The Toronto Blue Jays dropped the first game of the series against the Royals thanks to some shoddy defense
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The Toronto Blue Jays strolled into Kansas City to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, fresh off a series win against the Yankees. They must have been late getting to the ballpark because they waited a while to put out their lineup and announce their starting pitcher. With a rotation in a bit of an array, Anthony Kay was given the nod, the first of 4 straight lefty starters.
One inning in and the Blue Jays employed some questionable defensive positioning. With Whitt Merrifield on first and Andrew Benintendi at the plate, Toronto decided to employ a version of the shift and when Benny collected two strikes, the shift became more exaggerated. It seemed suspect since the former Red Sox outfielder is skilled at going the other way. He did and it seemed like Lourdes Gurriel Jr.came from Missouri to chase that ball down. He must have been hugging the line so tightly, it couldn’t breathe. Chasing the ball down allowed Merrifield to score the first run of the game. 1-0 KC.
The defensive woes would stick around, this time as a direct result of players, rather than the positioning. First, Bo Bichette managed to flag down a grounder on the grass, but made an ill advised throw to first. No damage was done. Not until a flay ball went down the left field line and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.dove (for some reason) and landed a mile away from the ball. Cavan Biggio would follow that with a grounder off his glove. To be fair, we can’t blame the glove. His feet were ready to make a throw to first before he had the ball. Three bad plays, 2 more runs. 3-0 KC.
Anthony Kay was pulled in the 4th inning having his own team run up his pitch count. His line: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3K
Tanner Roark‘s bullpen banishment took a break as he was brought in after Kay. Biggio must have felt like sharing the (g)love as he committed another error at third. 7-0 KC end of 4.
After a rough night in the field, Biggio was pulled off the field and Joe Panik came on to play the hot corner to begin the 5th inning. Actually, if we’re being fair, the replay showed that the ball actually hit Biggio’s bare hand and being a cold night in KC, he was likely pulled because of that and not his errors. Panik would drive in Vlad and Bo for Toronto’s first runs of the game. A walk, a wild pitch, a single, a sac fly later and the Blue Jays scored 4 runs. 7-4 KC.
Vlad continued his hot start to the 2021 season with three more hits Thursday night, a triple shy of the cycle. His third hit was an absolute monster shot to CF that put the Blue Jays within 2. 7-5 KC.
VLADIMIR GUERRERO JR. HOME RUN SZN
That's the longest home run of his career! pic.twitter.com/WXrUqA3yDC
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 16, 2021
The top of the 9th inning saw Alejandro Kirk pinch hit for Danny Jansen. Kirk would single to CF. He was followed by Marcus Semien, who singled to left. That brought Bichette to the plate with one out and two runners on…and Vlad waiting on deck. Bichette popped it up the proverbial elevator shaft for an infield fly. Enter Vlad, who hit the longest home run of his career in his last at bat. He would take two questionable called strikes to build suspense. He ended up chasing a ball in the dirt for the third strike. Final: 7-5 Royals.
The fact that Toronto made a game of what started off to be a very ugly contest is some kind of positive. The bats did their best to get the team back into it and Tanner Roark did his job rather nicely. It wasn’t enough to overcome the early deficit, though.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.