Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Game #121 - Philadelphia Phillies (65-55) @ Toronto Blue Jays (67-54) - game recap


Whit Merrifield scored twice in a 2-1 come-from-behind win over the Phillies

After an off-day yesterday, the Blue Jays opened up a mini 2-game set against the Phillies, whe swept the Blue Jays in the two games in Philadelphia three months ago, outscoring the Blue Jays 10-5. Yusei Kikuchi got the start with Danny Jansen behind the plate. Jordan Romano was reinstated from the 15-day IL and Nate Pearson was optioned back to AAA-ball. Yusei Kikuchi got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Vlad was back in the field after DH'ing Sunday (Brandon Belt served as DH today. Could the Blue Jays make it two straight wins and avoid their 6th season series loss? Here is tonight's game recap. 

Game Highlights:

  • The Phillies opened the scoring in the top of the 7th as Johan Rojas doubled scoring Edmundo Sosa
  • The Blue jays tied the game in the bottom half of the inning as George Springer singled scoring Whit Merrifield
  • Yusei Kikuchi pitching line: 6IP 4H 1R (earned) 0BB 7K 84 pitches (58 for strikes)
  • Zack Wheeler pitching line: 7IP 3H 1R (earned) 4BB 5K 107 pitches (69 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays took the lead in the bottom of the 8th on a bases loaded hit by pitch to cavan Biggio that forced in Merrifield
  • Jordan Romano pitched a perfect 9th for his 29th save of the season
  • Final score: Blue Jays 2 Phillies 1

My Take:

  • Once again, John Schneider wielded a quick hook, pulling Yusei Kikuchi,  who was dealing again today, throwing 6 shutout innings, allowing a run on 4 hits, walking none, striking out 7. He retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced. I would have left him start the 7th inning but had Yimi Garcia or Tim Mayza warming up in case Kikuchi got in trouble. 
  • The bullpen did its job,  allowing just a walk and striking out 6 over the last 3 innings. The Blue Jays are pretty close to their optimal bullpen. Jordan Romano made his return after missing a couple of weeks with a lower back strain. Chad Green is very close to making his Blue Jays debut and making a comeback from Tommy John surgery. His debut is pushed back a bit after he was hit in the head by a throw to second base during a rehab appearance. Trevor Richards began a rehab appearance as he records from neck inflammation. The Blue jays will have to move some pitchers to make room for Green and Richards. With Yimi Garcia pitching better recently,  who will be optioned or DFA'd. It is a good problem for the Blue Jays to have. Bowden Francis and Garcia will likely be the odd men out. 
  • Offense continues to be a struggle. To be fair, the team is missing its best hitter (Bo Bichette) who is on a brief rehab stint from a knee injury with the hope he returns Friday in Cincinnati. It took a hit by pitch with the bases loaded to take the lead.  Hitting with runners in scoring position has be a huge Achilles heel all season. This offense is still very much all or nothing. The trades of Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. took a lot of pop out of the lineup. It's very telling that no Blue Jay has hit the 20HR mark. Vlad is not looking close to his career 2021 year where he led the league with 48 HR. Tonight, he grounded into a double play. Just prior to the bases loaded hit by pitch, Springer grounded into a fielder's choice with Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm throwing out Nathan Lukes at home. 
  • Up next, the Blue Jays try to extend the win streak to 3 games and complete their 7th series sweep of the season. Kevin Gausman starts against Phillies righty Aaron Nola.