Bassitt shuts out Astros as Blue Jays bounce back for game two in the Space City

Stefan Luciani
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Chris Bassitt through 6.1 innings of shut out baseball Tuesday night as the Blue Jays bounced back after a 9-1 beat down at the hands of the Astros the night prior.

HOUSTON – The Blue Jays have certainly enjoyed some success to start this season. 


Holding an 11-7 record with some budding offence and fantastic defence, questions remaining surrounded only their starting rotation.


Seven of their 17 opening games prior to last night had seen them surrender eight or more runs and up until that point, Kevin Gausman had been the only true shut-down guy early on. 


That was until Gausman was shelled for seven runs in 4 2/3 innings of work in their Monday night loss to the Astros. 


But the belief remained high with this team. Coming off a series win over the Tampa Bay Rays, they knew how they needed to regroup heading into Tuesday night’s contest. 


Chris Bassitt was on the bump, and barring his nightmare appearance in St. Louis some two weeks ago, he has seemingly fallen into a groove of comfort in his third starter spot. 


That was evident as Bassitt looked locked in through his 6 1/3 innings which saw him surrender just three hits and one walk while sitting down five en-route to Toronto’s 4-2 win over the Astros.


See Bassitt may not have the velo to blow you away. He may not boast a splitter like Gausman’s that drops off the table. But what he does have is good consistent pitches…and a lot of them at that. 


Bassitt used all seven of the pitches in his arsenal last night during his 97-pitch outing. His primary weapon was a sinker that touches speeds as high as 95mph or as low as 89mph, but boasts a vertical break of up to 27 inches. The combination of pitches allows the former Met to attack different hitters in various ways.


And John Schneider is certainly under the belief his third starting pitcher is sitting in a comfortable spot. 


“Stuff being where it has been with velo, feel for his curveball, landing it early and late and just executing,” the manager explained. “The first outing, kind of an outlier for what he is. The last couple have been more so what his track record has been to where you can bank on a pretty high pitch count, you can bank on him competing and knowing when to be in the zone, knowing when to be out of the zone, things like that. I think he matches up well against this lineup, just because of the unpredictability. So more of what he's been doing.”


“I feel really good with that,” said Bassitt. “The biggest issue that I had early was that we made an adjustment where I really wanted to go towards the middle of the mound rather than, for the last five or six years, I've been completely on the first base side. So it took a little bit to get used to the lanes of these pitches that are going to get thrown to these new locations. But it's opened up the slider for me so much better than I've ever had. I knew it was an adjustment that would really benefit me in the long run. But obviously getting used to it, there were some hiccups along the way.”


Unlike Monday’s night’s blowout, this one remained scoreless through the early goings. It wasn’t until the top of the fourth when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sent a rocket over the opposite field wall in right field for the go-ahead solo shot.


Just two batters later Matt Chapman followed suit from his young first baseman doing the exact same thing for the quick 2-0 lead. It was the fifth longball of the season for Chapman who continues to dominate the top of the hitting leaderboards. The third baseman sits second in batting average with a BA of .415, and first in OPS. and SLG. at 1.257 and .715 respectively. 


The Blue jays added some insurance the following inning with RBI singles from Bo Bichette and Santiago Espinal to jump out in front 4-0.


The insurance was exactly that as things got tense in the eighth inning. 


Yimi Garcia struggled to escape the frame before Tim Mayza’s attempt to limit the damage against fellow lefties Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez was stifled with the Astros chipping away at the four-run lead.


Jordan Romano was brought in for the final out and again for the final frame to put the game away and silence a rowdy crowd at Minute Maid Park licking their lips at the idea of a ninth-inning rally. 


Romano needed just 15 pitches to seal the victory in his first four-out save of the season. The final out came by way of a nifty flash of the leather from the Markham product who made his first appearance since taking a line drive to the ribs during his save of Saturday’s contest with the Rays.


"The ribs are a complete non-issue. Even (Monday) I could have thrown. It was a little sore right after, the next day, but the last two days have been fine,” said Romano. “I felt good. I felt strong.”


The Blue Jays will remain in the Space City as they’ll go for their fifth straight series win. The birds will look for Jose Berrios to replicate his performance from Friday night’s series opener against the Rays as the ‘Stros will respond with Luis Garcia.