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Pitching shelled, late rally falls short in 8-7 Jays loss

Giving up hard contact was the theme of the night

Toronto Blue Jays v Chicago White Sox Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Blue Jays 7 at White Sox 8

After a run of good starts recently, the Mr. Hyde side of Jose Berrios that gives up a lot of hard contact re-emerged tonight in Chicago, giving up three home runs and resulting in the Jays falling into a hole from which they never emerged. In fairness, it wasn’t just him, as the relieved that followed got hit pretty hard as well.

The Jays were never completely out of it for the duration the game, but neither were they ever really close either until the very end when they drew within one when Cavan Biggio managed to turn on Joe Kelly fastball and put it over the fence in the 9th inning. But the rally ended there with a couple groundouts to end the back and leave Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on deck.

The White Sox jumped on Berrios right from the start, with a single from Tim Anderson followed by Andrew Vaughn smashing a line drive double to the wall in centre to make it 1-0 two batters in. he held it there despite a couple more well struck balls, but that were kept on the ground.

The Jays staked him to a 2-1 lead, but Berrios gave up right back in the second. Jake Burger flared a single leading off, and with two out Berrios hung a breaking ball that spun backed up over the heart of the plate to Josh Harrison who knocked it for a two run home run. off the bat I didn’t think it would go, but the ball was carrying to left-centre and it wasn’t a cheapie.

The third inning saw another bloop-and-blast combo, this time by Vaughn leading off followed by Luis Robert absolutely demolishing a no doubter 435 feet to left. With two out he got in another jam with a walk and single by old friend Reese McGuire, but got out of that.

The fourth was no different. Anderson smashed another single leading off, though got himself picked off right before Vaughn went yard to dead centre. Robert then hit a fly ball sharply that was caught at the track in centre. Berrios was done after 4 innings with a line of 6 runs on 9 hits (one walk and strikeout), and it could have been worse.

Following Berrios was the succession of relievers:

  • It was somewhat surprising to see David Phelps in the fifth down four runs given tht he’s been one of the one effective bullpen arms recently, but he was far from his sharpest tonight as he got into a jam right away with a walk and single. He got on track and looked like he was going to contain the damage to one run, but a two out broken bat single plated a second to extend the deficit to 8-2
  • Trent Thornton came out for the 6th and he too worked into a jam by giving up a couple of hard drive singles with one out, before extricating himself by inducing a double play on another ball that was struck hard but straight down. Thornton was back out for the 7th and worked a quick inning, but was extraordinarily lucky to have a clean inning with teo line drives ripped right at Bichette and Matt Chapman, plus a solid ground ball up the middle by McGuire.
  • Matt Gage was the only pitcher of the night not to get knocked around, working a clean 8th on a strikeout, popout, and groundout.

Offensively, the Jays did a good amount of damage of their own. As mentioned above, they took their only lead of the game briefly in the 2nd thanks to Raimel Tapia of all people driving a two run shot to left field after Teoscar Hernandez reached on an error.

The bats went dormant until the 6th inning. Bo Bichette lead off the inning by lining a hard single, bringing up Vlad who jumped out to a 3-0 count. It ended up full, at which point Lance Lynn’s 7th pitch was not quite right down the middle, but closer to that than the edge but nonetheless inexplicably called ball four. The Jays caught a huge break, and capitalized.

Teoscar chased Lynn by driving his fourth pitch for a hard double to the wall, and the relay was botched allowing Vlad to score as well as Bichette (personally, I thought despite the result it was an overly aggressive send, trailing by five runs the downside of the out is much larger than the upside of banking the run). Teoscar took third, and after Tapia struck out, Santiago Espinal cashed him with a ground ball to short to make it 8-5. If Vladdy struck out, that’s the third out and it’s 8-3.

The Jays were seemingly destined to just stay out of true striking distance, until they pulled the aforementioned 9th inning rally, a bloop-and-blast strike of their own by Gabriel Moreno and Biggio. But just as quickly as it got interesting, George Springer and Bichette grounded out to leave them just shy.

It wasn’t decisive and went both ways more or less in equal measure (at least in terms of volume), but it was another night of questionable ball/strike calling by the home plate umpire.

Jays of the Day: A consonant night with Tapia (+0.097 WPA) and Teoscar (+0.094)/ Honourable mention to Biggio (+0.052) for making it very interesting late, and two extra base smashes on the night.

Super Suckage: Berrios (-0.441)

Suckage: Bichette’s (-0.096) groundout to end the game pushes him to the line right at the end and even up count and prevent the rare loss with more JoTD than suckage as a result of funny sequencing.

Tomorrow, the Jays will look to even the series in what on paper should be a dandy pitching matchup between Kevin Gausman (3.21 ERA) and Dylan Cease (2.81 ERA) as the former to reprise his early season form and put recent struggles behind him at 8:10 EDT.