Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Game #48 - Toronto Blue Jays (25-23) @ Tampa Bay Rays (35-14) - game recap


Whit Merrifield hit a 2-run HR in a 6-4 loss to the Rays

After another disappointing extra innings loss to end a dreadful week where the Blue Jays lost five of seven to division rivals the Yankees and Orioles, they hit the road for a week long trip, beginning with four that began tonight against another division rival, the Tampa Bay Rays. The Blue Jays won two of three against the Rays back in Toronto a month ago, but the Rays outscored the Blue Jays 13-12, thanks to an 8-1 blowout in the series finale after a pair of close one-run contests. Santiago Espinal was placed on the 10-day IL with a strained hamstring and Otto Lopez was recalled from AAA-ball. Chris Bassitt got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Daulton Varsho was in LF. Danny Jansen served as DH. Could the Blue Jays snap the 4-game skid? Here is tonight's game recap.

Gand Highlights:

  • The Rays opened the scoring in the top of the 2nd as Christian Betancourt singled scoring Randy Arozarena
  • A batter later, Jose Siri hammered a 2-run bomb to dead center; also scoring Betancourt 
  • Trevor Kelley pitching line: 2IP 2H 0R 0BB 0K 30 pitches (21 for strikes)
  • The Rays added a run in the bottom of the 3rd as Isaac Paredes singled scoring Yandy Diaz
  • The Blue Jays got a pair back in the top of the 4th as Whit Merrifield hammered a 2-run bomb to straightaway center; also scoring Matt Chapman
  • The Rays added a run in the bottom of the 6th as Arozarena bashed an opposite field solo blast to right
  • The Rays added a run in the bottom of the 7th as Lucas Raley drilled a solo jack to right
  • Chris Bassitt pitching line: 6.1IP 7H 6R (2 earned) 1BB 4K 94 pitches (65 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the top of the 9th as Daulton Varsho hammered a solo bomb to dead center 
  • Four batters later, Brandon Belt singled scoring Alejandro Kirk 
  • Pete Fairbanks got the last two outs for his 5th save of the season.
  • Final score: Rays 6 Blue Jays 4

My Take:

  • This was a weird start for Chris Bassitt, who gave up 6 runs on 7 hits while walking 1 and striking out 4. Thanks to a couple of errors by Vlad, only 2 of those runs were earned. Bassitt gave up three long balls, so really he was unable to be the stopper the Blue Jays needed and got with Kevin Gausman yesterday. At this point, it might take a near perfect game from a starting pitcher to turn things around.
  • The bullpen allowed a walk while striking out 4 over the final 1.2 innings. The shutdown innings were important tonight because it kept the score reasonably close for a rally chance
  • Unfortunately the rally fell short when Bo Bichette grounded out softly back to the pitcher. Hopefully the rally leads to some momentum at the beginning of tomorrow's game
  • It is unlikely it will be manager John Schneider who will be the scapegoat if the Blue Jays can't turn things around pretty soon. However, Pete Walker or hitting coach Guillermo Martinez could be replaced midseason to send a message to the team
  • Up next, the Blue Jays try to snap the 5-game skid. Jose Berrios starts against Rays righty Taj Bradley