Sunday, June 16, 2024

Game #71 - Cleveland Guardians (44-25) @ Toronto Blue Jays (35-36) - game recap


Daulton Varsho hit a grand slam as the Blue Jays hung on to edge the Guardians 7-6

After a solid shutout win yesterday after a stellar effort by the bullpen and a pair of runs and an RBI from George Springer, the Blue Jays were looking for their 2nd straight win and 9th series win of the season. Ace Jose Berrios got the start with Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Bo Bichette remained out of the lineup as he continues to nurse a cranky calf muscle. George Springer got the half day off as DH with Addison Barger in RF. Ernie Clement got the start at the hot corner. Daulton Varsho was in CF and Davis Schneider was in LF. Could the Blue Jays make it 2 straight wins and 9 series wins? Here is today's game recap.

Game Highlights:

  • The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the bottom of the 2nd as Ernie Clement bashed a 2-run blast to left-center; also scoring Addison Barger, who stole his first career base and scored his first career run
  • The Guardians got one back in the top of the 5th as Steven Kwan singled scoring Daniel Schneeman
  • A batter later, Brayan Rocchio scored on a double play ball hit by Tyler Freeman
  • The Blue Jays retook the lead in the bottom half of the inning as Daulton Varsho belted a grand slam to right-center; also scoring Spencer Horwitz, Davis Schneider and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
  • Three batters later, Barger singled home George Springer
  • Ben Lively pitching line: 4IP 6H 4R (all earned) 3BB 4K 88 pitches (55 for strikes)
  • The Guardians got a pair back in the top of the 6th as Schneeman whacked a 2-run jack to the opposite field in left and into the Guardians bullpen; slso scoring Will Brennan
  • Jose Berrios pitching line: 6IP 8H 4R (all earned) 0BB 1K 97 pitches (67 for strikes)
  • The Guardians got a pair back in the top of the 9th as Rocchio belted a 2-run bomb to right-center; also scoring Schneeman
  • Yimi Garcia left with an injury with one out to get
  • Nate Pearson got the final out for his 2nd save of the season
  • Final score: Blue Jays 7 Guardians 6

My Take:

  • Jose Berrios battled through 6 innings, giving up 4 runs on 8 hits while walking none and striking out 1. The first two batters he faced reached base, but Berrios pitched out of it and retired 11 in a row before allowing a 2-out single in the 4th. Berrios was efficient through the 1st 4 innings, needing just 40 pitches. He needed 25 pitches to get out of the 5th inning and gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and a hit batter. He gave up two more runs in the 6th to take away the quality start. Overall decent start for the Blue Jays ace.
  • The bullpen nearly blew the save, with defacto closer Yimi Garcia giving up a pair of runs in the 9th followed by singles to put runners on the corners with 2 outs before throwing the ball. The bigger concern was he got hurt on the next pitch. The Blue Jays are already shorthanded with Jordan Romano on the 15-day IL with his own elbow injury. Even more concerning, the Blue Jays are playing a ton of baseball with 26 straight games over the next 28, including 17 straight after Thursday's off-day/travel day. Brandon Little has leapfrogged Tim Mayza as the top lefty in the bullpen. After a rocky start, Litlle has settled in nicely and been effective against both righties and lefties. He and Pearson were the only relievers to retire every batter they faced.
  • The offence came through in a big way in the 5th inning with a 5-run output, highlighted by a Daulton Varsho grand slam. Addison Barger also contributed with his 2nd career RBI, first career stolen base and first career run scored.
  • Every Blue Jays starter reached base at least once. 
  • Perplexing stat of the day: the Blue Jays did not score in the 1st inning (despite loading the bases with none out) and scored twice in the 2nd inning. I wonder if it would change the 1st inning fortunes if the Blue Jays swapped the 1-3 hitters and the 4-6 hitters. Maybe then you'd see some runs in the 1st inning.
  • The Blue Jays were 5-16 with runners in scoring position
  • Up next, the Blue Jays try to extend the winning streak to 3 games as they begin their first series against the Red Sox, who edged the Blue Jays in the season series last year 7-6 with the Blue Jays outscoring the Red Sox 64-62. Yusei Kikuchi starts against Red Sox righty Nick Pivetta.