Blue Jays 5 at Orioles 1
The kids came to play once again in game 2, driving the Jays to a 5-1 win in the regular season finale to earn a split of the doubleheader. While it had no implications on the standings, the Jays’ 92nd win exceeds last year’s total by, also breaking a tie with the 1991 Blue Jays for sole possession of the 6th best record in franchise history (behind 1985, 1987, 1993, 1993, and 2015). It also gives them the season series over Baltimore 10-9 after an ignomineous start.
The Jays scoring had as much to do with Oriole deficiencies as their own successes. They scratched out a run in the first as the Orioles walked the bases loaded following a Bo Bichette one out single, Danny Jansen beating out a double play attempt. That gave them a 1-0 lead they clung to for the first half of the game.
They proceeded to do very little until the 7th inning, thanks to the usual suspects today. Gabriel Moreno lined a single down the right field line to open the inning, and the Orioles threw away a bunt to put runners on the corners. After a steal, Otto Lopez cashed both with a singled lined just over the infield.
They tacked on another pair in the 8th, as Dillon Tate was on the cusp of a quick inning after two weak groundouts before he walked the bases loaded. Bradley Zimmer greeted Beau Sulser with a little ducksnort just into left field for two runs, and that was that.
As in the first game, the Jays started by rolling out their bullpen arms for a tuneup before the playoffs
- David Phelps wasn’t particularly sharp, having a two strike back foot slider get away for a HBP and then single before a reasonably well struck ground ball was turned for two
- Anthony Bass got a couple quick flyouts before running up his pitch count with two full count walks before a strikeout to end it
- Tim Mayza was very sharp, needing just 13 pitches to strike out two and saw off the third batter in his inning
With those appearances out of the way, 29th man callup Casey Lawrence came in for the 4th. He sailed along for two shutout innings before hitting turbulence in the 6th. After a long flyout to the warning track in dead centre, Jesus Auigar flared a double to the gap and followed by Kyle Stowers clobbering another to the wall to tie the game. A walk to Gunnar Henderson was the end.
That meant it was Kikuchi time. He got out of the inning with no further damage, and followed it with a clean 7th, leaving in line for the win. Trent Thornton earned his first career save by working the last two innings, a walk the only blemish on his line.
Jays of the Day: Kikuchi (+.204 WPA), Lopez (+.171) and Zimmer (+.176) had the number though a good deal of that was the bunt being thrown away and then the weak single. Add one for Moreno as well (+.084) with the 2-for-3 afternoon at the plate.
Suckage: Lawrence (-.106)
I’m sure everyone knows what comes next. Onward and upward to the wild card round.