Blue Jays starter Chris Bassitt bounces back in his first start at the Rogers Centre this season

Photo credit:© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Shushkewich
17 days ago
After a strong performance during the Blue Jays home opener, manager John Schneider turned to veteran right-hander Chris Bassitt to keep the win streak alive against a familiar foe in the Seattle Mariners. The Jays entered tonight’s contest with a 5-6 record while the Mariners are 4-7 to start their campaign.
Bassitt’s first two starts this season have not gone the right-hander’s way.
Through 9 1/3 innings, Bassitt has allowed 15 hits, eight earned runs, and five walks against the Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros collectively on the road. His ERA jumped to 7.71 and he was credited with the loss in both outings, although the Jays bats played a hand in the matter as well. The lineup produced just two runs in the Rays game and was shut out by Christian Javier and the Houston Astros in his next start, giving Bassitt limited run support to work with.
His command has been slightly off in both games as well, leaving some pitches a bit too far over the zone that opponents capitalized on. He has allowed one home run in each contest as well. With nine strikeouts under his belt entering tonight’s game, Bassitt was sporting a 6.02 FIP and throwing at a 63% strike rate while not breaking into the sixth inning in either of his starts.

Chris Bassitt hurls a 115-pitch gem in his first outing at the Rogers Centre in 2024

Facing the Mariners, led by center-fielder Julio Rodriguez and Blue Jays killer Cal Raliegh, Bassitt dispatched J.P. Crawford and Rodriguez to start the game before walking Jorge Polanco on seven pitches. The free pass would end up not hurting Bassitt, with the Jays pitcher getting Ty France to strike out swinging on a 93 MPH sinker.
In the third inning, Bassitt found himself in some trouble with a single and a walk putting runners on the bases with Rodriguez up at the plate with just one out. The Jays starter got the upper hand after five pitches, getting the Mariners slugger to ground out to second base on a low sinker and the defence turned two, getting out of the inning. Over the next two innings, Bassitt struck out four batters (all via swing and miss) and found himself in a similar troublesome situation in the sixth inning, runners on first and second with one out. The 35-year-old once again got out of the inning unscathed, getting France and Mitch Haniger to line out and fly out respectively.
The only run allowed by Bassitt came in the top of the seventh, with Dominic Canzone sending a sinker that caught too much of the plate the opposite way and over the wall for a solo home run. He would allow one more single before being replaced by Trevor Richards, with Bassitt leaving the field to a standing ovation.
This was Bassitt’s best start of the year, with the right-hander securing the win with the Blue Jays bats being able to provide him with some offence against a formidable opposing pitcher in George Kirby. He went 6 2/3 innings and allowed just five hits and one earned run compared to eight punchouts, with Bassitt tossing a season-high 115 pitches.
Utilizing over eight different pitches, Bassitt’s sinker led the way at 49 offerings while he mixed in his cutter, slider, sweeper, and curveball for over 10 pitches apiece. He produced 13 whiffs on the day, with four coming via his sinker and three swings and misses coming off his cutter and splitter, which he only threw eight times in the game. He left the game with his ERA dropping to 5.06 on the year and helped the Blue Jays earn their first series win on the season.
The one drawback of this outing was the free passes, with four walks being issued and adding some additional pitches on his evening that likely saw him come out a bit earlier than what we have seen from the veteran pitcher in the past. He has posted a sub-3.0 BB/9 dating back to 2019, so the command issues that have been impacting him early this year are a bit of a new hurdle for the 10-year veteran.
Overall, the Blue Jays are getting some solid outings out of Berríos, Bassitt, and Yusei Kikuchi as of late that have helped the Jays win some ball games when the bats have been struggling at times. Both Kevin Gausman and Bowden Francis were roughed out in their most recent outings and will be looking to right the ship later this week during the Jays’ current homestead, as the Jays take on the Mariners tomorrow with their 6-6 record on the line.

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