Jays 18 at Phillies 11
The Jays jumped all over Kyle Gibson early, building a 6-0 lead through three innings as they threatened to turn it into a laugher behind a resplendent Ross Stripling. Too often this year the bats have gone quiet after building an early lead, and it’s cost them either directly in the standings or by hanging onto white knuckle leads that ran up the workload of the back of the bullpen.
While they never truly landed a decisive knockout blow against Gibson, the offensive barrage just kept relentless coming and coming and coming. Which proved important when Stripling faltered in the middle innings and it became a close game, and later when Julian Merryweather hit major turbulence to being it within shouting distance late. The only real downside was the pace necessarily suffering as the time approached four hours and about an hour for last nine outs.
The Jays got to Gibson right off the bat, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. chopping a single (after George Springer lined out on much more impressive contact) and Alejandro Kirk walking with two out to bring up Matt Chapman. He pulled a towering blast to left to give the Jays a lead they would ultimately never relinquish despite some efforts to the contrary.
They tacked on another couple in the second as Danny Jansen led off the inning with a can of corn down the left field line that Kyle Schwarber never really saw and dunked in. Cavan Biggio flared one of his own to put runners on the corners, before Springer knocked in Jansen with a single. Kirk brought Biggio home with two out on a single. More damage followed in the 3rd as it was Teoscar Hernandez’s turn to double leading off, cashing by a Jansen double.
Meanwhile, Ross Stripling was absolutely fantastic early on, so it looked like the Jays were set to sail to a pretty easy victory. His change-up in particular had devastating fade, and he was nearly perfect the first time through, allowing just a leading double in the 2nd to J.T. Realmuto that he stranded.
The second time though didn’t go nearly as well, starting with Schwarber making decent contact to end the 3rd. An even harder lineout to Teoscar opened the 4th, followed by Bryce Harper and Realmuto ripping singles. With two out an infield single broke the shutout, but it was still 6-1 and there was reason to think he could get through 6 innings.
Alas, the 5th went no better even at the bottom of the order. Stripling challenged Dalton Guthrie was a fastball at the letters, and it got tattooed for his first MLB home run (7-2). No big deal in itself, but two more line drive singles followed, and then another laser beam double (7-3_. His night ended on another RBI single by Bryce Harper (7-4).
Zach Pop wasn’t much better to start with, giving up a third hit to Realmuto to make it 7-5 with the Phillies in position for more. He got bailed out when after inducing a fly out Stott tattooed a ball but right to Springer in CF, and he doubled off Harper at second to end the inning. To his credit, Pop did rebounded for a quick and tidy 6th inning.
Fortunately, the Jays kept tacking on. Jansen had cashed a leadoff double by Chapman in the 5th, and they added another in the 6th thanks to an error by Stott after a leadoff double by Springer. Teoscar hit yet leadoff double in the 7th, scoring after Tapia lined a ball right the left field line and dashed to third. He later scored to make it 10-5.
After Tim Mayza worked an easy bottom of the 6th with two strikeouts, it looked with the Jays were on cruise control. Then things got really wild. The first five Jays’ batters reached in the 8th on two free passes and two singles, capped off with a Tapia double. Three outs followed, but at 14-5 it looked like a laugher as the jays made several substitutions.
That included bringing in Merryweather for what should have been easy mopup, but he immeidately had two singles smashed off him to get in a mess (in fairness, one of those was Realmuto who was doing that to everyone). Then a walk to load the bases, strikeout, and walk. A ground exchanged a run for the second out, but then he challenged Kyle Schwarber with a fastball up, and well...he can do more damage then Guthrie.
So at 14-10 it was suddenly no longer a boatrace. David Phelps got the last out quickly to send it to the 9th, but of course that wasn’t going to be a quick and drama free inning either. The Phillies brought in old (brief) friend Brad Hand, who apparently decided to pitch against the Jays as he pitched for them, with some more defensive lapses mixed in. It added up to another four spot with the big blow a three run bomb by Jackie Bradley Jr.
Catcher Garrett Stubbs used a back of tricks to get the last two outs.
Garrett Stubbs, 37mph Eephus and 84mph Fastball, Individual Pitches + Overlay.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 21, 2022
That's mean. pic.twitter.com/fJW4TFA8PD
Of course, the bottom of the inning had to have some drama too, as Realmuto clubbed a home run for his 5th hit. With two out, Bichette booted a ground ball, and the bases ended up loaded before Phelps mericfully ended it at 18-11.
Jays of the Day: Chapman (+.235 WPA) is the only one by the numbers due to the distributed nature of the attack, with five others ending up between +.048 and +.071. We’ll add Springer (2-for-5, BB), Teoscar (4-for-5) and Jansen (3-for-6) since the barrage of tack on runs ended up quite important. Pop (+.176) also has the number but paradoxically most of that was for the first inning which wasn’t deserved in the least.
Suckage: Stripling (-.206). And Merryweather (-.017) on principle despite falling well short of the mark. Bichette had the low water mark among hitters at -.077 (plus the error).
Tomorrow, the Jays will look to sweep the two game mini-series in Philly, with Kevin Gasuman once again taking to the mound opposite another team’s ace in Zack Wheeler at 6:45 EDT.