Photo credit:Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Daulton Varsho’s home run lands in the Allegheny River, Brandon Belt stays hot, and more as the Blue Jays beat the Pirates 10-1!
9 months ago
The five-game losing streak appears to be in the rear view mirror for the Blue Jays.
As you know, the Jays lost a heartbreaker against the Mariners in the last game of the series, before losing quite a few close games at Fenway as they were swept by the Boston Red Sox.
Thankfully, the Jays said no more, as they visited the National League Central leading Pittsburgh Pirates (please re-align the divisions). They completed the sweep on Sunday afternoon, winning by the score of 10-1. Let’s look at the Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game, as well as things worth mentioning.
Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Whit Merrifield
Unlike me, Whit Merrifield has found his pre-COVID form as he looks like he did when he received MVP votes.
So far this season, the 34-year-old second baseman/outfielder is slashing .294/.345/.412 with a 7.1 BB% and a 16.8 K% in 113 plate appearances.
Well, on Sunday afternoon, he had a two hit, four RBI performance. The first RBI came on an infield single with the bases loaded. For his second, third, and fourth RBIs of the game, he pulled a flyball over the left field fence. This was his first homer of the season, and Merrifield was responsible for four of the ten runs that the Jays hit (originally it was four of the five before a huge outburst in the ninth inning).
I covered the trade deadline deal in one of my latest articles, which you can read here.
Merrifield has solidified himself as the Blue Jays starting second baseman, and it’s well deserved.
Things worth mentioning:
Yusei Kikuchi was in contention for the Player of the Game as well. The 31-year-old pitched 6.1 scoreless innings, finishing with a 6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K line. Moreover, his ERA dropped to 3.35, while his FIP sits at 5.09. My only concern with the lefty is the significant drop in his K%, as it sat at 27.3% last season, but is now down to 21.6%. However, it’s hard to complain about his 5.2 BB%, which is down from 12.8% last season. Pretty good start to his season.
Brandon Belt has suddenly found his game. The start of the season wasn’t kind to Belt, as he slashed .161/.235/.274 with a homer and an 8.8 BB% and a 44.1 K% in 68 plate appearances between the start of the season and May 1st. Before coming into Sunday, he had slashed .600/.714/1.000 with two doubles in 7 plate appearances in his past two games. He continued his hot mini-stretch on Sunday, finishing the game with three hits in 5 plate appearances, while also drawing a walk. With Vladimir Guerrero Jr. down with left wrist soreness, Belt needs to take advantage of the at-bats. One of those hits was a sharply hit single, which was inches away from being his second homer of the season.
Yimi García may have played himself out of high-leverage situations on Sunday afternoon, or at the very least, shown he can’t be trusted with more than an inning. He replaced Yusei Kikuchi in the seventh inning, generating a groundout, before getting catcher Jason Delay to strikeout. The eighth inning wasn’t as kind to García, as he allowed a single, got a flyout, but then allowed a double and a single to make it a 5-1 game.
Jordan Romano could have gotten the save, but didn’t appear in the ninth inning after a five-run outburst by the Jays. With that being said, the Canadian came into the game in the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded and tying run at the plate. He generated a strikeout and a popup. Great stuff.
Daulton Varsho hit a ball into the Allegheny River, and is the first Blue Jay to do so. As of September 6th, 2022, only 67 batters have put a ball into the river in a game. Not sure if it’s happened since, but Varsho truly showed off his great power.
Kevin Kiermaier hit his second homer of the season, as he took Chase De Jong deep. It was the cherry on the top of a huge top of the ninth that saw the Jays expand their lead from 5-1 to 10-1.
Nate Pearson appeared in his fourth game of the season, striking out a batter and allowing a single. In his 5.1 innings pitched, he has yet to give up an earned run or a walk, and he has a 1.67 FIP for the season. He may be optioned when Mitch White is healthy, but keeping the Large Adult Son up would be nice.
The Jays will have an off day on Monday, before returning to action on Tuesday, May 9th in Philadelphia for two games.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D.
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