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Merrifield Homers Twice, Jays Sweep White Sox

MLB: Game Two-Toronto Blue Jays at Chicago White Sox Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays 5 White Sox 4

Sometimes I’m a glass-half-full guy. Sometimes I’m a glass is broken, shattered on the floor.

The Jays had 16 hits tonight, including 3 home runs, yet only scored 5 runs. We won, but, for crying out loud, how do you not score more than that?

Part is we were only 1 for 7 with RISP. Vlad had a single. He also had a double driving in Bo Bichette from first (more on that later). The three home runs were solo shots.

Part is we had two runners thrown out on the bases:

  • Matt Chapman doubled to start the second inning. Daulton Varsho followed with a fly to medium right field. Chapman took off for third. I thought, ‘This is a bad idea.’ It was. He was called out. It was close. The Jays challenged, but it was too close to overturn. A dumb move.
  • With one out and Bo Bichette on first in the seventh, Vlad lined a double to the right field wall. Bo scored (the winning run), but Vlad rounded second, and the White Sox threw behind him. I thought Vlad figured there would be an attempted tag at the plate. If there was, he could have gone to third easily enough. But he should have been able to read the play. Bo was in way before the throw, and Sox catcher Seby Zavala had an easy play to get Vlad. Again a dumb move.

I’ve said this too much, but with John saying, ‘We are going to be aggressive on the bases’, I think sometimes players are going against their instincts. Guys who have played as long as these guys have (minors and majors) have an idea if they can get the next base. You tell them ‘be aggressive,’ and you get them taking dumb chances.


Whit Merrifield had two solo homers. Matt Chapman had one. And Vlad drove in two, with a single and the double.

Bo had 4 hits. Vlad, Matt, Whit, Danny and Cavan had two each. The only starter not to hit was Varsho.

Yusei Kikuchi wasn’t great. He gave up 8 hits, 4 runs, no walks, with 4 strikeouts. Two of the four earned came on an Eloy Jimenez home run.

Our bullpen was terrific again:

  • Jay Jackson threw 1.1 perfect innings.
  • Tim Mazya also had 1.1 perfect innings, with 3 strikeouts.
  • And Nate Pearson picked up his first MLB save (I’m sure there are more ahead of him), with 1.1 scoreless innings. He gave up a single to Luis Robert. But that was it. In the ninth, he got 3 flyouts. None were short flies, but the third was hit to the track, which worried me.

There was an excellent defensive play that helped us out a lot. Andrew Benintendi lined one to the center field wall in the third inning with a runner on first. Varsho grabbed it, turned and threw it to Santiago Espinal, who made a great relay throw home, getting the runner. Just a terrific play and it turned out to be even bigger as Jimenez hit his home run that inning. The White Sox scored three in the inning, but it would have been at least four and likely more without that out. And Kikuchi might have been out of the game.

Jays of the Day (well of the second game of the doubleheader): Merrifield (.240 WPA), Pearson (.229), Bo (.200), Mayza (.167), Vlad (.136, 2 for 5, 2 RBI. I thought about taking it away with the baserunning mistake, but he did drive in the winning run), Jay Jackson (.123, I hope his JoD makes the flight back to Buffalo feel better).

Thomas Hatch has been sent to Buffalo. And Jackson will be going too, making room for Manoah.

The Other Award: Kikuchi (-.255), Varsho (-.206, but the throw was big). Espinal had the number too (-.106), but that’s close enough that the relay saves him from the honour.

Tomorrow the Jays start their last series before the All-Star break. Alek Manoah makes his return. Alex Faedo (1-3, 5.54) starts for the Tigers.