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Blue Jays Take Two From Yankees

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After every Blue Jays series, this Canadian will sum up his five stars of the set and throw in my two cents (worth .015 US).

Entering the series against the powerful New York Yankees, Toronto has been where they started on day one this season, last in the American League East.  Please don’t argue this one and say they were tied for first going into Opening Day, as they were simultaneously tied for last!  The best way to gain ground is to take on the division rivals ahead of you, and Canada’s baseball team was an inning away from busting out the broom for a series sweep, but more on that later.

My beloved Jays still own the basement, but they have a co-tenant in Boston and, for the first time after a series conclusion, have a winning record (10-9).

As for the series itself, the Blue Jays’ starting pitching was solid, with Chris Bassitt, Yusei Kikuchi, and, to a lesser extent, Kevin Gausman, who got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first. It wasn’t vintage Kevin Gausman, but he would have netted his first win had it not been for Jays pitching in the 9th.

Let’s talk about that game.  Toronto pitching got a boost with the return of relievers Erik Swanson and Jordan Romano (and thankfully the demotion of Bowden Francis), but the former only got one batter out on 31 pitches and gave up three Earned Runs.   Swanson was a curious pick in the Save situation on his first game back, and Manager John Schneider should have had a shorter leash on Swanson with his first game back.  Side note: the Hold statistic needs to be seriously re-evaluated, as Swanson, who got the “L,” also received credit for a Hold.  Swanson could barely hold on to the ball, let alone receive a positive statistical credit.

Here are my five Blue Jays stars of the series.

Chris Bassitt, 1 W, 6.1 IP, 1.42 ERA, 5 SO, 0.95 WHIP:  Bassitt evened up his record (2-2) with his second straight win and quality start with a Game Score of 64 in both. 

Yusei Kikcuhi, 1 W, 6.0 IP, 1.50 ERA, 9 SO, 0.833 WHIP:  I can get used to having Kikuchi here in the five stars, and it was deliciously sweet to see him get his first Win after some solid work.  This was his second consecutive game with 9 Ks.   

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 0 R, 3 H, 0 XBH, 0 HR, 2 RBI .333/.571/.333/.905:  Overall, Jays fans have to wonder if we will see his 2021 production again as his current OPS (.715) and OPS+ (112) are a far cry from that.  Vladdy did not have an extra-base hit in the series but reached base eight times and had a key two-run two-out single in the second game that gave the Jays the lead in the fourth.

Daulton Varsho, 4 R, 3 H, 3 XBH, 2 HR, 3 RBI .333/.455/1.111/1.566:  Varsho was the offensive star of the series, belting two solo shots in their Game 3 loss.  All three of his Hits were for extra bases.

Yimi Garcia 2 G, 1 SV. 1 HLD, 2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 SO, 0.00 WHIP, 

:  For the second series in a row, Garcia was Toronto’s best reliever, who in 18 Pitches recorded his second Save, first Hold (a real Hold, not what Swanson was credited for), and retired all six batters he faced.

Honourable mentions for Alejandro Kirk: 1 R, 2 H, 1 XBH, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .400/.571/.600/1.171.  George Springer: 0 R, 2 H, 0 XBH, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 SB, .200/.429/.200/.629.  Bo Bichette: 1 R, 3 H, 1 XBH, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SB, .300/.385/.400/.785.  

Up next, Toronto goes back on the road for a three-game series against the San Diego Padres.  Hopefully, they can win their first series on the road.

Until then, touch them all!

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