Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Game #151 - Toronto Blue Jays (84-65) @ New York Yankees (76-75) - game recap


Bo Bichette scored twice and drove in a pair of runs, including a 2-run HR in a 7-1 victory over the Yankees

After an off-day yesterday, the Blue Jays began their final road trip of the season at Yankee Stadium. The Blue Jays are a solid 42-33 on the road. The Yankees have won 4 of the first 7 games of the season series with the Blue Jays outscoring the Yankees 25-22. Yusei Kikuchi got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. George Springer was back in the field after DH'ing Sunday. Vlad got the half day off as DH with Cavan Biggio at 1B. Could the Blue Jays extend the win streak to 4 games? Here is tonight's game recap. 

Game Highlights:

  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the top of the 1st as George Springer led off the game with a solo jack too the opposite field in right. 
  • The Yankees tied it up in the bottom half of the inning as Gleyber Torres doubled scoring Aaron Judge
  • The Blue Jays took the lead in the top of the 4th as Cavan Biggio singled scoring Bo Bichette 
  • The Blue Jays added a pair of runs in the top of the 5th as Bichette whacked a 2-run blast to the opposite field in right-center; also scoring Springer 
  • Clarke Schmidt pitching line: 5IP 4H 4R (all earned) 2BB 1K 91 pitches (52 for strikes)
  • Yusei Kikuchi pitching line: 5IP 4H 1R (earned) 1BB 7K 82 pitches (50 for strikes. Left injured)
  • The Blue Jays added a pair of runs in the top of the 9th as Alejandro Kirk mashed a 2-run jack to left-center; also scoring Matt Chapman
  • Four batters later, Kevin Kiermaier scored on a fielding error by Yankees SS Anthony Volpe on a ball hit by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
  • Final score: Blue Jaus 7 Yankees 1

My Take:

  • What an unfortunate potential end to the season for Yusei Kikuchi, who had to leave the game after his left upper left trapezius muscle cramped up in the 6th inning. Could this be the result of manager John Schneider constantly pulling Kikuchi (and Hyun-Jin Ryu) after five innings/~80 pitches? When Kikuchi got hurt, he had just thrown his 82nd pitch of the game. It's a shame because Kikuchi was dealing tonight, allowing a run on 4 hits while walking 1 and striking out 7. He is a completely differrent pitcher from 2022 with a revamped delivery that has added deception to his game. Don't be surprised if the Blue Jays opt to shut Kikuchi down for the remainder of the regular season in the hopes he is healthy for a potential WC start (he would only have 1 or 2 starts left anyway with just 11 games left in the regular season after tonight's win). Kikuchi now has a single season career high 10 wins.
  • The bullpen threw 4 shutout innings, allowing 2 hits, walking none and striking out 5. It was nice to see Trevor Richard throw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. He has been struggling since he came off the IL a couple of weeks - perhaps rushed back?
  • Offensively, the three 2019 graduates from the minor leagues (Vlad, Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette) did the damage, combining for 2 runs and 3 RBI. Vlad forced an error on a hard hit ball that led to the Blue Jays final run of the day. George Springer hit his 57th career leadoff HR, (he is 2nd in MLB history behind Rickey Henderson who had 81 leadoff HR)
  • Every Blue Jays starter except Vlad reached base at least once and all but Vlad and Davis Schneider had at least 1 hit.
  • The Blue Jays were 2-10 with runners in scoring position.
  • In terms of the WC race, the race is now between the Mariners, Astros and Rangers fighting for the AL West division title and the two losers of that race battling the Blue Jays for the last 2 wild card spots. It is almost certain to come down to the last weekend of the season with the Mariners controlling their own destiny due to playing 7x against the Rangers and 3x vs. the Astros to end the season. The Blue Jays have the tiebreaker vs. the Astros thanks to winning the season series. However, the Rangers (won season series) and the Mariners (better intradivisional record) hold the tiebreaker over the Blue Jays. The Rangers won tonight and moved to within a half game of the Astros for the AL west division title, who lost to the Orioles and are slumping at the wrong time. The Mariners were up 2-0 on the A's in the top of the 6th. If the Mariners hang on, they will be tied with the Rangers for the last WC spot, a game back of the Blue Jays for the 2nd WC spot. The Rangers have won 5 of the 6 games in the season series vs. the Mariners and would only need to win 2 of the 7 remaining games vs. the Mariners to clinch the season series and tiebreaker over the Mariners.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays try to extend the win streak to 5 games and notch their 29th series win of the season. Kevin Gausman starts against Yankees righty Michael King