Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Game #103 - Toronto Blue Jays (57-46) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (58-43) - game recap


Whit Merrifield scored twice and drove in 4 runs in an 8-1 rout over the Dodgers

After an ugly loss that saw the bullpen blow a 4- run 9th inning lead,  the Blue Jays were looking to end this west coast swing on a winning note while notching their 20th series win of the season and 11th season series win, the Blue Jays acquired infielder Mason Mccoy from the Mariners in exchange for reliever Trent Thornton.  McCoy is batting .234 with 11HR and 55RBI in 329AB over 87 games in AAA-ball. Thornton had a 1.69ERA in 4 appearances this season. Over 5 seasons as a Blue Jay,  Thornton was 7-14 with a 4.77 ERA in 108 appearances (35 starts). Yusei Kikuchi got the start with Danny Jansen back behind the plate after missing a couple of days after getting hit on his catching hand in Seattle. George Springer was back in the lineup and in RF after a complete day off yesterday. Daulton Varsho was in CF and Cavan Biggio was at 2B. Could the Blue Jays end the road trip with a win and get their 20th series win of the season and 11 season series win? Here is today's game recap. 

Game Highlights:

  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the top of the 1st on a sac fly double play by Whit Merrifield that scored Vladimir Guerrero Jr.  Matt Chapman was thrown out at 3rd on the play
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 3rd as Brandon Belt singled scoring Cavan Biggio
  • The Blue Jays added 3 runs in the top of the 5th as Merrifield drilled a 3-run blast to left-center; also scoring Bo Bichette and Guerrero Jr. 
  • Tony Gonsolin pitching line: 5IP 7H 5R (all earned) 3BB 5K 109 pitches (65 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 6th as Danny Jansen whacked a solo blast to left
  • The Dodgers got one back in the bottom half of the inning as James Outman singled scoring Chris Taylor
  • Yusei Kikuchi pitching line; 6IP 7H 1R (earned) 2BB 8K 103 pitches (67 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 8th as Bichette singled home Biggio.  George Springer was thrown out at 3rd on the play
  • Final score: Blue Jays 8 Dodgers 1

My Take:

  • Yusei Kikuchi threw 6 solid innings,  giving up a run on 7 hits while walking 2 and striking out 8. Unlike last start, when he was pulled after throwing just 78 pitches,  Kikuchi threw over a hundred pitches today and left it all on the field.  It was important to save the bullpen today, which had pitched a lot of innings the last 2 games. The Blue Jays have a huge stretch of 17 straight games after tomorrow's off day. It is likely you will see the team deploy a 6-man rotation with the uncertainty of how much Hyun-Jin Ryu will be able to contribute coming off Tommy John surgery and Alek Manoah still a work in progress. To me, Kikuchi has proven to be a more reliable pitcher this season after a disastrous 2022 season. He should be treated like the other starters in the rotation and be given the opportunity to at least start that extra inning when he is rolling as he has been the last two starts. 
  • The bullpen was solid today in a less stressful situation after the Blue Jays finally provided some run support, giving up a hit and a walk (both in the 7th inning by Jay Jackson) while striking out 4 in the last 3 innings. It's great that the Blue Jays were able to acquire a second lefty for the bullpen.  As reliable as Tim Mayza has been,  the Blue Jays need to be a bit careful with his workload since he had Tommy John surgery a couple of seasons ago. Also, it will allow the team to have more favorable match ups later in the game whereas before, opposing managers could pinch hit left handed batters or switch hitters knowing they would likely be facing a righty. 
  • Offensively,  Whit Merrifield (2 runs scored, 4 RBI), Bo Bichette (1 run scored, 2 RBI), Vlad and Cavan Biggio (2 runs scored each) did the damage. Danny Jansen also contributed a solo jack. 
  • Every Blue Jays starter reached base at least once and all but George Springer and Daulton Varsho had at least one hit 
  • The score could have been even more lopsided if Matt Chapman and George Springer not run into the final out of the 1st and 8th innings respectively. Luis Rivera could be replaced in the off-season. These outs on the base paths happen way too often
  • Up next, after an off day tomorrow, the Blue Jays open a homestand and wrap up this two week stretch of games against west coast teams. It will also be the first of a stretch of 17 games in 17 days. It could be the last time Shohei Ohtano and possibly Mike Trout come to Toronto in Angels uniforms. The Blue Jays took 2 of 3 from the Angels way back in April, but the Angels outscored the Blue Jays 23-21. Kevin Gausman starts against Angels righty Chase Silset