|Teoscar Hernandez drove in 4 runs and scored 3 in a 10-9 bome-from-behind loss to the Mariners|
After a nightmare opening to the 2022 WV series against their expansion cousins Seattle Mariners where the offense produced almost no opportunties and the Mariners built a commanding three-run lead off ace Alek Manoah, the Blue Jays were looking to save their season against former Blue Jays ace Robbie Ray, who was primarily allowed to walk in free agency last winter because he is unvaccinated against COVID-19. Ray won the Cy Young in 2021 with the Blue Jays and had a record of 14-8 with a 3.03ERA in 37 games (36 starts) in a Blue Jays uniform over a season and a half (the 2020 campaign was an abbreviated 60 game, 2 month sprint due to COVID). Against the Blue Jays, Ray is 1-1 with a 3.50ERA in three career starts. Kevin Gauman got the start with Danny Jansen behind the plate. Santiago Espinal was back in the lineup at 2B after missing the last 2 and a half weeks with an oblique strain. Whit Merrifield was in LF with the Blue Jays opting for an all right-hand batting lineup against lefty Ray. Alejandro Kirk was the DH. Could the Blue Jays even the series and extend their season? Here is today's game recap.
- The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the bottom of the 2nd as Teoscar Hernandez hammered a 2-run bomb to left-center; also scoring Alejandro Kirk
- The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 3rd as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled scoring Santiago Espinal
- The Blue Jays added a run in the bottom of the 4th as Hernandez drilled a solo bomb to dead center
- Robbie Ray pitching line: 3IP 6H 4R (all earned) 0BB 4K 56 pitches (38 for strikes)
- The Mariners got one back in the top of the 5th on a sac fly by Jarred Kelenic that scored Adam Frazier
- The Blue Jays added a run in the bottom half of the inning on a passed ball by Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh that scored Santiago Espinal
- Two batters later, Bo Bichette was forced in on a hit by pitch to Hernandez
- A batter later, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. scored on a sac fly by Matt Chapman
- A batter after that, Danny Jansen doubled scoring Kirk
- The Mariners got one back in the top of the 6th on a wild pitch by Tim Mayza that scored Ty France
- Same batter, Carlos Santana bashed a 3-run blast to left-center; also scoring Eugenio Suarez and Cal Raleigh
- Kevin Gausman pitching line: 5.2IP 5H 4R (all earned) 1BB 7K 95 pitches (63 for strikes)
- The Blue Jays added a run in the bottom of the 7th as Jansen singled home Hernandez
- The Mariners got one back in the top of the 8th as Raleigh singled scoring Suarez
- Five batters later, JP Crawford doubled scoring Raleigh, Mitch Hanigar and Adam Frazier
- The Mariners took the lead in the top of the 9th as Frazier doubled scoring Raleigh
- George Kirby pitched a scoreless 9th for his 1st save of the playoffs
- Final score: Mariners 10 Blue Jays 9
- Kevin Gausman battled through 5.2 innings. giving up 4 runs on 5 hits walking 1 and striking out 7. Three of the four runs came after he left the game with the bases loaded in the 6th inning (Tim Mayza uncorked a wild pitch and then gave up a 3-run jack). Gausman retired 10 in a row before giving up his first run manufactured off two hits and a sac fly. He left with the bases loaded in the 6th inning and 10 outs left to get, but all the relievers that got them to that point were available. The score was 8-1
- I repeat all the bullpen had to do was get 10 outs. Tim Mayza was up first and he threw a wild pitch on his first pitch of the game. Two pitches later, he was taken yard for 3 runs, two of which were charged to Gausman. After Yimi Garcia pitched a scoreless 7th. Anthony Bass started the 8th. All three batters he faced reached and one crossed the plate. The Blue Jays then turned to all-star closer Jordan Romano, who set the club record for consecutive saves. First batter Romano faced singled to load the bases and bring the go-ahead run to the plate. Romano struck out the next two batters. Then disaster struck when JP Crawford blooped a pop up into no-man's land in CF. George Springer and Bo Bichette collided and three runs scored to tie the game. Springer had to leave the game on the golf cart. The Mariners took the lead in the 9th on a pair of doubles. Face it, the Mariners bullpen was better than the Blue Jays bullpen and that was really the difference tonight.
- Offensively, the Blue Jays jumped all over the Mariners early, building a commanding 8-1 lead after 5 innings. They managed just one run in the last 4 innings and that cost them the season. It's been a big achilles heel all season that the Blue Jays could not drive in runs when it mattered. They had Bo Bichette at 3B with 2 outs in the 8th to retake the lead. The Blue Jays were 5-12 with runners in scoring position.
- It it past time to burn the home run jacket. You can bet that was a HUGE motivating factor for the Mariners watching the Blue Jays act like they won the world series
- It was a busy final night of the season for Blue Jays trainer Jose Minstral, who had to tend to Whit Merrifield (hit in the helmet. stayed in the game to run the bases but removed as a precaution to start the 6th inning), Bo Bichette and George Springer. Springer's injury appears to be the most serious of the three, but I'm sure Whit Merrifield will be evaluated for a concussion as well in the coming days. With the season over, the team has 6 months to heal up.
- Up next, the off-season. When baseball resumes in 6 months, fans will be returning to a vastly different stadium with phase one of the renovation project set to begin in the coming days weeks. There are lots of questions to answer about how this season ended and certainly the coaching staff and roster will be under review. Stay tuned Monday morning for my final random thoughts post of the 2022 season where I will look back on this season and ahead to the off-season.