Blue Jays 8 at Royals 0
it took a while to get going in multiple senses, but about the time the game as regularly scheduled would have been ending the bats found their stride as the Jays cruised to a complete 8-0 blanking of the Royals that was well worth staying up for.
After a two hour rain delay, Daniel Lynch and his four pitch lefthanded mix stymied the Jays bats the first time through the order over three perfect inning, with only Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hitting the ball hard.
Fortunately, Ross Stripling was more than equal to the task of holding the Royals in check, almost matching Lynch until he gave up a solid single to the nine hole hitter Michael A. (don’t confuse me with B.) Taylor. That was the only blemish on his evening, as he went 5 innings on just 55 pitches with a pair of punchouts in his first outing back in the rotation. He wasn’t overpowering, but solidly in control with a lot of weak contact early in the count.
Stripling probably could have another inning, but it was already more than what the Jays were optimistically hoping for, and they didn’t want to push him. On a personal bugaboo, this is exactly why I didn’t like when he was pulled after two innings of relief in late May with an inning to go. It was just a matter of time before he was needed back in the rotation and some point, so it would have behooved them to keep him reasonably stretched out in the interim.
The second time through was a different story. Leading off the 4th, George Springer drew a walk (even if he didn’t realize it). Bo Bichette stayed back on a 0-1 change-up, driving it 415 feet the other way for a two run shot (and Pat Tabler did a nice job breaking down how pretty a swing and piece of hitting it was). It was all the offense the Jays would need, but they were far from done:
- They tacked on another in the 5th, on a double hooked into the corner by Matt Chapman, single by Lourdes Gurriel to push him to third, with Danny Jansen executing on a tough two strike pitch to drive a deep fly ball for the sac fly
- They really poured it on the third time through. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. teed off for his 13th home run, hammering a laser beam a little further than Bichette to right-centre. Witrh two out, Alejandro Kirk singled and Santiago Espinal jumped a first pitch change-up to hammer a majestic 390 foot high fly ball home run to left field to chase Lynch and effectively the game away at 6-0.
- The onslaught didn’t stop there, with single runs in the 7th (after loading the bases on a single sandwiched around two walks) and 8th (wild pitch after a single and Jansen took a ball off his hand to provide the only real scare of the night).
Lynch pitched a lot better than his line (6 runs on 6 hits in 5.2 innings, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts) indicates, but the Jays are finally starting to swing the bat as they were expected to, a deep lineup with threats and tough outs top to bottom. In particularly, they put some excellent swings to execute on darn good two strike pitches (Jansen elevating the sac fly, Kirk squaring up a hard line drive). They just ground him down with each successive trip through the order.
After Stripling, four relievers finished off the shutout allowing just one more hit. Julian Merryweather wasn’t great, walking the leadoff hitter and some good contact that found gloves. Trevor Richard and Trent Thornton were quite effective, and then Matt Gage had an easy ninth making his Major League debut, punctuating the win with a couple of strikeouts.
Jays of the Day: Stripling (+0.264 WPA) and Bichette (+0.166) are the two by the numbers. Honourable mentions go out to a lot of the lineup for reaching multiple times: Vladdy (+0.032), Espinal (+0.026), Chapman (+0.008), Teoscar (-0.002) and Kirk, the former two with home runs. And to Gage for the successful MLB debut.
Suckage: None. Kirk (-0.052) was the low man due to a double play in the 4th when the game was still in play, reaching twice when it was further out of reach.
Tomorrow the Jays and Royals are back it, hopefully without the extended rain delay and closer to the scheduled 8:10 EDT scheduled start time. It’s a must-watch with Alek Manoah scheduled against Brad Keller.