Matz had a no-hitter through 5 innings … but under MLB rules, a 7-inning no-hitter is not an official no-hitter anyway. Still, a strong 5-1 win is nothing to sneeze at!
Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase
The Toronto Blue Jays did a lot of things right in their 5-1 win in the first game of today’s double-header against Kansas City.
Start with the pitching. Steven Matz had a no-hitter through five innings, and finished with 6 full innings with only 2 hits and one earned run. He is now 3-0 on the season. Matz has always had good stuff, but the control and command he is showing this year is outstanding – reminiscent of his excellent 2015-16. In his first three games this season, Matz has pitched 6 innings or better in every game and has allowed an aggregate of 3 runs in 18 innings, for a holy-cow-Batman 1.50 ERA. Rafael Dolis started the 7th with a walk and a hit-by-pitch, but settled down (with the help of some good defense) to close it out. As it was the first game of a doubleheader, this game ended after 7 innings.
The bats were also strong. Marcus Semien and Bo Bichette led off the game with outs, but (with two out) Vladdy and Randall followed with singles. With men on first and second and two out, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit a double off the top of the left field wall that just missed being a home run. So the Jays led 2-0 before Matz made his first pitch. The Jays added runs from home runs by Vladdy and Jonathan Davis (a 107 mph shot for his first hit of the year!), and a Marcus Semien sacrifice fly in the top of the 7th. And the Jays only struck out five times – far less than they have averaged to date.
But the real eye-opener of the game might be the defense. Major kudos to Santiago Espinal, playing third in the place of Cavan Biggio (whose injured finger is still not 100%). Espinal put on a clinic at third, making plays on show grounders and hot shots, including a 5-4 double play (Espinal to Semien) that left Marcus smiling at how close the Jays came to a triple play. Jonathan Davis was also at the top of his game, going 2-for-3 with some smart baserunning and a strong running catch in centre. And Vladdy continues to impress with his development at first base. In the bottom of the 4th, Whit Merrifield hit a foul pop to shallow right field. Vladdy was so fast getting back that Randall could not make the catch. This is the good kind of “mistake”.
Bottom line? This game, the Jays looked like a playoff team. They did everything right – including the “little things” that they have been struggling with so far this season. It is only one game, granted, but it gave us a glimpse of what this young team could be … and a reminder not to forget the upside of players like Davis and Espinal. And if the Jays can play like this without Springer, Biggio, or Hernandez – and with more than half of their top bullpen arms unavailable – it is fun to imagine how could they could be when they can field a healthy roster.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
HEAD ON OVER TO THE JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS STORE AND GET SOME GREAT SWAG THAT YOU WILL LOOK GREAT IN AND YOU CAN FEEL GREAT ABOUT.
YOU CAN ALSO HEAD TO OUR JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS FUNDRAISING PAGE TO MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION DIRECTLY TO ALS CANADA.
THANK YOU FOR VISITING JAYS FROM THE COUCH! CHECK US OUT ON TWITTER @JAYSFROMCOUCH AND LIKE US FACEBOOK. BE SURE TO CATCH THE LATEST FROM JAYS FROM THE COUCH RADIO
* * * * *
* * * * *
Jays From the Couch
Quality Toronto #BlueJays News, Analysis and Coverage | Streaming LIVE Sundays at 7pmET | Follow us on Twitter @JaysFromCouch
A Jays fan since pre-Series, Jim’s biggest baseball regret is that he did not play hooky with his buddies on 7 Apr 77. But hearing “Fanfare For The Common Man” played from a rooftop on 24 Oct 92 helped him atone.