Did you know that José Berríos was expecting one of these.
You could say the Blue Jays offense was, too, but for a completely different reason.
Berrios, the Blue Jays’ monster midseason acquisition last year at the cost of two highly coveted prospects, doesn’t lose often, and when he does, it’s rarely back-to-back.
But Berríos hasn’t been himself this year and was coming off the first time in a Blue Jays uniform after losing consecutive starts.
He put that behind him Tuesday night with a seven-inning gem, shutting out the Mariners and holding them to just five hits, two batters in the eighth before requiring a little help from reliever David Phelps in what would turn out to be a win. of the Blue Jays 3-0.
In the process, he and his bullpen outclassed one of the most dominant pitchers in this early part of the 2022 major league season.
Logan Gilbert came into this one with a 4-1 record and a flawless 2.13 ERA. He looked as good as his record for most of the night, but when he opened the door just a bit in the second inning, the Blue Jays offense broke through.
“He was nasty tonight,” Blue Jays center fielder George Springer said of Gilbert. “He had great things all night. Sometimes you just get lucky.”
Springer was referring to his two-out, bases-loaded blooper just over the infield that landed right in front of a Mariners right fielder lunging at Steven Souza Jr.
Souza’s gamble paid off for the Mariners when the ball sailed past him and bounced into right field. By the time he was cornered and thrown again, Springer was sliding safely into third with a three-RBI triple that soared 220 feet.
“I’ll take it,” Springer said. “It’s not always how hard you hit it. You just have to put it in the right place. I’m not going to complain about that.”
That was the only score both teams would make in the game.
Obnoxious as Gilbert was, Berríos deserved great support for his efforts.
He slammed the door on the Mariners in the second when they were threatening with the bases loaded and just one out.
After a visit from his pitching coach, Berríos got Souza (yes, him again) to roll in an inning that ended in a 6-4-3 double play.
Phelps also deserves a mention for inheriting a two-and-none out in the eighth after Berrios walked Mike Ford to lead off the inning. Ford quickly advanced to second on a single to center field by pinch hitter Abraham Toro, ending Berríos’ night.
It was no problem for the affable Phelps, who retired the next three to first get Cal Raleigh to hit one down the third-base line to easily force Matt Chapman into third.
He followed that up with a strikeout to leadoff hitter Adam Frazier and then a line drive to the right by the ever-dangerous Ty France to end the threat.
The Blue Jays’ bats, which blew up to some extent Monday, were limited to just six hits by Mariners ace Gilbert in his seven innings of work. Logan, who has a devastating four-seam fastball, struck out nine Blue Jays but couldn’t prevent that damaging inning in the second.
The Mariners came into the series red-hot with bats having won two of three from a rising New York Mets team before they cooled off a bit in the series opener and then inexplicably called off practice. batting before Tuesday’s game.
They most likely won’t repeat that on Wednesday.
KIKUCHI SETTING UP
Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker left the stadium Monday night feeling particularly good about what he had just witnessed.
Walker and Monday’s statesman Yusei Kikuchi have been spending time together fine-tuning their arsenal and building the latter’s confidence in his fastball.
Initially expected to be a long process, Kikuchi has accepted the plan wholeheartedly and perhaps that is why he is seeing the fruits of their labor together bear fruit even sooner than they expected.
“Yeah, I hate to say it,” Walker said when asked if he thought Kikuchi was ahead of the game with his progress. “I am pleasantly surprised at the transition. He seems to be very excited about it, which is even better. He seems to be spinning. I thought he was very aggressive Monday night with his fastball, which is our first priority. He uses that fastball but also puts it in the strike zone.”
Idle offense keeps ice on Blue Jays cold streak
Kikuchi shines as the Blue Jays return to the win column
Though it’s early, Springer says there’s some urgency for the Blue Jays offense to go untraceable.
Already out of Tim Mayza, who has been handling much of the eighth-inning duties for the Blue Jays’ bullpen, the team is now temporarily out of its closer as well. Jordan Romano contracted an illness unrelated to COVID during Monday’s game. He insisted on warming up in the bullpen to see if he could advance, but that quickly became a moot point when the Blue Jays stretched the lead to five going into the ninth. However, Romano was officially listed as part of the day-to-day before Wednesday’s game, as the illness clearly persisted. … The Blue Jays aren’t the popular choice they once were to win the AL East, but it could be worth jumping on the bandwagon right now. The Blue Jays have gone from +375 to win the American League to +500 with their recent streak.