Berrios blew up as the Blue Jays took a tough road down Chicago’s South Side

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CHICAGO — It was a rotation in the five-man rotation the Blue Jays would rather forget about.

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And a growing concern that the team desperately needs to address.

On a sultry night on Chicago’s South Side, it was Jose Berrios’ turn to struggle as the right-hander lasted just four innings in a deflating Jays 8-7 loss to the White Sox.

The end result was far more interesting than most of the game, a defeat ultimately determined by a dubious starting effort.

Shaken by the hard contact of the first batter he faced, Berrios allowed nine total hits – including three homers – and came out with his team trailing 6-2.

It was a marked step backwards from his previous three starts as it looked like the Jays Opening Day starter had returned to his best form.

Instead, there was this, another questionable outing by a Toronto starter, the fifth such drop in a row.

In fact, only Alek Manoah (who had his worst outing of the season on Saturday) pitched the sixth inning in his last start. The others: Yusei Kikuchi (four), Ross Stripling (3.2) and Kevin Gausman (2.1).

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Those efforts won’t be enough, of course, but are further compounded by the wear and tear inflicted on an overworked Jays bullpen.

The Jays’ pitching team as a whole has been going through a tough time, giving up 43 runs in its previous five games. Overall, the Jays lost four of those five and were outscored 34-10 in losses.

This one wasn’t pretty from the get-go because the White Sox – whom Berrios faced regularly at the time with the Twins – hit him early and often.

The biggest damage came on three homers – a shot from Josh Harrison in the second inning, another in the third from Luis Robert and finally an explosion from Andrew Vaughn in the fourth.

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Typical of the Jays this season, they managed to keep things interesting, turning the final margin into another one-point result. It happened thanks to a two-run homer and an out of Toronto No. 9 hitter Cavan Biggio in the top of the ninth.

But groundouts from George Springer and Bo Bichette ended it, sending the Jays to a fourth loss in their last five games.

Blue Jays first baseman Cavan Biggio attempts to catch a foul ball hit by White Sox third baseman Jake Burger during the fifth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Monday, June 20, 2022.
Blue Jays first baseman Cavan Biggio attempts to catch a foul ball hit by White Sox third baseman Jake Burger during the fifth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Monday, June 20, 2022. Photo by David Banks /USA TODAY Sports

GAME ON

The six runs allowed by Berrios matched his total for his previous three starts combined… Berrios came out with a modest 72 pitch count, but he had given up nine hits and six earned runs up to that point, ending his night… Berrios had already given up five runs before the Jays recorded their first out in the third inning… The big hit of the night for the Jays was a two-run homer from Raimel Tapia in the second, which gave the visitors their only – and brief – lead of the night… A Teoscar Hernandez brace in the fifth was part of a three-run inning to add some interest to the proceedings. Alas, the rally was short-lived on a night in which the Jays were beaten 13-8… What seems to be an ongoing frustration with officiating these days has continued for the Jays, with Bichette and Vlad Guerrero Jr. — to name just two — notably getting upset with home plate umpire Ramos DeJesus. From the dugout, manager Charlie Montoyo appeared to be nearing a fifth ejection of the season… Receiver Danny Jansen is on a road trip and continues to recover from a broken hand. Jansen hits a tee shot and makes some light shots… Taking the loss in his 13th start of the season, Berrios’ record fell to 5-3.

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MORAL VICTORIES

Although it’s been a rough ride lately, the Jays channeled some motivation after Sunday’s 10-9 win over the Yankees at Rogers Center.

The victory at Rogers Center prevented a sweep at the hands of the Bronx Bombers from counting as a moral victory at least.

“We kind of got punched in the mouth in Game 1,” said Kevin Gausman, who starts here on Tuesday. “The way we reacted after the first game was really good. Obviously we lost the second game but we had a lot more fight in us than the night before.

“Coming down on Sunday like we did and then coming back is something that’s perfect for this series and a long road trip. You use that momentum.

It’s equally clear that the Jays understand that even though the AL East is out of reach, they need to get tough against the Yanks.

“To do that against this team, obviously they’re playing very well,” Gausman said. “It’s kind of nice to put it in his face a bit.”

It appears the Yanks weren’t too shocked by the loss, as they became the first MLB team to reach 50 wins with a 4-2 decision against the Rays on Monday night in Tampa.

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