Berrios finds groove as Blue Jays thump White Sox

Stefan Luciani
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Tuesday, April 25, 2023

On the back of two home runs from Danny Jansen, Jose Berrios went seven scoreless innings to power the Blue Jays to a 7-0 win over the Chicago White Sox.

TORONTO – It’s hard to zero in on just one standout performance on nights like these. 


One could focus on the offensive explosion Danny Jansen is seemingly going through. The back catcher tallied another two home runs to his CV to make it nine RBI, three long balls, and an OPS. of 1.447 over his last seven games. 


Or instead direct your attention to what was another brilliant outing for Jose Berrios who threw seven complete innings of shutout ball allowing just four hits while whiffing nine. 


Finally, much can be made of Nate Pearson making a return to the big league team for the first time since late 2021 in an appearance – albeit a low leverage one – that showcased the strides he’s made since his previous tenure.


What can be said for sure was how distinctly crucial all three were in the Blue Jays comfortable 7-0 over the Chicago White Sox Tuesday evening. 


After a turbulent two starts to begin the campaign, Berrios seems to have found a place of comfort on the mound. The Puerto Rican hurler has been dialled through his last three starts allowing just three runs over his last 19.0 innings pitched while sitting down 18. Something that Manager John Schneider is certainly pleased with. 


“For one, he's really good,” said the second-year skipper. “And he's been really aggressive with executing both fastball and breaking ball. If he continues to do that and if there happens to be a mis-executed pitch, it's just getting right back on board and not letting it snowball. Really encouraged with his last two, he's been efficient with his pitch count. There's a whole lot to it to think that he can get on a good roll.”


Execution of both his fastball and breaking ball are crucial factors in Berrios increased level of success. Last season he was oftentimes punished for the lack of his four-seamer command, leaving it up and in the zone. Unfortunately for him, it was his most used pitch. But things are different this year. Berrios is more comfortable knowing not to over rely on his fastball as the righty dispersed his wealth of all 103 pitches across his arsenal. His sinker led the way with a total of 32, followed by the changeup with 25, before the final 46 pitches were split evenly between his slurve and fastball. 


On a night that saw his fastball touch as high as 97.4 mph, the versatility of his performance saw him generate a total of 16 whiffs, finishing with an average EV. of just 80.4 mph. 


Tuesday’s contest wasn’t scoreless for long as Danny Jansen sniffed out a Mike Clevinger breaking ball in just the second inning, taking it 359-feet into the Blue Jays bullpen for the go ahead three-run shot.


The bottom of the lineup continued its offensive prowess with a Kevin Kiermaier triple scoring Whit Merrifield and Jansen in the fourth.


But Jano wasn't done just yet. 


The self-proclaimed pull-hitter doubled down in the bottom of the sixth, taking a changeup right down the middle to left field once again, this time, for a 392-foot knock. 


The win was one that seemed more than just a face-value thumping. It exhibited every characteristic this team was after this offseason. A deep outing from the starter, followed by efficient usage of the back end. Defensively, the team was sound with some reaction-worthy plays from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at first. Offensively, despite home runs being the difference maker, this is a team manufacturing runs and utilizing base-runners properly to generate the best possible opportunities to capitalize. 


With the three-straight victories, the Blue Jays officially leapfrog the Yankees in the AL East amid their back-to-back losses to the Twins. Yusei Kikuchi will get the nod as they go for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon. They’ll then have the day off Thursday, before welcoming Teoscar Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners for a two-game split on Friday.