Well, Chris Bassitt’s ERA doesn’t start with a 2 anymore (but it’s still four digits). That was about the only bright spot in the first six innings, as questionable pitching, bad defence, and bad managing put the Jays in a 3-1 hole heading into the seventh in spite of out-hitting the Angels 6-2.
Luckily, the offence was able to cobble just enough together in the seventh to take a one run lead, and the bullpen shut it down from there.
Starting the season with a 10 game road trip is tough, and with the win tonight the Jays have ensured at least a split for the trip. that’s pretty encouraging after a shaking first series in St. Louis.
The first looked promising. Springer and Bichette lead off with back to back balls that looked like they could get out of the park. Springer’s was caught on the track, Bo’s turned into a double off the wall. They weren’t able to capitalize, though. That would be a theme, as Toronto stranded 6 base runners in the first 6 innings.
They finally pushed one run across in the fourth. After Guerrero and Chapman one out singles and a Kirk walk loaded the bases, Espinal beat out a double play ball to allow Vlad to score. The inning ended on a stupid double steal attempt, with Chapman getting caught in a rundown (though the fault lies with Schneider for a totally unnecessary play call).
That was all they’d get off Patrick Sandoval. They only struck out twice, and a couple balls were caught on the track, but they couldn’t quite get anything going against him. Baffling managerial decisions didn’t help the cause.
Chris Bassitt got off to another rough start, walking leadoff man Taylor Ward and then giving Mike Trout a middle-middle 89mph fastball that Trout deposited into the Angels’ centre field water feature. He was able to buckle down from there, though, striking out Shohei Ohtani looking and getting fairly weak contact from the next three hitters (one of whom, Hunter Renfroe, reached on a Bo throwing error).
From there, Bassitt was uneven but got the job done. He surrendered one more run in the fourth, with the help of a Kirk throwing error trying to catch Giovani Urshela stealing. He walked 5 in total over six innings of work with the same number of strikeouts and two hits. Overall, he battle to turn in a quality start in spite of atypical command issues and a lack of support from his defence.
The offence broke out in the seventh, facing Matt Moore in relief of Sandoval. Espinal lead off with a single, and after a Jordan Luplow K and a Kiermaier pop out, Springer slashed a ground ball single of his own. Bichette was finally the one to find the extra few feet to go from the warning track to over the fence, launching a towering fly over the right field wall to give Toronto a 4-3 lead. Yimi Garcia got the 9-1-2 hitters in the bottom of the inning and handled them without drama.
In the eight inning (the inning for which Budweiser Zero is the official non-alcoholic beer, in case you were wondering), Andrew Wantz came in for the Angels and sat down Chapman, Merrifield and Kirk in order. Erik Swanson had a bit more trouble in the home half, giving up a ringing double to Ohtani and hard fly outs from Hunter Renfroe and Jake Lamb, but he managed to pop Brandon Drury up to preserve the lead.
Both teams sent their 7-8-9 hitters up in the ninth. Wantz made quick work of the Jays’ side, getting Espinal to ground out and striking out Biggio (hitting for Luplow) and Kiermaier. Schneider turned to Romano to close it for the Jays. He popped Urshela up, got a fly out from Logan O’Hoppe and a ground out from Luis Rengifo to secure the win.
Jays of the Day: Garcia (0.107), Swanson (0.140), Romano (0.127), Bichette (.484)
Suckage: Luplow (-0.104)
Tomorrow night, Jose Berrios will look to knock the 1 off the front of his ERA, while the offence will try to add any digits to Tyler Anderson’s 0.00. First pitch is slated for 9:07pm eastern.