With nearly the entire starting rotation on the Injured List, the Blue Jays badly needed a big game from the bullpen against the Red Sox on Wednesday. And that’s exactly what they got.
Things worth mentioning…
- In the series opener on Tuesday, the Blue Jays felt the wrath of Boston’s still-good offence. As bad as the Sox have been this year, they can still hit the ball, and we, unfortunately, got to see that first hand in a 9-7 loss. The bullpen, as we know, has been incredibly taxed this year. Multiple starters are injured and the Jays have had a hard time getting their arms to go deep into games. With a bullpen game scheduled for Friday and no off-day in sight, the Jays needed someone to step up.
- Julian Merryweather got the start as the opener and tossed two excellent innings. Merryweather mixed mostly a fastball (which touched as high as 98.9 mph) and a changeup to great success. He allowed just one hit over his two innings of work while picking up three strikeouts. It looks like you can add Merryweather to the list of young arms who are becoming reliable multi-inning options out of the ‘pen. That’s pretty good for a guy who fans were certain didn’t even exist a few months ago.
Julian Merryweather, Sick Changeup/Fastball combos. pic.twitter.com/guGipLOovM
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 26, 2020
- After that, Shun Yamaguchi came in as the bulk guy. This was the real key to the game on Wednesday. The Jays needed Yamaguchi, a low-leverage guy, to toss multiple innings. Yamaguchi managed to work through four innings, allowing one run (a homer to Mitch Moreland, because of course) while scattering a couple of hits and a couple of walks. Yamaguchi got off to a rough start as a Blue Jay as his first two starts came in unfortunate situations. He got knocked around in back-to-back extra innings losses, but, since then, he’s been rock solid. In the month of August, Yamaguchi has tossed 11 2/3 innings, scattering just two earned runs. The hard-throwing Merryweather and the soft-tossing Yamaguchi could be a nice recipe for success for a bullpen day moving forward.
- Rafael Dolis would pitch a scoreless seventh, Anthony Bass would get through the eighth untouched, and then Sean Reid-Foley would finish the game off in the ninth. Reid-Foley’s outing is worth mentioning because, oh boy, he looked like a legitimate late-inning reliever. Reid-Foley, who generally sits around 92-93 mph when he starts, was hitting 96 with his heater. Everything about him just screams reliever. His demeanour on the mound, his fastball, his slider. Reid-Foley looks like another Jordan Romano out there, which is a great sign.
- While the bullpen arms deserve a lot of praise for the win (they scattered just three hits over nine innings of work), the offence also really showed up on Wednesday. Randal Grichuk hit a first-inning homer, Rowdy Tellez smashed two bombs, and the Jays had a five-run rally in the seventh without hitting a homer, capped by a Vlad Jr. bases-loaded double.
That's ✌️ for Tellez 💥 pic.twitter.com/QMdmKY04lB
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) August 26, 2020