Saturday, September 23, 2023

Game #155 - Toronto Blue Jays (86-69) @ Tampa Bay Rays (95-61) - game recap


George Springer drove in a pair and scored once in a losing effort as the Rays came from behind to walk off the Blue Jays 7-6

After a comeback win over the Rays the Blue Jays were going for their 2nd straight win and 29th series win of the season. Hyun-Jin Ryu got the start with Tyler Heineman behind the plate. Vlad was back in the field after DH'ing yesterday.  George Springer got the half of the day of as DH with Cavan Biggio in RF.  Kevin Kiermaier was in CF and Daulton Varsho was in LF. Davis Schneider got the start at 2B. Could the Blue Jays make it two straight wins and 29 series wins? Here is today's game recap. 

Game Highlights:

  • The Rays took the lead in the bottom of the 1st as Yandy Diaz whacked a solo blast to left-center
  •  Five batters later, Josh Lowe hammered a 3-runbomb to dead center: also scoring Harold Ramirez and Junior Caminero
  • The Rays added a run in the bottom of the 4th as Christian Betancourt whacked a solo jack just over the wall in left
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu pitching line: 4.1IP 7H 5R (all earned) 3BB 2K 89 pitches (56 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays got a pair back in the top of the 6th as George Springer doubled scoring Kevin Kiermaier and Tyler Heineman 
  • Two batters later, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled home Springer
  • A batter later, Cavan Biggio doubled scoring Bo Bichette
  • Zack Littell pitching line: 5.2IP 5H 2R (both unearned) 1BB 6K 99 pitches (67 for strikes)
  • The Blue jays tied the game in the top of the 8th on a wild pitch by Pete Fairbanks that scored Cam Eden
  • Three batters later, Guerrero Jr scored on a bases loaded hit by pitch to Matt Chapman
  • The Rays tied the game in the bottom of the 9th as Curtis Mead singled scoring Raimel Tapia
  • Three batters later, Lowe singled home Ramirez
  • Final score: Rays 7 Blue Jays 6

My Take:

  • Hyun-Jin Ryu battled through 4.1 innings, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits while walking 3 and striking out 2. Ryu couldn't keep the Rays in the ballpark, allowing 3 home runs for 5 runs, including 2 long balls in the 1st to put the Blue Jays down by 4 after 1 inning. Simply put Ryu didn't have it today, workingin and out of jams every inning. He'll get one more start in 2023.
  • The bullpen, and in particular, closer Jordan Romano, who was asked to get 4 outs last night and threw over 20 pitches, was not sharp today, with the Rays striking for 2 runs on 4 hits, including 3 straight to start the 9th leading to the blown save. Other than Romano's disaster inning, the bullpen did well, holding the Rays to a hit over 3.1 innings while striking out 6. One concern about Romano is he appeared to be dealing with a blister (he kept looking at at his finger while warming up in the bullpen and pitching in the 9th. Trainer Jose Ministral came out but Romano said he was OK to continue).
  • it took until the 6th inning tonight, but the Blue Jays rallied for 4 runs on 4 hits and a throwing error. Also like last night, they got fortunate that the Rays pitching was wild in the 8th inning with the tying run scoring on a wild pitch and the to ahead run scoring on a bases loaded hit by pitch. 
  • Vlad,  Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and George Springer combines to go 7-18 with 4 runs scored and 4 RBI. 
  • Matt Chapman sacrificed his body twice by getting on base due to a hit by pitch,  including with the bases loaded in the 8th to put the Blue Jays ahead
  • I'm sorry, but analytics is just killing the sport of baseball.  Case in point,  the 8th inning tonight. Rays reliever Andrew Kitteridge retired two of the three batters he faced, but manager Kevin Cash chose to bring in closer Pete Fairbanks for a 4-out save. Fairbanks could not find the strike zone at all, not retiring a single batter and allowing 2 runs on a wild pitch and a bases loaded hit by pitch.  He walked the other three batters he faced. Romano was in a similar situation yesterday where he recorded a 4-out save and threw 20+ pitches. Today, he was not sharp at all, blowing the save on three consecutive hits before recording an out. Romano then gave up a walk off single after he thought he had gotten out of the inning with a double play that was overturned on a challenge. The Blue Jays had Tim Mayza warming up.  Why didn't they just bring him in for the final out and get the game to extra innings? Sometimes managers have to use the eye test to make decisions and can't purely rely on analytics. 
  • In terms of the wild card race,  the Blue z Jays may catch a break tonight with both the Astros and Mariners behind in their games that began right as the Blue Jays game ended. Even bigger, a Rangers win would give them the tiebreaker over the Mariners. Texas could be 2 games ahead of the Astros if the scores stay the same. Baltimore also won so they remain a game and a half up on the Rays for the AL East division title. If the scores remain the same, the Blue Jays will be where they were at the end of the night last night, a game up on the Astros and a game and a half up on the Mariners. If the Mariners come back and the Astros lose, the Mariners and Astros will be tied for the last wild card spot with the Mariners holding the tiebreaker over the Astros due to winning the season series.  If the Astros come back and the Mariners lose. If the Astros comeback and the Mariners lose, the Astros and Blue Jays will be tied for the 2nd wild card spot with the Blue Jays holding the tiebreaker over the Astros after winning the season series. Finally if the actors and Mariners both come back and win their games, the Astros move into a tie for the 2nd wild card spot and the Mariners remain a half game out of the final wild card spot. 
  • Up next, the Blue Jays go for their 29th series win and try to end the final road trip of the regular season on a winning note. Yusei Kikuchi starts against Rays righty Taj Bradley.!