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Photo Credit: © Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday’s huge win overshadowed by Sunday’s frustrating loss

About two months ago, I wrote an article that said the phrase “get bullpen help” a thousand times. While I won’t be doing that for this article, the point still stands.

I’m currently writing this in the bottom of the seventh. Thus far, the Jays are 1-13 with runners in scoring position. This includes three separate times with no outs early in the game. In fact, their offense only started to pick up after the third time through the order against Rich Hill.

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Things worth mentioning

Top of the 6th

The Jays scored three runs to make it 3-1, yet it was still quite painful to watch. Springer got hit with a 69 mph curveball on a 3-2 count. Not the pain I was talking about, but nice. Vlad hit a rocket off the wall for a single. Semien walked and the Jays had the bases loaded for Bichette.

Hill was taken out of the game and Bichette hit a two run single off of Lugo. The start of the pain kicks in now. Teo hits a tailor made double play ball which would have scored a run, but the Mets third basemen decided to go home with it for no reason and Semien was safe.

The Jays now have runners on first and second still with no outs for Randal Grichuk. With the Mets about to collapse, Grichuk strikes out on four pitches and doesn’t advance the runners.

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Espinal swings at the first pitch and flys out to center. Had Grichuk moved the runner at second, this likely would have scored them a fourth run. Kirk, who at the time was 2-2, also flew out. 

The Jays put up a three-spot. Mets put up a four spot.

Bottom of the 6th

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Ross Stripling (who’ll I’ll get to) was taken out for Ryan Borucki. Solid move. Borucki, who I like very much, didn’t have it in this game. He got the first out, then walked Conforto. Pete Alonso obviously tied the game with a 2 run shot.

After .1 IP, Borucki is pulled for Jacob Barnes to pitch against his former team. It did not go well. Out of his first 5 pitches, three of them were strikes. However, since O’Nora is calling balls and strikes and not a robot ump, this was a five pitch walk. While that is some type of bullcrap, giving up a single and then a double. This hurts even more as Barnes was up 0-2 against the batter.

Bottom of the 7th

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After Barnes, Mayza came in. He got the last out of the bottom of the 6th, but struggled in the bottom of the seventh as he only recorded one out while giving up a walk and a hit. In came Trent Thornton to face Pete Alonso.

If your reaction to that was “oh no”, you are wrong. Butters got him out as well as the final out of the inning, holding the game to 5-3.

Top of the 8th

In the second paragraph, I mentioned that the Jays were 1-13. In the top of the 8th, they scored an extra run to bring them within one.As I write this in the bottom of the 8th, the Jays have gone 3-17 with runners in scoring position today. That’s still not good enough, especially when you have the bases loaded with one out.

The inning started off nicely. Semien doubled, Bichette singled, Hernandez singled, scoring Semien. Next was Grichuk who had a productive at bat as he hit a sac fly which allowed both Bichette and Hernandez to gain an extra base. Gurriel pinch hit for the pitcher’s spot and was intentionally walked.

The Jays had the bases loaded for Kirk who popped up on the first pitch. Not great. Next, Biggio hit a flyout, killing the rally.

The 9th inning

Dolis threw a clean 8th inning. This is nice to see. However, they again failed to cash in a run with a runner in scoring position. They had the top of the lineup batting. Springer struck out, Vlad walked and Semien struck out. That means it was down to Bo Bichette. On the first pitch, Diaz over cooked a fastball throwing a wild pitch allowing Vlad to move to second. This didn’t matter however, as Bichette struck out on a 3-2 slider way off the plate.

Individual performances

Lastly, I just want to go over two individual players to wrap up this article.

Ross Stripling

Stripling definitely rebounded as he pitched 5 innings giving up only 1 ER. He had 6 strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter. I’m fairly certain that Boston has something on him, but other than facing Boston, he’s been great since his May 24th game.

Alejandro Kirk

Overall he had a positive game, going 2-4 and throwing out two base runners, but there were some negatives. After Kirk reached base with a single, Stripling was up to bat. Since the NL has dumb rules, Stripling was going to lay down a sac bunt but pulled the bat back. Kirk didn’t recognize this in time and was thrown out returning to first base.

Before the Pete Alonso homer, he also allowed a wild pitch allowing Conforto to move to second. While it was scored a wild pitch, this could have also been scored as a passed ball. He had some nice blocks in this game, but Kirk needs to work on blocking.

I already mentioned this, but he had a bases loaded opportunity with one out. He popped up on the infield on the first pitch. This likely is due to him being a rookie but that’s still tough to watch.

Conclusion

For as good as this team is offensively, they sure do struggle to find their bats on some occasions. They got shutout in the first game of the series, blew out the second game and then struggled to cash in with runners in scoring position. Not just that, but it was the first time in a month that the bullpen blew a game.

To be a contender, this has to be addressed. If the Jays get swept by Boston, the division is far out of reach. Currently they sit 8.5 games behind the Red Sox, falling behind 12.5 games will spell the end of that pursuit. The Wildcard is the best bet for the Jays this season.

As always, follow me on twitter @Brennan_L_D.