Friday, May 10, 2024

Game #38 - Minnesota Twins (23-15) @ Toronto Blue Jays (17-21) - game recap


Yusei Kikuchi threw 8 stellar innings in a 3-2 loss to the Twins

After an off-day/travel day yesterday, the Blue Jays opened an abbreviated one series weekend homestand against the Minnesota Twins. The Blue Jays and Twins split the season series last year with the Twins outscoring the Blue Jays 28-26. Yusei Kikuchi got the start with Danny Jansen behind the plate. George Springer got the complete day off with Cavan Biggio in RF. Daulton Varsho was in CF and Davis Schneider was in LF. Ernie Clement got the start at the hot corner and IKF was at 2B. Could the Blue Jays make it 2 straight wins? Here is tonight's game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Twins opened the scoring in the top of the 1st as Jose Miranda singled scoring Carlos Correa
  • The Blue Jays tied it up in the bottom of the 3rd as Isiah Kiner-Falefa bashed a solo jack to left-center
  • The Twins retook the lead in the top of the 5th as Carlos Santana smacked a solo blast just fair to the opposite field in right
  • Joe Ryan pitching line: 7IP 6H 1R (earned) 0BB 7K 104 pitches (75 for strikes)
  • Yusei Kikuchi pitching line: 8IP 4H 2R (both earned) 0BB 3K 97 pitches (68 for strikes)
  • The Twins addded a run in the top of the 9th as Max Kepler singled home Correa
  • The Blue Jays got one back in the bottom half of the inning as Kiner-Falefa singled scoring Bo Bichette
  • Griffin Jax got the last 3 outs for his 5th save of the season
  • Final score: Twins 3 Blue Jays 2

My Take

  •  Yusei Kikuchi was excellent tonight and may have had his best start in a Blue Jays uniform, firing 8 innings, allowing a pair of runs on 4 hits while walking none and striking out 3. After giving up a run on three straight hits in the 1st inning, Kikuchi retired 11 straight before giving up a leadoff homerun in the 5th and 23 of the next 24 batters he faced. He was stellar from the get go and could be an early candidate to rep the Blue Jays at the all-star game.
  • The bullpen, on the otther hand gave up a costly insurance run in the 9th that was the difference in the game. It has been an achilles heel for the Blue Jays after being an asset for the last couple of seasons. Injuries to Erik Swanson, who hasn't looked good at all since returning from that injury, and Jordan Romano, who has also not been too sharp, but that could be from lack of consistent work. The lefties haven't consistently been able to get out left-handed batters. It will be interesting to see if Aaron Sanchez pans out. The Blue Jays are stretching him out to be a starter, but he has had bullpen success too.
  • The offence continues to be anemic and lack the ability to strike at key times. Yes, they did get a run back in the 9th inning, but they could not tie it up. The top 5 hitters in the lineup were a combined 2-15. Vlad had a pair of hits and Davis Schneider drew a walk. The other Schneider, manager John Schneider needs to start setting his lineup based on who is hot and who is not. Players should be earning their playing time, not having it handed to them. For example, why not bat Vlad cleanup tomorrow since he now has hits in 10 of his last 11 games
  • I don't foresee anyone getting fired until the next off-day Thursday. You want to give the new manager, likely to be an interim from within the organization, to have a fresh series to work with. Quite frankly, Ross Atkins needs to go first
  • It would seem the 2-year renovation project had the unintended consequence of being to the Blue Jays' offence's disadvantage, but hey, fans have cup holders and more comfy seats. There is also still loonie dog day to offset the exorbitant price of food every other day.
  • Up next, the Blue Jays try to even the series and avoid their 6th series loss of the season. Kevin Gausman starts against Twins righty and ex-Blue Jays prospect Simeon Woods-Richardson