Blue Jays 3 Red Sox 5
Skipping to the end, the bottom of the ninth, Nate Pearson has thrown 2 excellent innings. John brings Jordan Romano in. I’m thinking that this is a bad spot for Romano because Nate was throwing 97 to 100 mph, and Romano is going to look a little slower. I know not much you can do there, but I was hoping for Swanson for an inning as a buffer.
Anyway, the first batter, Alex Verdugo, hits the third pitch into the seats in right-center, game over. A fastball, 93.8 mph (his first pitch was a 96.2 mph fastball). I shouldn’t second guess this, but I would have leaned on Jordan’s slider, coming in after Pearson.
It didn’t look like this would be Jose Berrios’ day. He gave up two runs, on a pair of doubles and a single, before getting his first out.
And in the end it wasn’t......but things got better after that for a bit. He didn’t give up another run through the fifth inning. It wasn’t pretty, he gave a lot of singles, but he was helped out by a couple of double plays, one that he started.
Then the sixth inning did not go well. Two crushed home runs, both to dead center. They made the score 5-3 Red Sox. Mayza came in to finish the sixth. Maybe John should have been quicker on the trigger, but you don’t want to lean on the bullpen too much.
The Jays didn’t wait long to catch up and get a lead in the top of the second:
Danny Jansen took a one-out walk. With two outs Kevin Kiermaier also walked. And then Bo Bichette hit one 396 feet and over the wall in left.
We had a very good chance in the seventh. Bo singled. Vlad was called out on a pitch that must have been 3 inching off the inside corner. Those bug me. The umpire lines up on that corner. It should be easy. Chapman singled. Varsho hit into a force at second and then stole second. Merrifield walked. The Alejandro Kirk pinch hit for Brandon Belt (even with a right-hander on the mound). Kirk took a pitch, again off the inside corner and again called a strike. The next pitch was a weak ground out. If you get the first call right, does Kirk swing at the second pitch?
But then we tied things up in the eighth, with the help of a couple of errors. Cavan Biggio hit a one-out double. Great to see him make good contact. Then Kiermaier reached on an Enrique Hernandez error, scoring Cavan. Bo singled to move the tying run to second. Then Vlad hit a tailor-made double-play ball, but Hernandez stepped on second, then threw into the Red Sox bullpen allowing the tying run to score and Vlad to get to second. Chapman walked, but Varsho popped out. tied game.
Surprisingly, John remembered Nate Pearson existed (why wasn’t he used yesterday?). Nate threw a nice 1-2-3 seventh. I was very surprised when he came back out for the eighth. He hadn’t gotten more than four outs in an appearance in Buffalo. He gave up a leadoff single, but two strikeouts and a flyout got him out of the inning. Very nice job, Nate.
John also remembered Nathan Lukes. He came into the game after Kirk pitch hit for Brandon Belt, and we needed to move Biggio to first base. Lukes would strike out in his one at bat. There might need to be a conversation if our lefty-hitting DH/1B is pinch hit for against a right-handed pitcher. I thought Belt was getting things going. He had a .935 OPS over an eight-game stretch. But he is 0 for 9, with two walks, in the last 3 games.
We had 9 hits, but Bo had 5, a homer and 4 singles. Not a great night for the rest of our hitters.
Jays of the Day: Bo (.464 WPA) and Nate (.137).
The Other Award: Romano (-.356), Berrios (-.323), Varsho (-.168 on an 0 for 4 with a walk), and Kirk (-.119, all off the 0 for 1 pinch-hit at-bat). It isn’t fair, as he was robbed on a call. Why don’t we have Robo Umps yet???
Tomorrow we play the Red Sox again. Kikuchi (4-0, 3.00) vs houch (3-1, 4.50).