Friday, September 8, 2023

Game #141 - Kansas City Royals (44-98) @ Toronto Blue Jays (78-63) - game recap


Bo Bichette drove in a pair and scored once in a 5-4 win over the Royals 

After an off-day yesterday, the Blue Jays begin a crucial homestand that will feature 7 games (4 against the Texas Rangers and 3 vs. the Red Sox) that will go a long way to determining the fate of the Blue Jays season. But first, they start with the Kansas City Royals, who were the Blue Jays first series win of the season. The Blue Jays won 3 of 4 against the Royals, outscoring the Royals 18-13. Bo Bichette was reinstate from the 10 day IL and got the start at SS. Mason Mccoy was optioned back to AAA- ball. Yusei Kikuchi got the start with Alejandro kirk behind the plate. George Springer was back in the field after DH'ing the last 2 games (Davis Schneider served as DH tonight). Kevin Kiermaier was in CF and Daulton Varsho was in LF. Cavan Biggio was at the hot corner. Whit Merrifield got the start at 2B. Could the Blue Jays start the weekend with a win and notch their 15th season series win of the season? Here is tonight's game recap, 

Game Highlights:

  • Colin Snider pitching line: 2IP 1H 0R 1BB 1K 20 pitches (13 for strikes)
  • The Royals opened the scoring in the top of the 3rd as Dairon Blanco whacked a solo blast to left and into the Blue Jays bullpen
  • Yusei Kikuchi pitching line: 5IP 3H 1R (earned) 1BB 8K 88 pitches (62 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays tied the game in the bottom of the 6th as Bo Bichette doubled scoring Kevin Kiermaier 
  • The Royals retook the lead in the top of the 7th as Nick Loftin tripled scoring Freddy Fermin
  • The Blue Jays tied it up in the bottom half of the inning as Bichette singled scoring Tyler Heineman
  • A batter later, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doubled home Bichette and George Springer 
  • Two batters later, Ernie Clement singled scoring Guerrero Jr.
  • The Royals got one back in the top of the 8th on a fielder's choice hit by Edward Olivares that scored Bobby Witt Jr.
  • The Royals got one back in the top of the 9th as Salvador Perez singled scoring Kyle Isbel
  • Jordan Romano got the last 4 outs for his 33rd save of the season
  • Final score: Blue Jays 5 Royals 4

My Take:

  • Yusei Kikuchi fired 5 innings, giving up a run on 3 hits while walking 1 and striking out 8. John Schneider continues to just not trust Yusei Kikuchi, and quite frankly, Kikuchi has more than earned the trust to go an extra inning. Other than a mistake that went over the wall in left, Kikuchi was near flawless and did not have any particularly taxing injuries. I have no issues with having a pitcher warming up if Kikuchi is pushing 90 pitches as he was after 5 innings, but let the man start the 6th inning.
  • The bullpen gave up 3 runs on 3 hits while walking 4 and striking out 5 over the last 4 innings. The Royals chipped away at the lead and narrowly missed tying the game or taking the lead, but Kevin Kiermaier came up with a solid running catch.. By the way, Jordan Romano was coming awful close to a balk that would have put runners on 2nd and 3rd.
  • Offensively, Bo Bichette instantly impacted the game on his return from the IL, driving in 2 and scoring once. He tied the game twice with clutch hits. Vlad, struggling virtually the whole season, came up huge in the 8th with a 2-run RBI double. He also scored the 5th and final run that turned out to be the game-winning run on a clutch hit by Ernie Clement.
  • Clement and Schneider are forcing management's off-season decision. Their play may mean the Blue Jays are content to let Whit Merrifield leave in free agency this winter and perhaps Matt Chapman.
  • The Blue Jays were 4-13 with runners in scoring position
  • Here's hoping the injury to Royals pitcher Austin Cox, who was hit by a comebacker and collapsed to the ground while running to try and cover 1st base. At first glance, the injury appears to be a potential ACL tear or an achilles tendon rupture. Hopefully it's neither and merely a bone bruise from the comebacker. Scary to watch nonetheless.
  • In terms of the wild card race, the Rangers, Red Sox, Astros and Mariners all lost, meaning the Blue Jays gained a crucial game on all three. The best case scenario would see the Blue Jays sweep the Royals and the Rangers be swept by the A's. This would mean the Blue Jays would be up 3.5 games on the Rangers for the final wild card spot and would be facing a slumping Rangers team that would have lost 6 straight. The race is really between the Blue Jays, Rangers and Astros/Mariners vying for the last 2 WC spots. One of the Astros, Rangers and Mariners will be crowned AL West Champ. The Astros are up a game on the Mariners for the AL west title.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays go for their 27th series win of the season and 2nd straight win. Ace Kevin Gausman starts against Royals righty James MacArthur