Blue Jays Recap

Grichuk, Blue Jays walk off Atlanta

Down early, the Toronto Blue Jays battled back, then won the game and the series in an extra inning thriller.


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The Blue Jays faced off against Atlanta on Saturday looking for a series win.

 

LHP Travis Bergen (TOR) vs RHP Charlie Morton (ATL)

 

The Blue Jays went with an opener on Saturday in Bergen. Maybe Bergen’s nickname should be boomerang. He keeps leaving the Jays organization but keeps coming back.

 

In the December 2018 rule 5 draft, the Jays lost Bergen to the San Francisco Giants. In August 2019 the Giants DFA’d Bergen and the Jays reacquired him. Then at the August 2020 trade deadline, the Jays traded Bergen to the Diamondbacks for Robbie Ray. February 28, 2021, the Jays traded for Bergen in exchange for cash.

 

37 year old Morton is a 14 year MLB veteran. He is off to a so so start to the 2021 season. Going in to this game he had pitched in 5 games with a 4.76 era and 1.20 WHIP.

 

Marcus Semien started the game on the bench. Left handed hitting Cavan Biggio and Joe Panik played 3B and 2B, respectively.

 

Bergen gave up a one out single to Freddie Freeman on a ball that bounced off the pitching mound but got Marcell Osuza to ground in to an inning ending double play. His night was done.

 

George Springer grounded out to 1B to start the bottom of the frame and as he reached first, grabbed his right quad (the same one that cost him weeks on the IL).  Bichette followed with a one out single. Home plate umpire Vic Carapazza called Vlad Guerrero jr out on a borderline pitch for strike three. Bichette advanced to second on a two out single by Teoscar Hernandez. Cavan Biggio came up with a two out RBI opportunity but unfortunately struck out swinging on a 3-2 count.

 

LHP Tommy Milone replaced Bergen in the top of the 2nd and retired the first two hitters before Dansby Swanson and Pablo Sandoval  hit back to back singles. Austin Riley hit an infield single up the third base line that loaded the bases for Christian Pache who hit a grand slam. 4-0 Atlanta.

 

Ronald Acuna hit a hustle double to CF. The top of the 2nd finally ended when Freeman lined out to Guerrero.

 

Alejandro Kirk led off the bottom of the 3rd with a walk. The first Springer dinger of the season cut the lead in half.  4-2 Atlanta. Guerrero hit a one out single, but Teoscar Hernandez struck out and Cavan Biggio grounded out.

 

Swanson led off the top of the 4th with a single. Milone got Sandoval to fly out to CF, then Montoyo went to RHP Trent Thornton. Thornton proceeded to strike out Riley and Pache to escape the inning unscathed.

 

Acuna led off the 5th with a no doubt HR to left field. 5-2 Atlanta. Ozuna hit a one out single and former Jays catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud singled with two out. Swanson struck out to end the frame and limit the damage.

 

Thornton had a bout of wildness to start the 6th. He walked Sandoval and hit Riley with a pitch. Pache grounded out, runners to 2nd and 3rd. Acuna was given the pitch less intentional walk to load the bases and bring in Tim Mayza for a lefty-lefty matchup against Freeman. The 2020 NL MVP grounded in to an inning ending double play to escape the jam.

 

Morton hit Guerrero with a pitch to start the 6th and Hernandez followed with a walk. Biggio struck out looking on three pitches. Grichuk hit an RBI single to score Guerrero. 5-3 Atlanta.

 

Edgar Santana relieved Morton to face Gurriel jr with one out. Gurriel drove in Hernandez with an RBI double but Grichuk was thrown out at home trying to score the tying run. 5-4 Atlanta. d’Arnaud appeared to injure his hand on the play and was replaced by Alex Jackson.  Panik grounded out to end the inning.

 

Top 7th, Montoyo used a double switch, something you don’t see all that often in the American League with the DH. Alejandro Kirk unfortunately left the game with left hip flexor discomfort. Danny Jansen came in to catch but took Panik’s spot in the batting order. Marcus Semien came in to play 2B and took over Kirk’s spot in the order.  Since Panik had made the last out in the previous inning, Jansen’s spot would be nine batters away. Semien’s wRC+ is 89, not great but far better than Danny Jansen’s wRC+ of -37. Smart move by Montoyo.

 

David Phelps started the 7th. He gave up a one out single on a tricky hop but nothing more.

 

Luke Jackson took over from Santana for Atlanta to pitch the 7th. With one out, Springer hit his second long ball of the night, this one tied the game for the Jays 5-5.

 

Phelps, Tyler Chatwood, Rafael Dolis and Jordan Romano kept Atlanta off the scoreboard through the middle of the 10th. Santiago Espinal replaced George Springer who would have been the runner on second to start the 10th. Bichette lined out, Guerrero was intentionally walked. Hernandez grounded in to a force out, avoiding a double play with hustle running to first. Hernandez then advanced to 2nd on defensive indifference.

 

Biggio was up next and when RHP Nate Jones fell behind him 3-1, they intentionally walked him to load the bases. A curious decision by Atlanta. Whether it was to set up a force out at any base, or the righty righty matchup against Grichuk. Personally I think too much emphasis is placed on matchups (righty lefty vs righty righty) instead of avoiding facing the hotter hitter. Biggio’s wRC + is 76, Girchuk’s is 134.

 

Grichuk made them pay for that decision with a game winning single.  Final score  Toronto 6, Atlanta 5.

 

No doubt the Jays will be monitoring Kirk’s injury closely. It would be a big blow to the team if they lose him for any length of time.

 

Up next – the series finale Sunday May 2nd. First pitch scheduled for 1:07 pm. Jays will be looking for their first series sweep of 2021.

 

 

 

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