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Jays Beat Twins

Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Jays 3 Twins 1

So the dumb play started early tonight:

George Springer started the game with a double. He moved to third on Bo Bichette’s fly ball. It looked like Twin’s pitcher Louie Varland was pitching around Vladimir Guerrero. Three balls well off the plate. Then one in the zone Vlad fouled off. The next pitch was way low, but Vlad ground it at the shortstop. Springer was caught off third. I didn’t understand it. He wasn’t running on contact, so he should have seen it was a ground ball and moved back to the bag. But he didn’t.

Then it looked like he’d get in a rundown. George looked to Vlad to suggest he move to second on the rundown. That’s the play. Keep the play going long enough for the batter to move up. But George didn’t get in a rundown, was tagged out right away, and Vlad was too far around first to get back. The throw behind him gets him.

I don’t know. You have to get into the rundown in that spot. You have to. That’s the play. Stay in it as long as you can. George stood there and let himself be tagged.

Kevin Kiermaier had a similar moment later in the game. In his case, he was running on contact but, for some reason, stopped. He would have been thrown out at the plate, but stopping and getting tagged out is silly. Make them make the throw. You might get lucky on a bad throw.

I want our veterans to do better on the bases.

Thankfully, the offense got going in the third inning. Kevin Kiermaier hit a solo homer. And, after Springer doubled again, Bo Bichette hit one out to dead center (424 feet, hit at 108.1 mph).

You would think we’d get Kevin some more runs.....

We had 7 hits. Springer, Kiermaier and Bichette had 2 each and all of our extra-base hits.

We didn’t get the usual Kevin Gausman start. He went just 5.1 innings, allowing 4 hits, 1 earned, with 8 strikeouts, but the surprising part was the 5 walks (and this was with an umpire who had a huge strike zone). He threw 106 pitches, so you can see he was fighting things.

He left after giving up two walks and a double in the sixth to make it a 3-1 game. Erik Swanson came in, and Swanson hasn’t been great lately, so I was worried about him coming in with the tying run at second. He walked lefty Joey Gallo, loading the bases (I was ok with that) but then went fullcourt on Michael Taylor. And then an easy ground out to short got him out of the inning.

Starting the seventh, Swanson gave up a walk and got a strikeout.

Tim Mayza came in with the tying run at the plate. He went ground out, walked and strikeout (helped by a wide strike zone).

Nate Pearson, surprisingly to me, got the eighth. A walk followed a popout, bringing the tying run to the plate again. But a strikeout and popout ended the inning.

Jordan Romano got the ninth. I’m not a fan of him following Pearson. He got a popup. Then got to a full count on Byron Buxton, and Joe Siddal said ‘Throw it down the middle and see how far Buxton can hit it’. Well, he did, and Buxton hit it to the wall in left, but it was caught. A single and a popout got Jordan his 11th save.

Jays of the Day: Swanson (.203 WPA), Bichette (.170), and Kiermaier (.154).

Other Award: Vlad (-.133, for an 0 for 4). I’m tempted to give one to Springer for the bad baserunning, but he was 2 for 4.....

Tomorrow we have game two in Minneapolis. Chris Bassitt vs. Pablo Lopez.