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Dodgers bats feast on Blue Jays pitching, but there were some highlights for Toronto

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Bo Bichette hits two home runs off of Clayton Kershaw

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette (11) reacts after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium. 
Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette (11) reacts after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium. 
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays 3 @ Dodgers 16

The Blue Jays had a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the third, so if you switched off the game at around that time you probably enjoyed your evening.

Let’s get to the good news first: if this game was a test to see how the young Blue Jays would fare against a top-tier pitcher, consider it a “pass with honours.”

  • Bo Bichette, wearing a blue jersey on top of his grey road pants, deposited the second pitch of the game from Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw 423 feet away in the left field stands. He became the youngest Blue Jay to hit a homer to leadoff a game, beating Lloyd Moseby by six days. In his second at bat, Bichette watched a fastball and a knee-buckling curve land in the middle of the zone before swinging and missing at a beautiful curve in the dirt to strike out on three pitches. On the first pitch of his third at bat—as if he thought Clayton Kershaw was Clayton Richard—Bichette slammed another homer, 411 feet into the night at 105.8 mph off the bat.
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. walked in his first plate appearance then beat the Dodgers’ shift by poking a slow single through the area between first and second base in his second time at the plate. Guerrero advanced to second on a balk but was caught not freezing on a line drive and got doubled up. Guerrero showed his patience again in the sixth and worked a walk. The amazing part about watching Vlad and Bo this game is that they were not intimidated at all facing one of the best pitchers in history. Guerrero added a single in the eighth against Caleb Ferguson.
  • The much maligned Derek Fisher led off the third inning with a solo shot off of Kershaw that landed about six rows back of the right field fence then struck out in his second at bat.
  • Rowdy Tellez grounded out on a slider-induced check swing in his pinch hit appearance in the pitcher’s spot.

Opener Buddy Boshers lasted just one inning facing the top of the Dodgers lineup, walking one and striking one out. I thought that Charlie Montoyo’s strategy was to bring the opener out for the second inning so the pitcher spot would not need to get a plate appearance on the first turn around the lineup, but alas, it didn’t really end up mattering.

Sean Reid-Foley, who was dubbed as the “bulk pitcher” of the night, was brought in after Boshers and gave up an infield single (the “infield” part of that was thanks to Bichette ranging far to his right to keep it from going into the outfield). A fly ball to the warning track was followed by a 2-4-3 caught stealing of Chris Taylor—on a pitch that didn’t even make it to the dirt circle around home plate! Reid-Foley then struck out Kiké Hernández with a slider to end the second.

The Dodgers got on the board in the third inning with an A.J. Pollock opposite-field solo shot on a hanging slider from Reid-Foley. Will Smith then gave the Dodgers the lead with a big two-run homer to left, his 11th in his first 27 games in the major leagues. Later Corey Seager then drove in two runs on a double to end Reid-Foley’s night.

Reid-Foley failed to locate his pitches tonight; he either missed the plate completely or hung offerings right over the juicy part of the plate. But he was victimized by a missed call by home plate umpire Gerry Davis that gave Max Muncy a walk instead of a strikeout right before Smith’s homer. The inning was supposed to be over but instead it resulted in four additional runs for L.A., spelling the end for the Guam-born pitcher. (Fun fact: Reid-Foley’s brother David pitched three years with the Dodgers organization.)

Neil Ramirez was brought in and successfully ended the inning by striking out Hernández. In the fourth, however, Ramirez started playing with fire by walking Kershaw, then a double and another walk quickly loaded the bases. With two outs, Ramirez got to a two-strike count against Cody Bellinger and the optimist in me thought there was a way that the Jays could wriggle their way out of this mess. But no: Bellinger lined a fastball to right-centre to clear the bases, giving the Dodgers an 8-2 lead. Bellinger tried to go for three but lost the race and almost wriggled out of his pants sliding into third to end the inning.

That Bellinger double effectively ended Toronto’s chances at a victory, the rest of the game was more-or-less just a formality. Some notes from the fifth and beyond:

  • Randal Grichuk showed off his arm in right field, almost nailing Corey Seager at third base with a strong throw to Guerrero Jr. The replays were close, but that didn’t matter because Charlie Montoyo burned a review earlier in the game on a suspected hit-by-pitch to Teoscar Hernandez.
  • Justin Shafer got out of the fifth inning without giving up a run but struggled terribly in the sixth, giving up a solo shot to Max Muncy and a three-run homer to Chris Taylor.
  • The next two relievers, Tim Mayza and Derek Law, completed their outings without giving up a run. Good for them!
  • Richard Ureña, who was recalled today to replace Thomas Pannone, was brought in to pitch the bottom of the eighth with the Blue Jays down 12-3. The utility infielder featured a fastball in the mid-80’s topping at 88 and even threw a few curveballs. He gave up four runs including a Joc Peterson three-run shot but who really cares.

Jays of the Day! Bo Bichette (+.113 WPA), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (+.110) and Derek Fisher (+.097 WPA)

Suckage Jays: Sean Reid-Foley (-.497) was the only pitcher who had the numbers, but Neil Ramirez (-.079) and Justin Shafer (-.016) deserve it as well, they just came in when the game was already out of hand. Randal Grichuk (-.189) is the lone batter to get suckageness.

On Wednesday, the Blue Jays face the Dodgers again at 10:10 pm ET with another tough pitcher, Walker Buehler, going for Los Angeles and another assortment of relievers going for Toronto. Wilmer Font is expected to open, before handing the ball to Sam Gaviglio, Zack Godley, maybe Ken Giles, and whomever is flying to LAX right now to be added to the roster.