Chris Bassitt destroys a tablet, Bo Bichette hits a bomb, but the Blue Jays choke the series finale against Seattle
Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
By Evan Stack7 months ago
It was quite the up-and-down affair this afternoon, as Seattle stole the final game of the weekend series 10-8 in 10 innings to avoid the sweep in Toronto.
Both teams scored in bunches of unanswered runs; Taylor Trammell hit a first inning grand slam to put Seattle ahead 4-0, but the Blue Jays answered with 8 runs over the next three innings to reestablish control over the game. Seattle would climb back over the course of the remaining frames, scoring six runs between the 6th and 10th inning against Toronto’s relievers.
Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Matt Chapman
There were a few, but Chapman was one of Toronto’s offensive catalysts this afternoon. His two-run double put the Blue Jays on the board in the bottom of the first, part of a 3-for-5 day with two doubles and those two RBIs. His second double led off the bottom of the 9th and served as the winning run, but the Jays were unable to capitalize.
Chapman’s afternoon keeps him atop the American League lead in batting average (.384), hits (38), and doubles (15).
Things worth mentioning
Chris Bassitt: Bassitt was solid depending on how you look at it. He went five innings, only allowed two hits, and struck out seven. Conversely, he walked four and gave up four earned runs. There is a lot of context involved with this, as all four of those runs were from Trammell’s grand slam in the opening inning.
Bassitt struck out the first two batters of the game, but it was after that that things went awry. He then walked both Jarred Kelenic and Cal Raleigh, but both of them got away with a couple of missed strike-three calls that could have changed the complexity of the entire inning (as well as the game). Both questionable calls were on 2-2 pitches, and both of them were on sinkers that clearly caught the inside part of the plate. Both at-bats also resulted in walks. Unfortunately, neither of the calls went Bassitt’s way, and after hitting Teoscar Hernandez, he gave up the grand slam to Trammell. It was Trammell’s first at-bat of the season.
Umpires missing calls are a part of the game, but this particular debacle really threw Bassitt into a mess. Had the 2-2 pitch to Kelenic been called a strike, Bassitt would’ve only had to throw 15 pitches that inning, and the grand slam might not have ever happened.
After the inning, Sportsnet cameras caught Bassitt watching replays on a tablet in the dugout, followed by a mini tantrum of Bassitt hurling said tablet on one of the benches. Whether it was the missed calls, the grand slam, or both, the frustration was very valid.
Bassitt responded nicely afterwards, as he retired 12 of the next 14 batters to complete five innings of work. His final line was 5 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, and 7 K’s. It was quite the veteran move for him to collect himself and make the best out of a chaotic opening inning.
Offensive surge in the early innings: Toronto’s offence picked Bassitt up immediately after Seattle stormed ahead, as they scored runs in the first, second, and third innings to sway the game in their favour. I mentioned Chapman’s double in the first inning that got two runs, but the loudest hit of the game was Bo Bichette’s three-run nuke to center field that gave Toronto a 5-4 lead in the second inning. The homer went 460 feet and 113 mph off the bat, making it the second-longest and hardest-hit home run of his career.
Toronto tacked on three more runs in the third, as an RBI double from Danny Jansen and a two-run single from Santiago Espinal inevitably ended the day for Marco Gonzales.
Teoscar Hernandez with a familiar sight: The game slowed down some after that, but Hernandez smacked a solo home run to right field in the 6th inning to pull Seattle within three. That home run ended a nightmarish return to Toronto for Teo, as he entered today’s game 0-for-8 with 7 strikeouts on the series.
While it may feel like it, it was not the first time that Hernandez hit a home run against the Blue Jays as an opponent. His very first major league home run was in 2016 off of Francisco Liriano at Rogers Centre.
Bullpen blunder: The Blue Jays were unable to maintain their lead, as Trevor Richards, Anthony Bass, Yimi Garcia, and Zach Pop all allowed at least one run in their outings. Richards gave up the Hernandez homer, which drew some scrutiny as to why he challenged Teo with a fastball in the upper part of the zone given he couldn’t hit anything low and away all series.
Bass was given the 8th inning, but he surrendered a two-run home run to Raleigh (who seems to have Toronto’s number) to pull the Mariners within a run. Garcia cleaned up the 8th and was delegated to close the game, but he allowed a leadoff walk to come around to score in the 9th to tie the game. Garcia got JP Crawford to an 0-2 count with two outs, but Crawford came through with a clutch hit versus a breaking ball to even things up.
Pop being put into the game in the 10th received some questioning. He faced two lefties to start the inning, with one of them being Raleigh. We can assume that Jordan Romano was unavailable today since he pitched each of the last two games, but Tim Mayza was a likely candidate to be given the 10th due to the matchup. Furthermore, Mayza had yesterday off.
Pop has been really good this year, too, so we can’t entirely jump on the move to go with him. Unfortunately, Raleigh smoked his second home run of the game to put Seattle ahead 10-8.
The Blue Jays missed out on a great opportunity to sweep a good team, and now they travel to Boston for a four-game series starting tomorrow evening. Jose Berrios gets the nod against Corey Kluber, an arm that the Blue Jays have seen several times before.
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