Mariners 10 Blue Jays 8 (ten innings)
That game is frustrating in so many ways: some bad umpiring, bad fielding, bad pitching, and bad relief decisions. Also, some bad at-bats at the wrong moments.
This game had an interesting start.
Chris Bassitt started things off with two strikeouts. Then went 2-2 on the next batter and threw a perfect pitch right on the outside edge. Easily a strike, but called a ball. Bassitt should have been out of the inning on 16 pitches. Instead, it was a walk.
The next batter gets to 2-2. The fifth pitch was on the inside corner. Umpires rarely miss ones on the inside edge because they line up on the inside edge. Four more pitches, and we had another walk.
Up comes Teoscar Hernandez; he gets to a full count and is hit by pitch. Bases loaded, and Taylor Trammell homers. 4-0 before we get to bat. It should have been a nice quick inning. Instead, it was a 36-pitch, 4-run inning.
Bassitt was less than pleased, throwing things around, doing his best to smash a tablet. People complained about him losing his temper, but sometimes you need a blowup to get past things. Chris went 4 more innings and didn’t allow another run.
In the second inning, plate umpire Mark Carlson called another strike a ball and took some flack from Bassitt and the Jays dugout.
There was an interesting moment in the fourth: two outs, Vlad on first, Whit Merrifield at the plate. The count is full. Vlad goes on the pitch, but the ball is wide off the plate, with no throw to second. We thought ‘ball four’ but nope. Merrifield would strike out.
Everyone was confused.
A little later, Sportnet suggested that a balk was called on that full-count pitch. The replay they showed from behind the plate didn’t show any umpire calling balk, but the first base umpire wasn’t in view. Normally, if one umpire calls balk, they all do, in a ‘yeah, I saw it too’ way.
The boxscore doesn’t (at least at the time I type this) mention a balk or a stole base, but let's say it was a balk, or else Merrifield was ripped off.
Down 4-0 after the top of the first, we needed some runs, and we got them:
- Two in the first: George Springer singled, then was replaced on a Bo Bichette force ground out. Vlad walked. And Matt Chapman doubled two home. 4-2.
- Three in the second: Varsho reached on an error by “first baseman” Sam Haggerty (playing first in an emergency, he plays outfield normally). Haggerty fielded a ball well behind first base, but his throw was off by a surprising distance, considering it was a very short throw. Two outs later, Springer singled, and Bichette hit a three-run homer. 5-4 Jays.
- Three in the third: Chapman started things off with a single. An out later, Kirk singled. And with 2 outs, Jansen doubled home two. A Santiago single scored Jansen. 8-4 Jays.
We had some creative bullpen stylings by John Schneider (Romano and Swanson pitched in each of the last two games).
- Trevor Richards pitched the sixth and seventh. He gave up a Teoscar Hernandez home run but left the game with the Jays up 8-5.
- Anthony Bass (why? Mayza and Pearson were in pen) got a ground out and another easy ground ball to second that Espinal booted. I said that with how Espinal is hitting, he can’t be making errors on plays like that. That turned out costly when Cal Raleigh homered to make it 8-7.
- Yimi Garcia came in with two outs and finished off the inning. But he gave up a walk, ground out that moved up the runner and a single that tied up the game. 8-8.
So tied for the first time since...well, two-outs in the top of the first.
Matt Chapman doubled to start the inning in the bottom of the ninth. Kevin Kiermaier in to pinch-hit for Merrifield. Kiermaier was in to bunt and popped it up, caught for the first out. Not a fan of the bunt there, but you gotta put it on the ground. Why pinch-hit a lefty to have him bunt? If you need to bunt, use Merrifield and save the lefty batter for another moment.
Alejandro Kirk lined one to second, two outs. Yesterday’s hero Varsho up. He works it to a full count and gets a walk after being behind 0-2. Danny Jansen, who has played hero a couple of times lately, is up. HE pops one down the left field line, foul, but Taylor Trammell made a great catch.
On to extras.
Top of the 10th
Zach Pop in. Eugenio Suarez is on second.
Jarred Kelenic pops one to left. And then Cal Raliegh hits his second home run of the game. 10-8. A couple of hard fly balls end the inning, but we are down 10-8.
Bottom of the 10th
Jansen is on second (not that his run matters). Matt Brash is in to pitch.
Espinal up. He owes us., but he strikes out. Next up, Springer pops one between the first baseman and right fielder. Tying run on first. Bo strikes out. We are down to Vlad. He swung hard but popped it to medium center.
A couple of fielding notes:
- Kirk made a great throw to second to get a caught stealing on a strikeout/throw-out double play.
- Merrifield made a nice catch in left and almost got a double play, throwing to first behind the runner. Considering he was throwing from left field, it was a pretty terrific
- throw, but the ball went off Vlad’s glove.
- Vlad started a very nice 3-6-1 double play—good play by Vlad and a good play by Richards, making the stretch at first.
I don’t know why they bothered to call up Nate Pearson. Bass has been poor this year, and Pearson was terrific in Buffalo. He looked good in his one appearance since coming up, and you pick Bass over him??
Or, for that matter, Bass over Mayza.
Jays of the Day: Chapman (.328 WPA), Bo (.157), and Springer (.112). Espinal had the number too, but that error hurt us, so I’m not giving him one.
The Other Award: Pop (-.415), Garcia (-.186), Bassitt (-.162, though much of that is on the plate umpire), and Kiermaier (-.112, all for the popped-up bunt).
The Jays are off to Boston to play four with the Red Sox. Berrios (2-3, 4.71) vs. Kluber (1-4, 6.75).