Chris Bassitt lacks neither for confidence or for an opinion and when talking about the Blue Jays starting rotation of which he plays a central role.
“Our pitching is going to be able to keep us in every game,” Bassitt said in an interview earlier in this 10-game home stand. “I think we have the team not to just get in the playoffs, but hopefully make a long run.
“We have the pitching to give us a chance every day.”
That’s only partly true, of course, as the Blue Jays offence has continued to be a drag on the team’s hopes to make up enough ground to sneak into the AL wildcard picture.
And then came on Saturday, when a team in need of some excitement got a scintillating jolt of it with a dramatic 4-3 win over the Red Sox in 13 innings.
With another outstanding pitching effort delivered by Bassitt to see his team in it Saturday afternoon at the Rogers Centre, the Toronto bats finally woke up late to pull off the thrilling comeback win at such a critical time in the season.
A Daulton Varsho triple in the bottom of the ninth drove in Cavan Biggio from second base to tie it and send the game to extra innings and then things got truly crazy.
After holding the Red Sox at bay in the top of the 10th, they managed to get the inning run to third (and the bases loaded) only to have Whit Merrifield strike out to end it.
Back and forth it went.
Jays closer Jordan Romano pitched the 10th and 11th to keep alive the prospects for a Toronto win. The Red Sox got a run across in the top of the 12th and the Jays countered when a Bo Bichette fly ball was enough to score Varsho from third on the sacrifice.
When Chad Green – in his biggest moment as a Blue Jay – struck out Boston’s Justin Turner to end the 13th, it set the stage for Merrifield’s lucky 13th heroics to send his teammates spilling out of the dugout in celebration.
A slow grounder to the left of the infield was enough to bring Vladimir Guerrero Jr. home from third and in typical fashion, Merrifield hustled to first to seal it.
Sure, it wasn’t a thing of beauty, in building to an entertaining crescendo, it certainly qualifies as the type of win that can prove to be a huge rallying point for a team in need of one with 13 games remaining and some work to do to claim one of the three American League wildcard spots.
Despite not recording a run until the seventh inning, the Jays were able to summon just enough offence to score what may go down as a critical win for the Jays hopes of qualifying for the post season.
A sellout crowd of 42,276 erupted after a sleepy afternoon turned scintillating with the longest game of the season, with four extra innings needed to decide it.