BJN Radio – Ep. 149: Rowdy’s return, praise for the bullpen, and more!

The Blue Jays took two of three games from the Brewers this week, giving them back-to-back series wins for the first time since April.

We talked about Rowdy Tellez making his first return to Toronto since being traded a couple of years ago and the excellent pitching the Blue Jays have been getting from their bullpen lately. We also talked about the strong play of Kevin Gausman and Bo Bichette and if they’ll be in the mix for some individual awards at the end of the season.
After that, we took a look around the American League East and ahead to the upcoming series with the New York Mets.
You can listen to the episode here…


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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays rally in the ninth inning but come up short in 9-7 loss to Twins

The Blue Jays are back in the loss column.

After picking up a 3-1 win behind a strong start from Kevin Gausman in the series-opener on Friday, the Twins scored seven runs off of Chris Bassitt on Saturday afternoon en route to a 9-7 victory.
Things worth mentioning…

This was the first rough start for Chris Bassitt in quite some time. He had allowed just two earned runs over 29 1/3 innings pitched during the month of May and wound up getting tagged for seven earned runs on nine hits and two walks by the Twins on Saturday. It was just the second time in 11 outings this season that Bassitt wasn’t able to record a quality start.
Daulton Varsho had himself a frustrating inning in centre field in the fifth. Willi Castro smashed a ball to centre field, Varsho retreated to the wall to catch it, and it bounced out of his glove and over the wall for a home run. Varsho immediately had a chance to redeem himself as Matt Wallner came up next and hit another ball to deep centre field but he wasn’t able to reel it in at the fence. Neither of those are easy plays for a fielder to make but it’s frustrating that the three runs scored on those two homers wound up being the difference.
Bo Bichette was the catalyst offensively for the Blue Jays. He hit a solo homer in the first inning, drove in two runs with a triple in the third, and drov …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays are now in last in the American League East after being swept by the Orioles

The Blue Jays’ 10-game homestand started out well but wound up being a disaster.

They swept the Atlanta Braves last weekend to kick things off and then dropped three of four games to the New York Yankees. And then the Baltimore Orioles rolled into town and pulled off a sweep with back-to-back extra-innings wins.
The 8-3 loss on Sunday was a heartbreaker just like on Saturday. The Orioles pulled ahead with a run in the 10th inning but Whit Merrifield kept the game alive in the bottom half with an RBI single. In the top of the 11th, Baltimore then went ahead and exploded with five runs.

No Orioles trash bin image this weekend. The Blue Jays are the Trash Birds until further notice
— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) May 21, 2023

Things worth mentioning…

Kevin Gausman did his part to help the Blue Jays avoid the sweep. He tossed a season-high eight innings and scattered just two earned runs against his former club. Nate Pearson came into the game and tossed a scoreless ninth inning and allowed an unearned run in the top of the 10th. The five runs in the 11th were all charged to Yimi Garcia, who was pitching his fourth game in five days.
The frustrating part of this game was that the Blue Jays had plenty of chances but they were miserable with runners in scoring position. They had runners on first and third in the first inning and couldn’t push one across, they had two different double plays kill rallies, and they managed just one run when the middle of the order came up in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and only one out.

6-for-63 with RISP over the last six games and people blaming the bullpen. #Bluejays
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnernes …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays squander a chance to win in the eighth inning, as they fall 6-5 to the Baltimore Orioles

Well, that’s not what you like to see.

The Jays have now lost five of their last six games, as well as losing 12 of their last 19 games. Not what you want to see in the ultra competitive American League East.
With that being said, let’s look at the Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game, as well as things worth mentioning.
Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Santiago Espinal
As you may know, Santiago Espinal has had a rough start to the 2023 season. Coming into Saturday’s game, he was slashing .171/.237/.229 with one homer and a wRC+ of 31. He also had a -0.4 fWAR, down from a 2.3 fWAR in 2022.

Santiago Espinal’s double
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) May 20, 2023

Saturday’s game was a good start to righting his season, as he went three for three in the game, along with a stolen base. After the game, he raised his slash line to .205/.266/.274, along with a 52 wRC+.
Sadly, he was pulled from the game while stealing second due to right hamstring discomfort. It’s too be seen if Espinal will land on the injured list, but it sucks to see someone who was struggling to have a good game, just to end up injured.

UPDATE: INF Santiago Espinal left today’s game with right hamstring discomfort.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 20, 2023

Things worth mentioning:
Alek Manoah had his first good start in a while. The 25-year-old had a line of 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 5 K, 1 BB. However, both earned runs were rather lucky, as a line drive was hit to George Springer, who missed the ball, giving the batter a triple with no outs. The second earned run came on a wall scraping homer, which barely went out, as the Blue Jays …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

News and Notes: Chris Bassitt throws another gem, Blue Jays have some upcoming roster decisions, and more

Blue Jays right-hander Chris Bassitt was tasked with righting the ship against the New York Yankees, as the Jays were looking to try and get their first win in the series after dropping the previous two fun-filled affairs that had lots of drama including coaches yelling at each other, Aaron Boone getting ejected, Domingo German playing with sticky stuff (and also getting ejected), and the Aaron Judge debacle.

Bassitt was riding a 20-inning scoreless streak coming into today’s contest and the former Mets starter was outstanding against the Bronx Bombers, going seven innings while allowing just three hits and one walk to the tune of zero earned runs with seven strikeouts. More impressively was the fact that Bassitt appeared to be battling something physically, whether it be the back issue that limited him in a previous outing or the stomach bug currently going around in the clubhouse, yet he still made a fantastic play at first base to tag Jose Trevino and end the inning.
The Ohio product put the Jays in the best spot to win the game but the bats struggled to get him any run support, as Yankees starter Gerrit Cole allowed seven hits but put up zero earned runs with six strikeouts and really stymied the Blue Jays bats, who struggled to bring around runners in scoring position all evening. After this last appearance, Bassitt is currently at 27 innings of scorel …

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Author: Tyson Shushkewich / Blue Jays Nation

High-event seventh inning swings in Blue Jays’ favour as they outmatch Braves 5-2

Saturday’s showdown between the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves felt like an unpredictable movie thriller. Just as the storyline was about to turn in one direction, it swung the opposite way. The opening featured a slow burn, as any good film does. But when the climax arrived, it didn’t pull any punches.
And thankfully for the home team, they avoided disaster multiple times before ultimately coming out on top in this afternoon affair, which kept baseball fans on the edge of their seats all game.
José Berríos, carrying a 4.91 ERA into his eighth start of the season, looked like his 2021 self early on, tossing a spotless first inning. He gave the home crowd a jump scare in the second, though, allowing a two-run shot off Marcell Ozuna’s bat after leaving a fastball over the heart of the plate – one of many instances where his command was far from pinpoint.
That translated into three walks on the day for Berríos. But he made quality pitches when he had to. And when he found himself in trouble, the Blue Jays right-hander trusted his defence to bail him out, which they did on numerous occasions.
George Springer, in particular, made one of his best catches of the season in right …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays snap losing streak with 4-0 win over the Pirates

The Blue Jays are back in the win column.

They had been mired in a five-game losing streak that started with a blown lead last weekend against the Mariners and carried all the way through a four-game set at Fenway and it was snapped with an impressive 4-0 win in Pittsburgh.
Things worth mentioning…
Chris Bassitt came through for the Blue Jays when they badly needed a strong start. Through the five-game losing skid, their starting pitchers put up a 9.39 ERA and went only four-and-two-thirds innings on average. Bassitt tossed seven scoreless frames, working around four hits and four walks without very much difficulty.
Since Bassitt’s disastrous first start as a Blue Jay in St. Louis a few weeks ago, he’s put up a quality start in five of six outings and has a 3.03 ERA all told.

Chris Bassitt, Filthy 91mph Two Seamer. 😷
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 5, 2023

The Blue Jays generated plenty of offence against Rich Hill, who allowed four earned runs on eight hits and two walks over five-and-one-third innings. Bo Bichette doubled in the first inning and Vladdy drove him in to open the scoring, Whit Merrifield and Daulton Varsho hit back-to-back doubles in the fourth inning to add to the lead, and George Springer launched a two-run bomb to make the score 4-0.
It was a big one for Springer, who hadn’t hit a home run since the first game of Toronto’s series with the Rays back on April 14. Going 17 games between homers was the longest drought that Springer has had since joining the Blue Jays.

George Springer has been snake bitten by batted-ball misfortune all season, so you better believe hitting his 4th HR of 2 …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Boston completes the sweep of Toronto with a dominant 11-4 win

The Blue Jays straight up did not have a good time in Boston!
This four-game set against the Red Sox went about as bad as it could have gone, as Boston completed a dominant sweep of Toronto with a 11-5 win tonight. Boston had this game in hand from the very beginning, highlighted by a 5-run second inning that was a nightmare for Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman. This loss also exceeds the loss total against the Red Sox from all of last season.
Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Vladdy had his third consecutive two-hit game going 2-for-4 with two RBIs, including a towering solo home run and a RBI double. His home run went 403 feet and was hit 108 miles off the bat, and it tied Bo Bichette for the team lead in home runs with 7.

After his 450-footer over the Green Monster earlier in this series, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit this one 441.
Here’s some real footage of a good thing happening to the #BlueJays today:
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) May 4, 2023

Things worth mentioning:
Kevin Gausman: There was a lot of confidence heading into today’s game, as sending Gausman to the hill when the team needed a win sounded like a good situation to be in. Gausman had thrown 14 straight scoreless innings heading into this game in wins over the Yankees and the Mariners, and had just set a career-high in strikeouts in the latter outing.
Conversely, things simply did not go well for him much at all tonight. The scoreless innings streak was snapped right away as Gausman allowed a home run from Mas …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

Errors were aplenty as the Blue Jays drop their fourth consecutive game in 8-3 loss to Boston

The Blue Jays have now set a season high for consecutive losses, as they fell to the Red Sox 8-3 on a chilly and rainy night in Boston. The Blue Jays certainly shot themselves in the foot throughout this one, committing four errors for the game, several of those leading to runs. The Blue Jays had only committed six errors all season, so this was a highly uncharacteristic night for them.

Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Vladdy was 2-for-4 on the night with a home run and a single. The home run was a very loud one, however, as it sailed 450 feet and over the Green Monster seats. Guerrero’s hits were two of the four hardest-hit balls of the night, leaving his bat at 112 and 110 mph respectively.

My guess is that it landed here
— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) May 3, 2023

Things worth mentioning
Alek Manoah: Manoah had a “night and day” kind of night on the mound, as one critical moment turned the tides on his outing. Manoah retired 10 of the first 12 batters he faced on the night, with only a single and a walk to his name. However, with one out in the 4th, Rafael Devers smoked a line drive back at Manoah, hitting him in the leg. Alejandro Kirk fielded the ball with a chance to get Devers out, but his throw sailed past Guerrero Jr. at first base. Manoah took a few minutes …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

José Berríos’s strong outings against the Astros and White Sox are reason for optimism

The Toronto Blue Jays pulled off a sweep of the Chicago White Sox this week and front and centre was the strong work of their starting pitchers. 

Chris Bassitt was quality in the opener against Chicago on Monday and Yusei Kikuchi tossed another strong outing in the sweep on Wednesday, but the gem from José Berríos between those two is what stands out the most.

José Berríos, 95mph Sinker and 86mph Slurve, Overlay
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 26, 2023

Berríos had a rough time with Peurto Rico in the World Baseball Classic and those struggles bled into the start of the Blue Jays’ regular season. The right-hander led off the season in early April with an 11.17 ERA after giving up 12 earned runs on 15 hits in just his first two games against the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Angels. This was fairly alarming in Blue Jay world as assumptions of where Berríos would fit in as a pitcher began to churn. 
Fast forward to April 25, Berríos took the mound at the Rogers Center in front of 28,917 fans to battle the White Sox. Needless to say, Berríos was spectacular in his outing, going seven strong innings, only allowing four hits, one walk, and striking out nine White Sox hitters for a 7-0 Blue Jays victory. 
What did we see from Jose Berríos? There were a ton of positive differences from his performance beyond the numbers in his pitching line.
Let’s start with comfort and composure! Berríos was dialled in and relaxed in each of his matchups. His delivery and finish were fluent and calculated without hesitatio …

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Author: Nick Prasad / Blue Jays Nation