Well, as we all expected a Yankees team record to be tied tonight, and sure enough Gerrit Cole tied Ron Guidry’s 248 strikeouts in a season. A round of polite applause for him.
Other than that, it wasn’t much of a game. The Jays’ offence was feeble outside of a single outburst in the sixth, and the pitching was mostly bad.
Mitch White was never really in it. He walked Aaron Judge to, as is the Blue Jays’ house style, to open the game, and the followed with a walk of Oswaldo Cabrera and back to back singles from Josh Donaldson and Oswald Peraza to make it 2-0 before an out was recorded. A Harrison Bader fielder’s choice and a Marwin Gonzalez sac fly would tack in one more.
White stabilized things a little from there, getting out of a two on nobody out jam in the second with the help of a base running mistake by Aaron Hicks that turned a Cabrera line single into a fielder’s choice. He worked a 1-2-3 third, but put two more on In the fourth with a Tim Locastro ground rule double and a walk to Hicks. After a Judge ground out for the second out, John Schneider called for Trevor Richards. In case you wondered whether baseball makes sense, White gave up 5 hits and 3 walks to 19 batters faced while striking out only one, and yet the only batter he faced three time times, vengeful baseball demigod Aaron Judge, managed only a walk and a pair of non-threatening ground outs.
Richards took over and secured a ground out, then returned to strike out the side in the fifth. In the sixth, he added a fourth K and another clean inning. It was great to see him have a quality outing, he’s probably not prominent in the Jays’ stretch run/playoff bullpen plans but it’d be nice to feel like he’s an option in a pinch.
Meanwhile, on the other side, there wasn’t much to report. Nothing at all, in fact because Gerrit Cole was perfect through 5 on only 54 pitches.
Things changed in the bottom of six, when Danny Jansen launched a leadoff solo shot into the seats in left field:
That started a trend. Whit Merrifield followed with a line single to right, Jackie Bradley jr worked a walk, Springer advanced Merrifield on a hard line out, and Bo Bichette brought him home on a ground ball that snuck under Donaldson’s glove for an infield single. Cole, used to a less intimidating venue, began to wilt under the bright lights of a playoff race in Toronto. He balked before throwing a pitch to Vlad, moving the runners to second and third, then surrendered a sac fly that brought Bradley home to tie it at 3. Teoscar Hernandez would line out to leave it knotted there.
Unfortunately, the Yankees un-knotted it immediately. Tim Mayza gave up a leadoff line single to Hicks and then:
Mayza would go on to record one run before giving way to Yimi Garcia. Garcia gave up an additional run on an infield hit by Peraza, a while pitch, and a ground single into centre field by Harrison Bader. Matt Chapman made a beautiful play on a foul Marwin Gonzalez pop out to end it there.
Cole returned to face one batter in the bottom of the seventh, getting a ground out, and was replaced by Zack Britton. Britton was making just his second appearance of the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery last summer and his command was clearly off. After a Raimel Tapia ground out he walked both Jansen and Merrifield. Schneider called Bradley back to the dugout and pinch hit Alejandro Kirk, prompting Anthony Rizzo (guest-managing a game that doesn’t matter to New Yory) to counter with Scott Effross. Rizzo won the chess match, as Kirk grounded out.
The top of the eighth was quiet, as Adam Cimber worked around a Hicks line single for a clean inning. The bottom half threatened to be more interesting, as Springer lead off with a walk off Clarke Schmidt and Bichette hit his second infield single of the night, but Guerrero grounded into a double play and Hernandez struck out.
The ninth got dumb. Cabrera lead off with a line double and Cimber hit Donaldson to put two on. They advanced on a Peraza chopper back to the mound. Bader hit the exact same ball, this time Cimber tried to go home but airmailed the easy 30 foot toss on what wouldn’t have been a close play, scoring Cabrera. Cimber was so shocked by his mistake that he just stood there by the mound, leaving the plate uncovered for Donaldson to also come home. It was 8-3, sufficiently out of hand that Schneider was willing to go to Yusei Kikuchi. He was uncharacteristically efficient, getting a quick ground out and strikeout to escape without further damage. In the home half, Aroldis Chapman worked a 1-2-3 inning to close it out.
Jays of the Day: Bradley (0.176), Bichette (0.164)
Suckage: Mayza (-0.314, became trivia), White (-0.199), Guerrero (-0.163), Hernandez (-0.125)
Tomorrow is the final off day of the regular season. The Blue Jays will use it to watch the Red Sox try to clinch them a playoff spot by beating the Orioles. Starting Friday, they’ll host a three game set with those same Red Sox. Starters haven’t been announced, but it’ll be Alek Manoah’s (15-7, 2.31) turn in the Jays’ rotation and Nick Pivetta’s (10-11, 4.48) for the Sox. Things will kick off at 7:07pm ET.