Baker pitched a scoreless 9th for his 1st save of the season. It was also Baker's 1st career save
- Final score: Orioles 5 Blue Jays 4
My Take (1st game):
- It was a bullpen day in both games as the Blue Jays were just trying to get through the day injury free and sharp heading into the WC round starting in less than 48 hours. Trevor Richards did his job pitching a scoreless inning and allowing just one hit. Richards finished the year with a 3-2 record and a 5.34ERA in 62 appearances. He could be an option for a bullpen spot on the playoff roster
- It's interesting to see how the Blue Jays managed the bullpen in both games, electing to give the key relievers (Adam Cimber, Yimi Garcia and Jordan Romano in the 1st game and Anthony Bass and Tim Mayza in the 2nd game) one inning each as a final tuneup but using them in the early innings so they didn't have to deal with the stress they typically would when they play in their regular roles. Mitch White got mop up duty in the 1st game, pitching the final 4 innings. White was reassigned prior to the 2nd game and thus will not be available for the playoffs unless an injury occurs.
- There were several firsts in this game:
- Otto Lopez got his first career start and his first RBI
- Gabriel Moreno hit his first career HR and made his first career start in LF (every other game has seen him at catcher, his natural position)
- Terrin Vavra hit his first career HR
- Bryan Baker notched his first career save
- Every Blue Jays starter except Bradley Zimmer had a hit
- Up next, the second game of the double header and the regular season finale. David Phelps starts against Orioles righty Spenser Watkins
Game Highlights (2nd game):
- The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the top of the 1st on a fielder's choice hit by Danny Jansen that scored Bo Bichette
- David Phelps pitching line: 1IP 1H 0R 0BB 0K 14 pitches (7 for strikes)
- Spenser Watkins pitching line: 3.1IP 2H 1R (earned) 2BB 3K 55 pitches (34 for strikes)
- The Orioles tied the game in the bottom of the 6th as Kyle Stowers doubled scoring Jesus Aguilar
- The Blue Jays retook the lead in the top of the 7th as Otto Lopez singled scoring Gabriel Moreno and Bradley Zimmer
- The Blue Jays added a pair of runs in the top of the 8th as Zimmer singled home Moreno and Cavan Biggio
- Final score: Blue Jays 5 Orioles 1
My Take (2nd game):
- David Phelps started the 2nd game (perhaps partially due to the Blue Jays wanting the key bullpen members to pitch early and partially due to Phelp's previous experience as a starter
- After Phelps, Bass and Mayza got their final tuneup in, Casey Lawrence, Yusei Kikuchi and Trent Thornton threw the final 6 innings. None of the latter three is expected to be on the playoff roster, although Kikuchi could be added as a second lefty. Kikuchi, who was credited with the win in the regular season finale, has not allowed a run in his final 5 appearances.
- Unlikely heroes did the damage offensively in the 2nd game. Bradley Zimmer knocked in a run and drove in a pair. Otto Lopez drove in a pair.
- Up next, the first game of the WC series Friday in Toronto vs. the Mariners, who won the season series 5-2 outscoring the Blue Jays 28-21. However, the Blue Jays won the series in Toronto and the disastrous sweep in Seattle came in very extenuating circumstances with the team still grieving and in shock over the sudden death in a tubing accident of Julia Budzinsky, daughter of Blue Jays 1st base coach Mark Budzinaky. Also, it was at the end of the Charlie Montoyo managerial era. Alek Manoah starts game 1 against Mariners righty Luis Castillo