Jays blow an 8-1 lead in game two as their curtain closes
By: Eli Silverstone and Patrick Benner
The highly anticipated series between the Blue Jays and Mariners concluded in a thrilling 19 run shootout. It was disappointing for the Blue Jays (to say the least) after a sweep at the hands of the Mariners. As for Seattle, they win their first playoff series for the first time since 2001, completing the biggest road comeback in MLB playoff history in the process, and now move on forward to the ALDS. This game had chaos, heartbreak and choking of the highest degree.
Here are five key takeaways from the Blue Jays’ game two loss versus the Mariners:
Gausman versus Ray
Going into the 2022 season, the Jays had just completed a very impactful offseason with the acquisition of high-end starter Kevin Gausman. The Jays had a tough decision to make after their ace - Robbie Ray - became a free agent. Fast forward to the 2022 postseason; Ray finds himself in new threads facing off against his replacement. Although the two pitchers posted similar ERA’s (3.71 for Ray, 3.35 for Gausman), Ray only completed three innings while being charged with six hits. Gausman, however, was a machine going into the fifth inning, which would ultimately be his last. Gausman posted seven strikeouts while being extremely efficient.
Explosion of offense puts Seattle over the top
The Jays began their 2022 postseason with an extremely underwhelming offensive performance in game one. But in game two, that was not the case. The Jays exploded for nine runs, setting the table for game three. The Mariners were not phased. They pushed back from a huge eight-to-one deficit comeback, slashing 13 hits and a homer. Surprisingly, their offense came from all parts of their lineup. Carlos Santana, Adam Frazer, and Cal Raleigh all had multi-hit games; which came as massive contributors to the Mariners' series victory.
The Jays pen blows it
When Kevin Gausman left this game, it was 8-1 Blue Jays. In an odd decision, John Schneider pulled Kevin Gausman, his $115 million pitcher in the sixth inning with two runners on and Carlos Santana at the plate. Tim Mayza entered the game, and proceeded to throw a wild pitch to allow a run. But the cherry on top? Santana homered to make it an 8-5 game. Then came the eighth inning. Bass allowed a double and two singles forcing Jays closer Jordan Romano to be tasked with a 6-out save. Romano did the best he could, but a bloop double dropped in between Bo Bichette and George Springer allowed three runs to score. In the ninth, Cal Raleigh and Frazier both doubled giving the M’s a 10-9 lead, which ended up being the final score.
Teoscar Hernandez has the biggest game of his career
Teoscar Hernandez has always been a huge part of the offense. Hernandez obviously felt comfortable facing a left-handed pitcher (.978 OPS vs lefties) as he hit two crucial home runs and totaled four RBIs. Most notably, Hernandez started the onslaught of offense for the Jays; his first homer set the table for the rest of the high-scoring tilt.
Carlos Santana comes through
The postseason is full of surprises. Going into Game two, the Blue Jays were prepared to shut down guys like Julio Rodriguez, Eugenio Suarez and Cal Raleigh. But who’s the guy that beat them? 36-year-old Carlos Santana and his .202 batting average and .692 OPS. Santana went 2-for-3 with a three-run home run, a double off the top of the wall and a walk. Santana's double in the 5th moved Adam Frazier to third base which led to a sac fly from Jarred Kelenic. Santana is one of the only player's on either roster that has some experience playing in Toronto in the playoffs before yesterday. He was a key part of the 2016 Cleveland Indians roster that beat Toronto in five games.
Game two delivered heartbreak and happiness and had fans on the edge of their seats. Who doesn't love high offensive-scoring games? At the end of the day, the better team won. The Jays have their sights set on next year and are hungry for more. The Mariners will head to face division rival Houston in the ALDS next week looking to continue the fun.