Saturday, September 30, 2023

Game #160 - Tampa Bay Rays (97-63) @ Toronto Blue Jays (89-71) - game recap


Alejandro Kirk drove in 3 runs and scored once in an 11-4 rout over the Rays

After a shutout win over the Yankees, the Blue Jays were looking to make it two straight wins and inch ever closer to clinching a wild card spot. They were taking on the Rays with whom they split the first 10 games of the season series, outscoring the Rays  63-47. Yusei Kikuchi got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. The rest of the lineup was the same as last night. Could the Blue Jays make it 2 straight wins.

Game Highlights:

  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the bottom of the 2nd as Alejandro Kirk whacked a solo blast to the opposite field in right
  • Aaron Civale pitching line: 1.2IP 2H 1R (earned) 2BB 3K 40 pitches (21 for strikes) 
  • The Blue Jays added a pair of runs in the bottom of the 3rd as Kirk singled scoring Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette 
  • A batter later, Cavan Biggio scored on a sac fly by Kevin Kiermaier 
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the bottom of the 4th as Brandon Belt belted a solo bomb to dead center 
  • Three batters later, Biggio singled scoring Bichette. Biggio also scored on the play thanks to a throwing error by Rats CF Manuel Margot
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the bottom of the 5th as Matt Chapman hammered a solo bomb to dead center 
  • The Rays got a pair back in the top of the 6th as Yandy Diaz whacked a 2-run jack to the second deck in left; also scoring Rene Pinto
  • Five batters later, Junior Caminero singled scoring Harold Ramirez and Curtis Mead 
  • Yusei Kikuchi pitching line: 5IP 5H 3R (all earned) 2BB 4K 76 pitches (45 for strikes)
  • The Blue Jays added a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning as Biggio doubled scoring Guerrero Jr and Bichette 
  • The Blue Jays added a run in the bottom of the 7th as Bichette doubled home Guerrero Jr.
  • Final score: Blue Jays 11 Rays 4

My Take:

  • Yusei Kikuchi battled through 5 innings, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits while walking 2 and striking out 4. He finishes the season with an 11-6 record and a 3.86ERA over 31 starts. It's a remarkable turnaround for Kikuchi, who a season earlier was throwing a ton of pitches and walked too many batters and couldn't keep the ball in the ballpark. He is on a contract year next year, so surely he'll want a good year.
  • The bullpen gave up 2 runs (1 of which was charged to Kikuchi). on 2 hits and a walk. Jay Jackson and Yimi Garcia combined for 3 perfect innings and  4 strikeouts
  • The offensive exploded for 11 runs on 16 hits and 4 walks. Alejandro Kirk (3RBI 1 run scored), Cavan Biggio (2RBI, 2runs scored), Bo Bichette (3runs scored 1RBI), and Vlad (3 runs scored) led the charge offensively
  • Every Blue Jays starter except Daulton Varsho reached base at least once and all but Varsho and George Springer had at least one hit 
  • Even with the offensive outburst, the Blue Jays were still 4-11 with runners in scoring position
  • In terms of the WC race, the Blue Jays needed the Mariners to lose to the Rangers to make the playoffs. They would clinch the 2nd WC spot if the Astros lost (they hung on for a 2-1 win). The Mariners were up 8-0 at the end of the 6th at the release of this recap.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays go for their 3rd straight win, 31st series win and to punch their ticket into the postseason. Hyun-Jin Ryu starts against Rays righty Shawn Armstrong