Thursday, May 25, 2023

Game #51 - Toronto Blue Jays (26-25) @ Tampa Bay Rays (37-15) - game recap


Alejandro Kirk was 3-4 and scored a run in a losing effort as the Rays came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 6-3

After another tough loss not helped by a late game bullpen meltdown, the Blue Jays were looking to leave Tampa Bay on a winning note and avoid their 7th series loss of the season. Alek Manoah got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate.  George Springer got the complete day off with Nathan Lukes in RF. Kevin Kiermaier was in CF and Daulton Varsho was in LF. Cavan Biggio was at 2B. Brandon Belt served as DH.  Could the Blue Jays leave Tampa Bay on a winning note and avoid their 7th series loss of the season?  Here is today's game recap. 

Game Highlights: 

  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the top of the 1st as Brandon Belt singled scoring Daulton Varsho 
  • The Rays tied it up in the bottom half of the inning as Randy Arozarena singled scoring Wander Franco
  • Two batters later, Arozarena scored on a fielder's choice hit by Harold Ramirez 
  • The Rays added a run in the bottom of the 2nd as Josh Lowe doubled scoring Luke Raley 
  • The Rays added a run in the bottom of the 3rd as Taylor Walls scored on a double steal and throwing error charged to Alejandro Kirk
  • Same batter, Raley scored on a groundout hit by Manuel Margot
  • Alek Manoah pitching line: 3IP 3H 5R (4 earned) 5BB 6K 87 pitches (44 for strikes)
  • The Rays added a run in the bottom of the 7th as Arozarena singled home Franco
  • Zach Eflin pitching line: 7IP 6H 1R (earned) 2BB 0K 94 pitches (59 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the top of the 9th as Kirk was forced in on a bases loaded walk to Bo Bichette 
  • A batter later,  Kevin Kiermaier scored on a sac fly by Ernie Clement
  • Colin Poche got the last 2 outs for his 1st save of the season 
  • Final score: Rays 6 Blue Jays 3

My Take:

  • Another rough start from Alek Manoah, who gave up 5 runs (4 earned) on 3 hits while walking 5 and striking out 6. Manoah's season is very much resembling that of last year's opening day starter, Jose Berrios, who also struggled mightily. Berrios showed more flashes of his good pitching though. The issue is now beyond Manoah and catcher Alejandro Kirk not being on the same page due to Kirk missing most of spring training in Mexico awaiting the birth of his fiirst child. You almost hope that Manoah is trying to play through an injury that is affecting his delivery and pitching. Surely a trip to the 10-day IL or perhaps a demotion to Buffalo is on the horizon. Manoah needs a reset on the season. A demotion wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Heck, Roy Halladay went all the way back to A-level ball to sort himself out. The Blue Jays need to do something before the season gets away on them.
  • The bullpen held the Rays to a run on 2 hits while walking none and striking out 5 over 5 innings. Trevor Richards was excellent, retiring nine straight and striking out 3. Tim Mayza was also solid, throwing 1 perfect inning and striking out 2.
  • The offense gave the Blue Jays an early first inning lead and had a big rally in the 9th that fell short. In between those innings? Four singles, 2 walks and a batter reached on an error. Nobody advanced past 1st base between the 1st and 9th innings. You will not win many ball games with that kind of production.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays head to Minnesota to take on the Twins. The Twins won the season series last year 4-3, but the Blue Jays outscored the Twins 41-38. Kevin Gausman starts against Twins righty Louie Varland