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Jays overcome bad defense, beat the Rays

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays 5 Rays 3

The good news? The bats got going, especially in the first inning.

The Jays scored four in the first inning. It was fun:

  • After two strikeouts to start the inning, Vlad singled.
  • Rowdy Tellez doubled high off the center-field wall, driving in Vlad.
  • Randal Grichuk walked.
  • Marcus Semien homered, scoring three. That was the end of the scoring but
  • Joe Panik singled.
  • Lourdes Gurriel struck out, but the ball bounced past the catcher, and Gurriel was safe a first.
  • Danny Jansen struck out, the fourth strikeout of the inning, and the first time a team has scored four runs with four strikeouts going back to the 1960s at least.

We got another run in the sixth, a Randal Grichuk solo homer.

With just 6 hits, we got 5 runs, which is pretty efficient. Semien is the only Jay with 2 hits. Vlad, Rowdy, Randal, and Joe each had a hit.

Steven Matz was excellent, minus a shaky moment in the fifth. The fifth inning started with a single walk and Randy Arozarena home run. Our 4-0 lead became 4-3 in a hurry. But Matz got out of the inning quickly after that. He went 5 innings, allowed 5 hits, 3 earned, 2 walks with 7 strikeouts. The pitching line doesn’t really tell the story of how good he was.

He was helped out by a great throw from Lourdes Gurriel from left field to the plate to get Yandy Diaz trying to score from second on a single. Gurriel’s had a tough start to the season, both on defense and on offense, but that was a terrific throw.

Our bullpen did an excellent job, again:

  • Tyler Chatwood, just back from the IL, pitched an excellent sixth.
  • David Phelps got four outs, a quick seventh, and the first out of the eighth.
  • Tim Mayza got the last two outs of the eighth.
  • Rafael Dolis pitched a quick ninth for his first save of the year. And, maybe it is me. I didn’t think he was as slow as usual.

The part of the game that was not good was defense. Joe Panik, at third, misplayed a ball in the first inning (not called an error) and got an official error later in the game. And Bo Bichette made two errors, one throwing, one fielding. That brings his count to 6 this season. I don’t know if it is confidence or what. This winter, I was hoping we’d pick up a shortstop to move Bo to second, but not because Bo made errors, because Bo doesn’t have the range of an excellent defensive SS. This year, well, we haven’t noticed the range, be he’s had a terrible time getting the ball out of his glove and making the throw to first. Even in the last play of the game, he threw wide of first, but Vlad was able to tag the runner.

Jays of the Day: Phelps (.119 WPA), Semien (.215), Grichuk (.116), and Rowdy (.092).

Suckage: No one had the number, but let’s give one each to Panik and Bo for the defense.

Game two of this three-game series goes at 6:00 Eastern tomorrow. Bob Rae starts for the Jays. The Rays have TBD listed.

We had 1008 in the GameThread today. We kind of got off-topic on occasion, discussing the acting chops (or lack thereof) of Nick Cage. Honestly the first time I’ve thought of Nick Cage in several years. DangYouToHeck led us to victory in the hellscape that is Tropicana Field.

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