Royals 1 @ Blue Jays 5
New Blue Jays starter José Berríos did not utterly dominate the Royals, but he and his filthy curveball did their jobs in his Toronto debut as the Jays completed a sweep of the Royals in the 2021 Rogers Centre opening series.
Kansas City hitters were able to square up some of Berríos’s offerings in the early innings to make decent contact, but they were unable to make anything of their five hits against him. Berríos struck out seven and walked just one over six innings pitched.
Uncharacteristically, Berríos also hit three KC batters, after entering the game having just hit eight batters while with the Twins. A couple of those hit batters came in the sixth that loaded the bases, but Berríos managed to get out of it by striking out former Blue Jays prospect Edward Olivares to end his outing unscathed.
The horizontal movement on the Berríos curveball is ridiculous (60% better than average per Statcast) — really lets him bury it in lefties' feet and keep it outside of righties' reach https://t.co/5T9rX6zbDx— Nick Ashbourne (@NickAshbourne) August 1, 2021
George Springer got the Jays in flight in the bottom of the third inning with a gapper that centrefielder Michael A. Taylor missed on a dive, scoring Reese McGuire. Left fielder Olivares backed up the play and composed a relay that nabbed Springer between second and third. It’s difficult to complain about what Springer has been doing lately, but his decision to try to advance on that play would be one of them.
Later that inning, Marcus Semien sent a fly ball that hit off the facing of the 100-level outfield for a two-run home run against starter Brad Keller, then Santiago Espinal crushed a Josh Staumont offering into the Jays’ bullpen for a solo shot in the next inning to make it 4-0 Toronto. Espinal drove in the very next run in the fifth, walking in Lourdes Gurriel Jr. against Richard Lovelady after another former Jays prospect-turned-Royal, Jake Brentz, walked the bases loaded.
The very fun Blue Jays had a lot of fun with the “Barrio” home run jacket, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. taking the responsibility of shrouding his teammates with it on a rare day off. Given a lot of extra time on the bench, Guerrero bothered his teammates so much that they decided to tie him down for a part of the game.
Trevor Richards followed Berríos with a 1-2-3-4 seventh and first batter of the eighth, then Tim Mayza wrapped up the rest of the game but gave up a homer to Olivares for the Royals’ only run.
Everyone on the Jays’ starting lineup had a hit other than Cavan Biggio, who reached base on a walk.
Jays of the Day! Berríos (+.270 WPA), Semien (+.132).
Suckage Jays None.
It is a holiday Monday in Canada tomorrow so the Blue Jays will have an matinee against Cleveland with first pitch coming at 3:07 pm EDT. Robbie Ray is slated to start the first game of the four-game series for Toronto, while the Jays’ hitters will be facing rookie right-hander Eli Morgan. Join us for the GameThread right here on Bluebird Banter!