Chapman, bullpen, help Jays create some separation against Orioles
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Saturday, September 17, 2022
Final Score: 6-3
TORONTO – The 2021 Toronto Blue Jays will forever go down as one of the biggest “what ifs” in franchise history.
Missing the 2021 postseason by just a single game, the 2022 squad was determined to put themselves in a far more comfortable position come this time of year.
Well, here we are, and not too much has changed, but the Blue Jays are certainly setting themselves up for their first playoff berth since the pandemic season. The idea now? Create as much separation possible headed into October baseball.
Now into the final 20 games of the season, the Blue Jays opened up a series against a team they are quite familiar with in the Baltimore Orioles. A team that, despite still being six games back from the Blue Jays, have always been considered pests to the city of Toronto, and should not be overlooked.
Jordan Lyles took the mound for the O’s to kick off the three-game set here at Rogers Centre and game one of the remaining six these two clubs have against one another. The Blue
Jays, in the midst of a tough starting rotation situation amid struggles from the newly acquired Mitch White, opted for a bullpen day giving middle relief arm Trevor Richards the official start.
Matt Chapman made up for some recent struggles at the plate in just the bottom of the second when took an inside fastball deep over the wall in left field for a solo shot. A run that would give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead until just 2 innings later, the Orioles responded with rookie catcher Adley Rustschman tattooing his 11th long ball of the year off of Yusei Kikuchi who was in for some relief in the top of the fourth.
The O’s would hold the one-run lead for just an inning and a half before George Springer crushed an offering of his own 422ft over the wall to left-centre field. The 3-run jack leapfrogged the Jays back in front 4-2.
They weren’t exactly done just yet though.
Chapman, back at the dish on the bottom of the six, felt like doubling down as he took a changeup low and inside over the wall in left field yet again to score Bo Bichette and add some insurance making it a 6-3 ballgame.
The lead was carried into the top of the ninth where skipper John Schneider opted for Yimi Garcia over Jordan Romano with the comfortable lead the Blue Jays had. Garcia came in looking for his 42nd scoreless appearance and third in a row to close out the game. Garcia dispatched the first two hitters he faced before surrendering a solo shot to recently called up rookie Gunnar Henderson. The home run was a small blemish on an otherwise clean performance for Garcia who secured the 6-3 win for the Blue Jays.
It’s easy to point to Chapman as the contest’s hero, but as Schneider was quick to point out postgame, bullpen appearances have been lights out as of late.
“It's a big ask of them and they've answered the bell,” said Schneider. “Every time we've done it, they've all kind of looked forward to it and kind of accepted the challenge and made pitches, gone an extra inning, an extra out, whatever it is. You can't really say enough about how good they are and we’re doing our best to make sure that the execution is there, but also the proper rest is there, too.”
The Blue Jays and Orioles will battle it out again on Saturday at Rogers Centre with Toronto sening Jose Berrios to the bump as the Orioles will counter with Kyle Bradish.