Twins 8 in Blue Jays 6
Give a team five times, even against a bowler who’s been as immaculate as Kevin Gusman this year, and they’ll probably make you pay. That’s exactly what the twins did in the first inning on Sunday to put Jays in an early hole that they couldn’t get themselves out because they dropped a win-win streak in Minnesota. If they finish a post-season game this year, it will be a game to be seen as a huge missed opportunity.
In addition, the movie Twins Nickle and-dimed Gausman started right from the start. Luis Aries cut a single the other way around for an advance song, and Gary Sanchez followed suit with another, leading a line. Gausman then got a high can of corn on the right field, which is the most routine 99% of the time, but Teoscar Hernandez lost it in the sun to a key foul and a 1-0 deficit.
The knockout ground hit a second run, followed by a knockout, so for the foul there, Gussmann was out of the turn without a hitch. He then had Jose Miranda pop up in a sloppy area on the first base side, but this time it was Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s turn to lose one in the sun. Miranda used his new lease on at-bat life to poke an RBI ball across the field for 3-0. Another cheap single on a chopper followed, but further damage was avoided by throwing a Tuscar to the runner in an effort for second place.
On the fourth court from the bottom of the inning, George Springer hit the ball better than all contacts in the top of the inning combined, eliminating Devin Smeltzer’s fast ball left at the top of the area in the second level. Unfortunately, this is still important for only one run.
Bo Bichette and Guerrero pulled Smeltzer on foot to put him on the ropes, but Teoscar was out before Alejandro Kirk got into an easy double to miss a golden opportunity. This could easily – and really should – be a 2-0 to 3-0 lead for the Jays to go into second rather than a 3-1 hole.
Nickle-diming style continued into the second half, with Nick Gordon notching three hits on a well-injured ball, followed by Jermaine Palacios and Arraez playing reasonably square but not particularly strong contact. Jorge Polanco added one song on the fishing tackle, which made for two more runs.
The twins seem to have read about Guzman’s alteration/partition, and Joe Sydal speculated that he would either flip it over or find a way to read. Gausman and Jansen strayed noticeably from this point, and settled into the following pairs rounds relying mostly on Fastball.
The bat went for a long time, until Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. led 4th place with one song. Unfortunately, he was wiped out in a double match by Tuscar that immediately proved costly as Alejandro Kirk knocked out a meatball 2-0 in a massive home run. But again, just a single shot left Jays down 5-2.
The score stayed there until the seventh, when Trevor Larnach and Matt Chapman exchanged single shots, both hitting 415 feet. The Jays then switched to the soft bottom of the pen in the eighth, first Andrew Vasquez taking two points before dropping one single. Then Jays turned to Jeremy Beasley, who could not finish the role and held on. Gary Sanchez’s fly shot down the line, a pretty cheap shot in the grand scheme, but good for his two shot seemed like a knockout.
This also proved very important as Jays staged a big rally in the bottom of the ninth. Matt Chapman’s solo outing brought up Santiago Espinal, who fired three races at home to tie the Jays to 8-6. She was followed by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. With one song to make it fun, and even more when Springer picked two to bring in Bichette as the winning race, but he stopped. It has simply yielded a lot of ground already.
Jays today: Nothing in numbers, with Vladdy getting the high mark at +0.074 WPA but made up for by the costly missed popup. Let’s give one instead to Chapman (+0.050) for 3 vs 4 PM in HR.
sucking: Gausman (-0.336, not everything he has) and Teoscar (-0.132, plus the crucial ball missing in 1 was smoothed out by two outside strokes).
The Jays are in Kansas City tomorrow as Ross Stripling returns to the rotation for what will likely be a short start against LHP Daniel Lynch at 8:10 EST.