The Blue Jays’ pitching bubble finally burst on the same day Alek Manoah was sent to triple-A, while franchise icon Jose Bautista signed a one-day contract with the club.
Until Brandon Belt’s two-out home run in the eighth inning, the Jays could have used Joey Bats. In general, the way the Jays swung the bats against the visiting Chicago Cubs in a 6-2 loss at Rogers Centre, Bautista would have looked good in the lineup.
When games were won because of solid pitching amid inferior hitting, the Jays knew they were tempting fate.
Friday night, Jose Berrios gave up two home runs and three runs in the first inning, a sign the baseball gods would not be kind to the home side. Game over, given the sad state of Toronto’s offence. The Cubs struck first, built a 6-0 lead and would take the first game of the weekend series.
The crowd was subdued very early into the night and only had the Belt belt to cheer for on a pretty morbid evening at the ballpark with the roof peeled back.
The atmosphere should be electric Saturday when Bautista joins the team’s Level of Excellence. He’ll address the crowd. Too bad he won’t be wielding a bat, at least in Toronto’s lineup.
Following their three-game sweep in Boston, the Jays offence all but dried up in Cleveland, where runs were in short supply.
The Jays aren’t known for manufacturing runs and their power is very limited. Even when their pitching is elite, the margin for error is slim because Toronto’s bats don’t boom.
When their pitching isn’t good like on Friday, the Jays need their offence, which once again disappointed.
When dissecting the loss, manager John Schneider lamented the amount of quick outs that derailed the offence. He admitted his offence finds itself in a ‘‘rut.’’
As for Berrios, two change-ups he threw in the first ended up costing him three runs. In total, the six runs Berrios gave up were the most in a start since his second game of the season. In his previous six starts, Berrios surrendered a combined two home runs.
Cody Bellinger, who took Berrios deep for a two-run blast, has been one of baseball’s hottest hitter. As a team, the Cubs rolled into town with their bats ablaze.
SKINNY ON DANNER
With Manoah being shuffled off to Buffalo, Hagen Danner was called up and he made his MLB debut.
What ensued was in stark contrast to the way Davis Schneider performed in his big-league debut. Danner came into the game to begin the ninth inning. He left the ‘pen to the strains of Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics.
Turns out Danner’s debut was more akin to a nightmare.
He got the first batter to line out. On his second batter, Danner favoured his left side on his follow through. In clear discomfort, he was replaced for Jay Jackson. It was not exactly an ideal debut for Danner, who looked poised on the mound.
The evening began on a bad note for the Jays and ended in similar fashion.
“Left side discomfort,’’ added the manager when asked about Danner.
“It was unfortunate in his debut, obviously. He’s been through a lot and it’s unfortunate his first outing ended up that way. We’ll see how he is (Saturday).”
Danner, 24, has dealt with injuries in the past. A native of California, Danner was also a catcher in high school when the Blue Jays drafted him in 2017. Danner has been a full-time pitcher in the minors for three years.
NOT SO FOUR-GOTTEN
A strange turn of events unfolded in the top half of the fourth inning.
It began harmlessly when Dansby Swanson hit a grounder to short. On the throw to first, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could not secure the ball and was charged with an error.
One out later, Swanson advanced to third on a single. Two runs then scored on a double by Seiya Suzuki, who crossed home plate following a two-out single as the Cubs took a 6-0 lead.
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The Cubs started RHP Javier Assad. As a result, the Blue Jays had Cavan Biggio in the No. 5 hole.
Toronto’s lineup has been a source of consternation almost from the season’s opening series, when Daulton Varsho served as the cleanup hitter. He batted eighth Friday night after Varsho had a tough series in Cleveland, where he struck out far too many times.
Toronto’s No. 9 hitter was Paul DeJong, who like Varsho was scuffling against the Guardians. DeJong struck out Thursday to end the game. He batted for George Springer, who got tossed from the game in the seventh inning when the Blue Jays had mounted a rally.
In his first start back in double-A, the Jays’ No. 1 prospect, Ricky Tiedemann, couldn’t get out of the first inning.
He threw 31 pitches, including 18 for strikes, in yielding four hits and surrendering three earned runs for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats against Reading, a Philadelphia Phillies affiliate.
It was the lefty’s first outing following a three-month injury absence. Against Reading, Tiedemann, 20, recorded two outs before he was relieved.
Previously, he made three rehab appearances at lower levels after Tiedemann left a double-A start with left biceps inflammation in early May. In his first three rehab appearances, he recorded 18 strikeouts over eight innings.
To the surprise of no one, closer Jordan Romano (back) is off to Buffalo for a rehab assignment Saturday; the Jays expect Romano to be back early next week … After taking a pitch off his hand Thursday in Cleveland, Danny Jansen was available off the bench for the series opener against the Cubs … Bo Bichette (knee) took some ground balls pre-game, ran and did some hitting in the cage … Right-handed reliever Trevor Richards (neck) threw a bullpen session Friday.
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