Sunday, September 3, 2023

Game #136 - Toronto Blue Jays (74-62) @ Coloraddo Rockies (50-85) - game recap


George Springer scored twice in a losing effort as the Rockies came from behind to edge the Blue Jays 8-7

After a huge win where the Blue Jays finally gained a game in the wild card standings with every team around them losing yesterday, the Blue Jays were looking to extend the win streak to 3 games, notch their 25th series win and 14th season series win of the season. Danny Jansen was placed on the 10 day IL with a right middle finger fracture and Tyler Heineman was recalled from AAA-ball. Yusei Kikuchi got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Santiago Espinal was at the hot corner and Davis Schneider served as DH. Could the Blue Jays make it three straight wins and notch their 25th series win and 14th season series win of the season? Here is tonight's game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the top of the 1st as Whit Merrifield singled scoring George Springer
  • Three batters later, Daulton Varsho singled home Merrifield 
  • A batter later, Santiago Espinal singled scoring Alejandro Kirk and Ernie Clement
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 2nd as Kevin Kiermaier hammered a solo bomb to dead center 
  • The Rockies got a pair back in the bottom of the 2nd as Charlie Blackmon singled scoring Nolan Jones and Sean Bouchard
  • The Rockies got a pair back in the bottom of the 4th as Ezequiel Tovar doubled scoring Bouchard and Elehuris Montero
  • The Rockies took the lead in the bottom of the 5th as Brenton Doyle tripled scoring Brendan Rodgers, Bouchard and Montero
  • A batter later, Blackmon singled home Doyle
  • Yusei Kikuchi pitching line: 4.2IP 6H 6R (2 earned) 4BB 6K 100 pitches (54 for strikes)
  • Ty Blach pitching line: 6IP 9H 5R (all earned) 3BB 2K 93 pitches (56 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the top of the 9th as Davis Schneider tripled scoring Springer
  • Three batters later, Schneider scored on a wild pitch by Justin Lawrence
  • Tyler Kinley got the final out for his 1st save of the season.
  • Final score: Rockies 8 Blue Jays 7

My Take:

  • Yusei Kikuchi had a rough night, giving up 6 runs (just 2 earned thanks to errors in the 2nd and 4th inning) on 6 hits while walking 4 and striking out 6. To be fair, Kikuchi did not get much help from the defense behind him (hence the 4 unearned runs). At the same time, he was not sharp. One wonders if part of the issue was that his regular catcher Danny Jansen was unavailable and very likely won't be back until 2024 after fracturing his middle finger last night. Tonight's start felt a bit like a typical start last season - lots of pitches thrown and lack of command. At least he kept the ball in the ballpark.
  • The bullpen gave up essentially 4 runs (2 of which were charged to Kikuchi) on 5 hits while walking 2 and striking out 4 over the last 3.2 innings. Yimi Garcia came in with runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs. After Garcia walked the first batter he faced, he gave up a bases clearing double, and an RBI doubl to give the Rockies a lead they barely hung on to in the end due to some wildness from their closer. None of the relievers were able to retire every batter they faced, but they did hold the deficit to 3 runs.
  • Offensively, the Blue Jays jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one inning. Amazingly all the damage was done with 2 outs after Vlad grounded into a double play (Guerrero Jr. later grounded into an inning ending DP with the bases loaded. After the double play, the Blue Jays strung together 5 straight hits and four runs. The Blue Jays were unable to score after the 2nd inning until the 9th inning when they were fortunate to face a very wild pitcher who was struggling to throw strikes and missing badly. Callup Spencer Horwitz struck out swinging to end the game.
  • The rookies are definitely turning heads and definitely giving management a good first impression. Dave Schneider started the 9th inning rally with an RBI triple (his first career triple) Ernie Clement was 1-3 with a run scored (although his 2 fielding errors extended innings that should have been over and led to 4 unearned runs). The future looks bright.
  • The Blue Jays were 4-10 with runners in scoring position
  • In terms of the WC race, the Blue Jays received help with the Rangers (that 4-game series in Toronto in a couple of weeks is looking larger by the day), Astros and Rays all losing, so the Blue Jays remain 1.5 games back of the final WC spot. However, the Red Sox won their game and move to 4 games back of the Blue Jays (the Red Sox and Blue Jays also play three in Toronto in 2 weeks time). The Mariners, like the Blue Jays, survived a late game scare to go a game up on the Astros for top spot in the AL West.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays go for their 25th series win and 14th season series win. Ace Kevin Gausman starts for the Blue Jays. The Rockies have not named a starter for the rubber match,