On Bark at the Ballpark night at the Oakland Coliseum, the Blue Jays unleashed their own Bassitt hound.
Chris Bassitt, who is well acquainted with the stadium’s mound and the cavernous venue known for its many empty seats from his days playing for the A’s, was very good at a time when Toronto’s starting pitching hasn’t been that good.
He brought the heat, turned the temperature down when resorting to his vast off-speed arsenal and even persevered through a bloody thumb.
Turns out Bassitt was bloody good in spearheading the Blue Jays to their 7-1 win.
Toronto will go for a series sweep Wednesday with the chance of returning home with a 5-1 mark and a wild-card spot firmly in its hands.
Fans were able to take their four-legged companions into the ballpark as part of MLB’s dog-friendly initiative.
The sound of barking far outweighed the sounds of applause on a night when hitting went to the dogs, for most of the night that is.
A’s starter Ken Waldichuk didn’t take a back seat to Bassitt, who gave up two of Oakland’s three hits through six innings to Zack Gelof.
Zach Neal was on the mound for Oakland in the top half of the seventh in a 0-0 game when the game suddenly changed in Toronto’s favour.
Waldichuk, a lefty, issued three free passes in six complete innings.
Neal, a righty, would walk three in one inning.
The Jays batted around to score six runs in the seventh, more than enough to support Bassitt.
Oakland finally got to Bassitt in the home half of the seventh to score one run.
The Jays had been waiting to pounce on an inferior opponent and it arrived Tuesday.
Bassitt was lights out, the offence exploded in the seventh and the Jays’ defence was good in the team’s most complete and most dominant game on its current trip.
Had they not blown a 5-0 lead against the Rockies, Toronto would be going for a perfect 6-0 road trip.
With the Astros and Rangers hooking up in Texas, the Jays knew opportunity was knocking.
There’s no reason why a series sweep won’t be produced Wednesday given the obvious difference in talent between the A’s and Jays.
A three-game weekend series against Kansas City will follow at Rogers Centre, three more winnable games against a weak opponent.
The Rangers will be town once the Royals leave town.
By then, the wild-card picture will look differently.
The Jays provide a glimpse of what is possible when an outing such as Bassitt’s night plays out and when the offence explodes like it did in the seventh inning.
Still, it was against the A’s once Waldichuk’s evening expired.
At the same time, the Jays were clean and they were certainly opportunistic.
Not bad for a team that has not been good on this trip and yet good enough to beat bad teams.
ERNIE AND DAVIS SHOW
First it was Davis Schneider making quite the impression when the Blue Jays called him up for a weekend series in Boston that turned epic.
Ernie Clement hasn’t earned the Babe moniker, but he hasn’t looked out of place either, save for a few errors at short.
In the second inning of Tuesday night’s game, he fielded a high chopper before he threw to the bag at second where Schneider executed the pivot and throw to record the 6-4-3 double play.
The game began when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit into a double play following a leadoff single by George Springer.
The Clement-Schneider tandem held down the left side of the infield in Denver when the Jays’ trip featured a three-pack against the Rockies.
Clement was pinch-hit in the seventh when the Jays opened the inning by having runners on first and second in a scoreless game.
RETURN OF BO?
The news surrounding Bo Bichette continues to improve as he recovers from a right quad strain that landed the stud shortstop on the injured list.
Bichette accompanied the team on its road trip, which began in Colorado before shifting to the Bay Area.
Once again, he was able to field groundballs, ran and took part in batting practice.
The hope is Bichette returns to the lineup as early as Friday when the Jays begin a weekend series against the visiting Kansas City Royals.
Bichette was placed on the 10-day IL retroactive to Aug. 28.
Without Bichette, the Jays have cobbled together a lineup to compensate for the loss of the team’s incumbent No. 2 hitter.
Schneider was in the No. 2 hole Tuesday night after the Jays did not have Schneider in Monday’s lineup when Cavan Biggio batted in Bichette’s slot.
Biggio started in right field Tuesday night.
1B/DH Brandon Belt continues to be out because of a stomach virus; during the team’s current trip, which wraps up Wednesday, Belt was a late pre-game scratch when his back tightened up … One-time Oakland A’s third baseman Matt Chapman, whom the Jays placed on the 10-day injured list with a right middle finger sprain on the same day as Bichette, has resumed taking groundballs and playing catch; the catch is that Chapman has not been cleared to swing the bat … Danny Jansen’s status should be made much clearer at some point Wednesday when he’s scheduled to visit a hand specialist in Pennsylvania; the hard-luck catcher took a foul tip off his throwing hand in Colorado; an initial diagnosis revealed a fracture in his middle finger; with the Jays scheduled to have an off day Thursday, it’s possible no definitive and official word on Jansen’s status moving forward won’t be known until manager John Schneider’s pre-game availability Friday night.