Sunday, May 7, 2023

Game #35 - Toronto Blue Jays (21-14) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (20-15) - game recap


Whit Merrifield was 2-5 with 4RBI and a run scored in a 10-1 rout over the Pirates

After blowing out the Pirates yesterday on the backs of strong offensive games throughout the lineup and an excellent 6.1 inning effort from Jose Berrios, the Blue Jays were going for their third straight win and 2nd series sweep of the season and first season series sweep as well. Yusei Kikuchi got the start with Danny Jansen behind the plate. Vlad remained out of the lineup with a sore wrist and Brandon Belt took his spot at 1B. Bo Bichette got the half day off as DH with Santiago Espinal at SS. Could the Blue Jays extend the win streak to 3 games and complete their 3rd sweep of the season? Here is today's game recap.  

Game Highlights:

  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the top at the 1st as Whit Merrifield singled scoring Bo Bichette
  • The Blue Jays added three runs in the top of the third as Merrifield hammered a 3-run bomb to left; also scoring Matt Chapman and Brandon Belt
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 5th n a ground out by Danny Jansen that scored Chapman 
  • Roansy Contreras pitching line: 5IP 9H 5R (all earned) 3BB 4K 94 pitches (64 for strikes )
  • Yusei Kikuchi pitching line: 6.1IP 4H 0R 2BB 3K 93 pitches (58 for strikes)
  • The pirates got one back in the bottom of the eighth as Carlos Santana singled scoring Ke'Bryan Hayes
  • The Blue Jays added a pair of runs in the top of the 9th as Daulton Varsho annihilated a 2-run bomb to right and out of PNC Park and into the Allegheny river; also scoring Bichette 
  • Four batters later, Jansen doubled home Belt
  • A batter after that, Kevin Kiermaier smashed a two run blast to right; also scoring Jansen 
  • Final score: Blue Jays 10 Pirates 1
My Take 

  • Yusei Kikuchi had another strong start, throwing 6.1 shutout innings, Scattering 4 hits, while walking two and striking out three. After walking the 1st better he faced, Kikuchi retired 15 of the next 17 batters he faced. There is no question that Kikuchi is a completely different pitcher than the one last season who pitched so poorly that he was out of the rotation by the all-star break and was used only in low leverage situations for a time out of the bullpen. Hopefully he can keep rolling along.
  • The bullpen had mixed results today. Yimi Garcia retired the first two batters he faced to end the 7th inning, but then he proceeded to load the bases in the 8th inning. Closer Jordan Romano came in and retired two batters to escape that jam. After the Blue Jays doubled their score in the 9th inning, Nate Pearson came in and had a relatively easy inning, allowing just one hit.
  • Offensively, it was the Whit Merrifield show early on. The Blue Jays utility man was responsible for the 1st 4 runs, hitting an RBI single in the 1st inning and smashing a 3-run home run in the 3rd inning. They also turned this game into a laugher in the 9th with 5 runs courtesy of two 2-run home runs and an RBI double from Jansen.
  • Every Blue Jays starter accept Santiago Espinal and George Springer had at least one hit and scored at least 1 run
  • The Blue Jays were 4-13 with runners in scoring position.
  • Up next, After an off day tomorrow, the Blue Jays begin a mini two game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2022, the Blue Jays won the season series against Philadelphia 3-1, outscoring the Phillies 33-20. On Tuesday, it will be a battle of the aces with Alek Manoah pitching against Phillies righty Aaron Nola