Kevin Gausman puts up another quality start, Vladdy hits a ball to the moon, and more as the Blue Jays beat the Royals 6-3
Photo credit:© William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports
By Evan Stack5 months ago
Winning three out of four games in Kansas City was definitely the ideal target for Blue Jays fans, and that’s exactly what they got despite dropping the first game of the series.
Toronto scored early and often while Kevin Gausman threw six scoreless innings and the Blue Jays finished the series strong with a 6-3 win over the Royals in Kansas City. Gausman, who has still yet to allow an earned run this season, only allowed four hits, two walks, and struck out seven. He retired 16 of the first 18 batters he faced, as these past two games have showed that the Blue Jays have two legitimate aces atop their staff.
Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Gausman was outstanding, but what Guerrero is currently doing at the plate is worthy of further conversation. Guerrero was 3-for-5 today, including his second home run in as many games. Last night’s homer was a line drive to right field, but this one was a moon shot into left center. Guerrero’s swing was almost effortless, and he tossed his bat after watching the ball sail 436 feet.
Vladdy also had a pair of singles, pushing his slash line to .407/.500/1.167. While a .400+ batting average is not the expectation from Guerrero (although it would be gladly welcomed), he is turning into a better hitter as the days go on. To put some numbers on that, Guerrero has only one strikeout through the first seven games of the season. For comparison, the first seven games of last season included him striking out eight times.
There’s a long way to go, but this is encouraging from the face of the franchise.
Things worth mentioning
It was a different-looking lineup for the Jays this afternoon, as George Springer’s day off bumped a few guys up a spot in the batting order. Bo Bichette hit leadoff and Whit Merrifield hit fifth – the highest spot he has hit this season. Matt Chapman hit fourth today, and he got the offence started with a two-run double in the first inning.
That meant that the bottom of the order was going to be somewhat weaker, for lack of a better term. Cavan Biggio picked up the slack, as he hit his first home run of the season in the fourth inning off of Jordan Lyles. Biggie’s shot went 400 feet, and it came at a very important time, as Lyles had just retired six batters in a row with four strikeouts.
Kevin Kiermaier said before the season that if he is the 9th man in the order, then he wanted to be the best nine hitter in baseball. He might be earning himself a higher spot in the lineup, though, as he continued to be very productive at the bottom of the order. Kiermiaer had another hit today, bringing his average up to .381, but that hit was more impressive than the “one” that he was given in the box score.
Kiermaier slapped a ball up the middle to shallow center for a hit, but being the nimble base runner that he is, he turned on the gas and stretched it into a double. This put himself in scoring position for Bichette, who cashed him in with an RBI single. Game seven against the Royals may not necessarily depend on plays like that, but Kiermaier’s hustle could very easily win the Blue Jays some games this season.
Like Guerrero Jr.’s home run swing, Gausman pitched almost effortlessly today with his dominant pitch mix of the fastball, splitter, and the occasional slider.
Brandon Belt and Trevor Richards were the “downs” in today’s game, with Belt having a prolonged issue of strikeouts; Belt has struck out 12 times through five games already.
Richards had a rough outing out of the pen, allowing two hits, a walk, and three earned runs without recording an out. Richards came in with the Jays leading 6-0, so it was an ideal low-leverage situation for Richards to collect some outs. Unfortunately, he made things interesting, and we’re already seeing some talk on Blue Jays Twitter about moving on from Richards. While that may sound harsh, bullpen depth is something the Blue Jays have a lot of, so they won’t hesitate to call up an arm from Buffalo if they feel he can help the team in more ways than Richards can.
The Blue Jays kick off their last series of this road stretch in Anaheim tomorrow, with Chris Bassitt looking to lower his nasty 24.30 ERA and make some strides after his first start in St. Louis.
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