There was a great energy in the ballpark today in what was the second largest crowd of the season consisting of over over 36,000 (mostly) school children who squealed excitedly every time a Blue Jay hit a ball into the air. Sadly, instead of a competitive and exciting game, the kids were treated to an example of what a predictable game between a defending world series championship team and a rebuilding team looks like.
Clayton Richard had as good of a start in his Blue Jay debut as anyone could have hoped for considering his pitch count limitations. He struggled with command of his breaking pitches, but he held his own against a hot hitting team. Richard pitched 4 innings, giving up 2 hits, 2 walks while striking out 2, allowing just one earned run that probably wouldn’t have scored had it not been for a questionable balk call. He dodged trouble in his first inning after he walked Mookie Betts, then made a two base throwing error trying to pick him off, but kept him from scoring. In the second, a double play ball helped erase a walk.
The Jays scored the first run of the game in the 2nd. Rowdy Tellez led off with a double, then Brandon Drury followed up with a bloop hit Eduardo Nunez couldn’t come up with. Freddy Galvis doubled in Tellez to put two runners in scoring position with nobody out, but McKinney, Jansen and Davis (who currently has an OPS of .207) couldn’t cash them in.
After that, Ryan Weber did far too good of a job keeping the Blue Jays off the board. He ended up pitching 6 innings, and didn’t allow a hit after the 2nd inning. 15 of the last 16 Jays who came to the plate while he was pitching were retired. The top 3 hitters in the Jays lineup were 1-for-12 today. Quite a disappointing result off a pitcher who could barely hit 90mph.
Brandon Drury doubled off Travis Lakins in the 7th, and the Jays couldn’t get anything going off Ryan Brasier in the 8th. Justin Smoak homered off Hector Velazquez in the 9th.
The Red Sox evened up the game in the 3rd. Nunez singled, then the aforementioned questionable balk advanced him to 2nd. He moved up on a Jackie Bradley Jr ground out and scored on a Michael Chavis ground out. It seemed like Vlad had a chance to throw him out at home, but the announcers claim he had no shot and he took the easy out at 1st. Billy McKinney made a very nice diving catch in right field to retire Betts and end the inning.
Speaking of nice defensive plays, Guerrero Jr threw out Devers in the 4th while sitting flat on the ground after he had to reach down to stop the ball.
Vlad Guerrero Jr just threw a runner out from his butt. Literally from his butt. pic.twitter.com/4KFg9QzbAC— Matthew Kory (@mattymatty2000) May 23, 2019
Weber hit Tellez in the bottom of the 4th and received a warning, likely because Clayton Richard threw breaking pitches behind a couple of batters. However, like Richard, Weber clearly had no intent to hit Tellez so the warning seemed unnecessary. Tellez also aggressively advanced to second on a deep fly to center field, catching the Red Sox off guard. It was good to see that type of assertive base-running from a rookie.
Sam Gaviglio allowed only one hit in the 5th, but gave up the tie breaking and go ahead run in the 6th. Xander Bogaerts led off with a single, then Rafael Devers doubled him home. Steve Pearce then singled home Devers, then advanced to 2nd because Freddy Galvis threw home even though he had no chance at the runner. Luckily, it did not factor in as Gaviglio got out of the inning.
Elvis Luciano was assigned the 7th inning, with the Jays down only two runs. A bit of a curious decision considering the small deficit, and that Luciano doesn’t have the best command and a warning was in place. However, the bigger trouble came with the three consecutive hits he gave up, increasing the Red Sox lead by a run. In fairness, he a nice job of getting the next three outs (2 strikeouts and a fly out) without allowing the two runners in scoring position to score.
Luciano gave up another run in the 8th. Andrew Benintendi singled, moved up to 2nd on a wild pitch, stole 3rd and scored on a Nunez single. This ended Elvis’ night and Ryan Feierabend struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
Feierabend had a rough 9th inning. He gave up a one out double to Bogaerts, then Bogaerts scored on a comeback pitch by Devers that neither the pitcher nor Galvis could field. Then he served old friend Steve Pearce his first homer of the year to put the game way out of reach.
Jays of the Day: Richard (.102), and will give Drury one for his two hits. He also made a nice play in left field to hold a batter to a single.
Suckage: Gaviglio (-.175), McKinney (-.141), Jansen (-.132), but almost everyone in the Jays lineup can take one of these today.
We had only 220 comments in the GameThread today. Siefert got the victory.
Tomorrow, the Blue Jays will welcome Manny Machado and the San Diego Padres. Trent Thornton will take on Joey Lucchesi at 7:07pm ET.