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Jays lose to Royals (and their minor league friends)

Kansas City Royals v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

Royals 3 Blue Jays 1

Counting that one a win before it was played was a mistake. Fire Char....whoops, force of habit.

In all honesty, despite what we were told, it isn’t unheard of for a young pitcher to be called up and have a good start. Sometimes hitting against a guy you haven’t seen and don’t have much of a scouting report on, isn’t as easy as we expect. Any game you think you think there is no chance you can lose, the Baseball Gods will smack you one.

Angel Zerpa had our batters confused. He went 5 innings, allowed just 1 run (a Matt Chapman home run) on 4 hits, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. We did have some hard-hit balls off him but they seemed to find gloves.

We had chances off the Royals bullpen:

  • In the sixth, against Jackson Kowar: Alejandro Kirk hustled a double to lead off (speed kills). But Bo Bichette struck out chasing. Teoscar Hernandez struck out on a failed check swing. And Lourdes Gurriel ground out. A move him over, move him in inning would have been nice.
  • In the ninth, against Scott Barlow: Lourdes led off with a single, bringing the tying run to the plate. But Chapman stuck out and a pinch-hitting Cavan Biggio hit into a double play. Cavan’s in a slump. 2 hits in his last 19 PA and he hasn’t had a walk since the 2nd of the month.

We only managed 7 hits against 4 Royal pitchers who if their pictures were on wanted posters, not even a Royals fan would be able to name them.

Kirk and Danny Jansen had 2 hits each. George Springer, Vladimir Guerero, Bo (though he had two walks, which had TacoWithAStache watching out the window for more signs of the Rapture) and Santiago Espinal all had 0 fors.

Both Vlad and George had fly balls that were just short of the wall.

On the good side, Kevin Gausman threw 6 innings only allowing 2 runs (on a Bobby Witt home run). But he wasn’t terribly sharp. He gave up 7 hits, and 2 walks and a lot of other pretty hard-hit balls. But he didn’t look like someone nursing a sore foot. More like someone who hadn’t pitched for several days.

David Phelps gave us a good inning. Adam Cimber got 2 outs, but gave up 3 singles. Anthony Banda got the last out of Adam’s inning, but he gave up a home run to Nate Eaton (playing his first MLB game) in the 8th. I’ll admit I wasn’t a fan of Banda coming into a close game and I was less of a fan of keeping him out there for the eighth. We might have been down by a run, but I still think that was a high leverage spot. Sergio Romo came in after the home run and got the last out.

I know this stuff shouldn’t bug me, but using the last guy in your pen when you are losing by just a run is bad baseball. Banda shouldn’t be on the mound if the teams are within five runs of each other.

I was also bothered by the Jays warming up both Yimi Garcia and David Phelps while the Jays were batting in the bottom of the sixth. They used Phelps because we were down a run. Presumably, if they had tied or gone ahead, Garcia would have come in. But, down a run is still a high leverage spot. I know this is stuff that managers do, but, it is going to bug me.

Of note:

  • We were two for three on challenges. We won a challenge in the third, Edward Olivares (a former Jays prospect) stole second but on review, we saw he popped off the bag. In the eight we lost a challenge (Witt stole second, he looked safe, but we challenge anyway). And in the bottom of the inning, Bo tried to steal, was called out on the field, but through an umpire review, was overturned.

Even if you lose your review, you can ask for an umpire review in the eighth or later. The idea is that missed calls that late are more important. The umpires don’t have to grant you the review, but, in practice, they almost always do. So there is no real cost to losing a review late in a game.

I remember Gibby used to use his review in the sixth or seventh, even if there was little chance of winning, just because he knew he had the umpire review in his pocket. In the early years of review we had bad success rates, but that was on purpose.

  • In the top of the eighth, Brewer Hicklen, one first, Witt hit a grounder up the middle, that Cimber tried to field but had it go off his glove for a single. It would have been a double play had Cimber let it go by. But, Hicklen, for some reason, ran past second and was put out in a quick rundown.

No Jays of the Day today. The high mark went to Gausman (.058 WPA).

Suckage: Teoscar (-.188, 1 for 4, 2 strikeouts, 4 LOB), Vlad (-.184, 0 for 4, 1 k, 2 LOB) and Biggio (-.108 for the game-ending double play).

Tomorrow we have Alek Manoah (9-4, 2.34) vs. Zack Greinke (3-5, 4.52).

Let's score some runs tomorrow, please.