Chris Bassitt outduels Justin Verlander as the Blue Jays blank the Mets 3-0
Photo credit:© Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
By Evan Stack3 months ago
Chris Bassitt is a Blue Jay.
Anticipating the birth of a child and having to wait a bit due to a rain delay, Bassitt dominated the New York Mets in the series opener as the Blue Jays shut out the Mets 3-0. George Springer hit a solo home run in the first inning – a historical homer, at that – and Daulton Varsho provided some critical insurance in the 9th with a two-run blast.
Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Chris Bassitt
There were numerous storylines surrounding Bassitt and his start tonight. For one, his wife was going into labour, so he had a private jet waiting on him after his start to take him back to Toronto (congratulations and best wishes to you, sir). Second, he was facing a team who he had played for in 2022 and had also had good success in their home stadium of Citi Field. For his career entering tonight, Bassitt owned a 2.95 ERA and a WHIP of 1.083 in 16 starts played at the Big Apple.
With those stats being what they were, tonight was par for the course for Bassitt pitching at Citi Field. Save for the complete game shutout he threw on May 12, tonight was arguably the best start he has had as a Blue Jay. He threw 7.2 shutout innings, allowing only three hits, zero walks, and eight strikeouts. He barely had to sweat, as the biggest scoring threats he dealt with were when he stranded runners on the corners with no one out in the 3rd inning, as well as a deep fly ball out from Brandon Nimmo in the 6th inning.
Bassitt retired 14 in a row at one point and 17 of 18 to end his night. He registered whiffs on five different pitches tonight, with five of them coming on the cutter. His sinker was also effective, as one of these pitches was used to punch out Francisco Lindor looking in the 3rd (assisting in stranding those base runners).
Things worth mentioning…
The Blue Jays were facing Justin Verlander tonight, who was making only his sixth start of the season. Verlander has had a mixed bag of starts against Toronto in recent seasons; he threw a no-hitter against them in 2019 but also surrendered home runs to Santiago Espinal and Bradley Zimmer during a 2022 start against the Jays.
George Springer hit his 8th home run of the season on the second pitch of the game, and it also tied him with Alfonso Soriano for second all-time in leadoff home runs. Springer will obviously take over second place with his next leadoff home run, and his next (daunting) task will be catching Rickey Henderson who had 81 career leadoff homers.
Despite Verlander’s season numbers not being as impressive as fans have come to know, Blue Jays hitters weren’t having a fun time against him. Verlander didn’t allow any more runs after the Springer home run, with Dominic Leone and Drew Smith pitching scoreless innings following his outing. Fortunately, Varsho was able to hit the aforementioned two-run homer to add some much-needed insurance in the 9th off of Jeff Brigham. Varsho is now second on the team in home runs with 9 on the year.
Springer and Matt Chapman made a pair of defensive gems against Pete Alonso and Mark Canha, respectively. Chapman robbed Canha of an extra-base hit down the third base line in the 5th with a heads-up catch on a ball hit 107 mph. Springer made a diving catch in the 7th inning off of an Alonso pop-up, much appreciated by Bassitt.
Tim Mayza and Jordan Romano took care of the final inning and a third, with Mayza’s “strikeout” being gifted to him from a pitch clock violation by Nimmo. Nimmo did not come set and make eye contact with the pitcher with 8 seconds left on the clock.
What’s next: The Blue Jays will look to clinch the series win tomorrow afternoon with Jose Berrios on the mound. Tylor Megill will be his opposition. A win tomorrow would mark the third consecutive series win for the Jays.
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