The Blue Jays got a solid start from Matz that went for naught. Poor pitching and decision making cost a series sweep
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The Toronto Blue Jays made quick work of the Sunday double header, beating Cleveland and guaranteeing themselves a series win. The second game of the day saw Steve Matz take the mound, looking to do his part to provide further relief to the bullpen.
Steve Matz (6-2, 4.28) vs Sam Hentges (1-1, 5.91)
The first inning of this game went by in the blink of an eye. Both starters worked quickly, throwing strikes. The second inning saw Hentges get into some trouble, walking Randal Grichuk and allowing a single to Santiago Espinal. But it didn’t matter. At the end of two innings, Toronto had nothing going on against Hentges.
Matz made quick work of Cleveland’s lineup in the first, but hit former Jay, Harold Ramirez on his front foot with an 80mph curveball in a 3-2 count. Early in the contest, Matz felt good about his curveball as he used it quite a bit and hitting a batter didn’t cause him to shy away from it. His fastball also looked good early on. He needed 27 pitches to complete the first two innings.
The top of the third inning saw MArcus Semien work a one out walk and Bo Bichette lined a single to the opposite field, which is something that he’s become quite good at this season. Runners on first and second for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. A wild pitch allowed the runners to move up 90 feet each. Vlad earned himself a walk to load the bases for Teoscar Hernandez, who already hit a home run this day. His moon shot in the first game was fresh in everyone’s memories. He JUST missed another one. Instead, he cleared the bases with a double off the right center wall. Randal Grichuk played ‘anything you can do, I can do better’ with a double off the left field wall to score Hernandez. That knocked Hentges out of the game. 4-0 Blue Jays.
Early in the broadcast, Dan and Buck were discussing the team’s faith in Vlad someday competing for a Gold Glove at first base. Well, the bottom of the third saw him turn a clean, crisp, challenging double play. A sharp ground ball to him and he touched first and threw to second to get the runner. It sounds like a basic play, but the ease with which he did it was very impressive, not reminiscent of someone learning and uncomfortable with the position. He made an even more impressive play in the 5th on a sharp ground ball that he he had to beat the runner to the bag. He sprinted and dove for the bag to record the out.
Matz continued to roll through the 5th inning. He’d held Cleveland to just one hit while striking out 4 on 59 pitches. He did get some help from his defense, but Matz deserves a lot of credit for keeping the opposing hitters off balance, even if they are a struggling team. He did not walk a batter in the first five innings.
Santiago Espinal made an error on what seemed like an easy grounder. That allowed Yu Chang to reach. The next hitter, Rene Rivera smoked a double to right center to score Chang. Cesar Hernandez followed with a single, Rivera to third. Amed Rosario hit a come backer that went off Matz’ glove to allow Rivera to score. This knocked Matz out of the game. After absolutely cruising through 5 innings, Matz ran into trouble. Tyler Chatwood came on to protect a 4-2 lead. Matz final line: 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 4 K. He deserved better.
Chatwood immediately gave up a single to Jose Ramirez to plate another run. Still nobody out. Harold Ramirez hit into a double play, but that scored the tying run. Chatwood would then walk Eddie Rosario. Rosario stole second. The inning ended there, but not before a brand new ball game presented itself. 4-4.
The top of the 7th saw Jonathan Davis lead off with a walk. Danny Jansen bunted Davis to second and Blue Jays’ early MVP, Marcus Semien laced a single to CF that scored Davis to take the lead back. Oddly, the events of the top of the inning did not prompt Charlie Montoyo to get another reliever warming. Despitee having a hard time finding the strike zone, Montoyo sent a clear message that he believes in Chatwwod. Chatwood got one out, walked Chang and walked Bradley Zimmer. Still no one warming in the bullpen. He would go 3-0 on the next batter and THEN Montoyo got Anthony Castro up and warming.
The third walk in a row loaded the bases and the FOURTH walk in a row tied the game and finally brought Monotoyo out to change the pitcher. Being the bottom of the 7th, there is no logical reason Montoyo waited this long to deal with Chatwood’s inability to throw strikes. This might be the worst example of his bullpen management we’ve seen from Charlie. Castro was able to get two strikes on Jose Ramirez, but he lined a sac fly to right that scored the runner and the game was over.
Toronto Blue Jays: 5 R, 5 H, 1 E
Cleveland: 6 R, 5 H, 0 E
Toronto now heads to Buffalo for the first time this season to host the Miami Marlins starting on Tuesday night.
*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.