Guardians 1 at Blue Jays 2
After a dismal week, the Jays pulled out a much-needed win with a couple of big flys providing the narrowest of margin.
Mitch White was shaky at the outset, throwing seven balls to start the game. He rebounded to induce a couple soft fly outs to centre, but couldn’t finish things out in issuing a second walk to Josh Naylor on a full count. Andre Gimenez then punched a ground ball through the infield to put the Jays down 1-0 from the outset.
Fortunately for the Jays, White rebounded to settle in nicely, issuing just a walk to Jimenez over the next three innings until Luke Maile opened the 5th by lining a single to right. With one out, Steven Kwan chopped a ball to first, and Vladimir Guerrero made a very aggressive play in going to second for the lead runner. With Kwan running, there was no chance of turning two, and they just nipped Maile at second. It seemed to me the downside of not getting either outweighted the upside on keeping the runner back a base.
Of course, Amed Rosario immediately followed with a single through the infield to left, so cutting the lead runner was potentially important. Would Maile have got the wave running from second and more importantly been able to score? I’m not convinced. In any event, it was the end of White’s afternoon and Zach Pop retired Jose Ramirez on fly ball to centre that looked very routine off the bat but carried to the wall and nearly over Raimel’s Tapia.
Meanwhile, the Jays were able to accomplish precious little off Triston McKenzie’s fastball/curveball combo. Vladdy ripped a double to the left-centre to extend his hitting streak to 22 in the bottom of the first, but was stranded. The only other to reach were a couple walks to Matt Chapman and Teoscar, the former stranded and the latter immediately wiped out on a GIDP by Bo Bichette.
The worm finally turned for the Jays in the bottom of the 5th. Leading off, Chapman missed a couple hittable pitches, before clubbing a 1-2 fastball that caught way too much of the plate 418 feet to left-centre for his 23rd home run of the year to knot the game 1-1.
Matt Chapman - Toronto Blue Jays (23) pic.twitter.com/PuHA5vlefR— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) August 13, 2022
McKenzie settled right back in, the only blemish over the next two innings when Santiago Espinal slapped a single but erased caught stealing to face the minimum. Cleveland sent him back out for the 7th, when his fastball-centric approach caught up to him. Ahead of Teoscar 0-2, he grooved a fastball and Teoscar didn’t miss in sending it 419 feet to dead centre.
The Jays almost scored an insurance run, as with two Tapia blooped a ball down the line for a double, ending McKenzie’s evening. Espinal greet Enyel De Los Santos by fisting a jam shot towards right field, snared by jose Ramirez and thrown home to just nab Tapia. Or likely nab him, as the very least there wasn’t clear evidence to overturn the out call at home.
The bullpen was able to keep the Guardians off the board over the remaining four inings:
- Pop got the first out of the 6th before yielding a single to Gimenez at which point the Jays went to Adam Cimber after just six total pitches, and he got the last two outs of the inning.
- Anthony Bass worked a clean 7th inning
- Yimi Garcia came in to face the top of the order for the 8th, getting the Rosario and Ramirez before Naylor doubled
- At which point Jordan Romano was summoned, walking Jimenez before blowing away Oscar Gonzalez to end the inning. He nailed down the save in the 9th working around an infield single, striking out Kwan to end the game.
Jays of the Day: Romano (+0.247 WPA), Teoscar (+0.200), Chapman (+0.165), White (+0.101)
Suckage: Bichette (-0.114), who had some pretty bad at-bats in taking the 0-fer (and the misfortune of hitting into a double play the one time he made decent contact.
Tomorrow, the Jays will look to take the series in a marquee ace-against-ace pitching matchup between Kevin Gausman and Shane Bieber at 1:35 EDT.