Orioles 7 at Blue Jays 3
Another fun start from Yusei Kikuchi. Funny in the sense that “funny” starts with the same two letters as a much more proper adjective, but that’s about as close as I can safely get. Still, another ugly loss for the Blue Jays to the Orioles that taxed the bullpen, and largely just dragged on, more than two hours through the excruciating first five innings before thankfully picking up speed. The heatwave of August, in truth and in fact.
As is often the case, Kikuchi got off to a lopsided start with a long 23-pitch first inning, though he was a bit sore from giving up one run. He caught Ryan McKenna on an 0-2 count early, but the glorified popup fell down the right-field line just past Vladdy. One batter later, Anthony Santander singled him up the middle, and then came the patented walk of nine to Ryan Mountcastle.
Though with about 45 minutes of hindsight, that probably wasn’t the worst of it. Kikuchi got the next two to finish the inning without further damage. The Blue Jays threatened in the second after Bo Bichette drove a long walk on his own to Kyle Bradish followed by Matt Chapman who dropped a ball to left field to put runners on the corners with one out, but ultimately the order could not. drive the tie race. via.
Kikuchi easily caught the first two batters in the third, but was unable to finish off Anthony Santander at 2-2 and walked him. Either Buck or Dan noted at 3-2 that you didn’t want to do that with Mountcastle, Jay’s killer, on deck. It took exactly one pitch for that to prove prophetic, as Kikuchi left a belt-high fastball in the inside corner and Mountcastle spun it and blasted it to the second level for the Orioles’ 3-0 lead.
The Blue Jays hit back with those two runs in the bottom of the inning, but left money on the table by not getting even more. Walks to Danny Jansen and Vladdy were sandwiched around George Springer bending the third-base line to load the bases with no outs. Lourdes Gurriel singled to extend the play and set up the top two, but like Pickett’s Charge, it turned out to be a highlight that quickly receded. Teoscar Hernandez followed up with a strikeout and Bo Bichette finished off the rally with a routine GIDP.
Then things got complicated on Day 4, both for the team and for Kikuchi in particular. He started out innocuously enough, with a fairly routine strikeout and ground ball. But Bichette handled it poorly, apparently taking his recent problems at the plate to the field as he did in late April. Kikuchi took it from there, issuing another walk and then throwing a pickoff pitch to advance runners.
The Blue Jays came into the frame to try to cut off another run, but Tyler Nevin smashed a gliner that Bichette was lucky to catch on the short jumper (I initially thought he caught it on the fly), but couldn’t get the ball home. weather. McKenna punctuated Kikuchi’s night with another double, this time a legitimate hit up center to chase down Kikuchi at 5-2. He didn’t get any favors, but 3.1 innings, 4 hits, 3 walks and 3 strikeouts is pretty par for the course/usual mess.
Going into TL;DR mode (or more accurately, I don’t want to write anymore; is TL;DWtWM a thing?), Trevor Richards worked seven messy and inefficient hitters, allowing two sacrifice flies (the first inherited, the second his own). ). ). He was followed by Trent Thornton, Zach Pop and Adam Cimber, each working around a few running backs to keep the Orioles off the board relatively quickly.
The Blue Jays staged a brief rally in the bottom of the fifth, with Vladimir Guerrero firing a high solo shot followed by a single by Gurriel and Bichette to chase down Bradish. Chapman flied out on old friend Bryan Baker’s first pitch. They went down in order the next three innings until Vladdy snuffed out another minor detail in the ninth by hitting a double play to end it.
So it goes.
jays of the day: Springer (+0.130 WPA) and Gurriel (+0.111), both with two hits.
suction: Kikuchi (-0.400), Bichette (-0.110, plus the error), Teoscar (-0.129). And one to the MLB schedulers for further unbalancing an already too unbalanced schedule for the Blue Jays to get a ton against the Orioles after they’re not only good but red hot. I already surpassed this type of games against them.
Tomorrow, the Blue Jays will look to even the series with Alek Manoah facing Dean Kremer at the same 7:05 EDT start time. On the plus side, it can’t get any worse than tonight… right?