Aug 17, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher J.A. Happ (48) in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

J.A. Happ, Esmil Rogers abused as Blue Jays beat up by Pirates

j.a. happ

Mar 25, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays J.A. Happ (48) throws a pitch in the second inning of the spring training exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s score looked like a football game as the Toronto Blue Jays were downed by the Pittsburgh Pirates 22-5. The Pirates absolutely crushed the Blue Jays’ pitching to a tune of 29 hits, which included four home runs and six doubles. Starling Marte led the way for the Bucs going 5 for 6, with two dingers and four RBIs.

J.A. Happ continued to struggle, allowing 12 hits and seven runs across three innings. In spring training he’s now allowed 21 hits and 16 earned runs in just seven innings. The good news for Happ is that he is has now been stretched out to 75 pitches. He also did not allow any free passes and was able to throw a lot of strikes on a day when conditions were tough. You know it is a bad day when you allow the opposing pitcher, Wandy Rodriguez, to hit a 2-run homer and a single. I don’t know what is in Happ’s Gatorade, but he doesn’t feel that his spring performance (20.57 ERA) has affected his chances at starting the season as Toronto’s 4th or 5th starter.

”I don’t know who’s all saying things have changed,” he said. ”I guess I’m not part of those conversations. I haven’t had one with anybody who’s telling me things are changing. It’s you (media) guys saying that. I take positives and move forward, and I plan on getting better.”

Esmil Rogers followed Happ and was unable to build off his previous start against Philadelphia Phillies, where he only allowed one run over 4.2 innings while striking out 6. In today’s outing Rogers faced 20 batters in 2.2 innings, giving up nine hits and nine ER.

Going into spring training Rogers and Happ were considered the top contenders for the final two rotation spots, but today’s performance will not help in their respective bids to claim those spots with only a week to go in spring training. John Stilson and Tyler Ybarra closed out today’s game.

On offense, Matt Tuiasosopo hit a solo shot off Wandy Rodriguez, and minor outfielder Brett Carroll had two hits. There was not much else to cheer for as Toronto fielded a lineup with only 3 regulars, Melky Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, and Ryan Gions which was able to produce 9 hits and 4 runs.

In other news, Dustin McGowan threw 62 pitches in a minor league spring training game. Dustin went four shutout innings, gave up three hits while fanning four batters and not issuing a walk.  He threw 41 of his pitches for strikes and consistently hit 92-96 mph on the radar gun. That make two very good performances in a row, coupled with the uninspiring performances of Rogers, Happ, Marcus Stroman and to a lesser extent Tood Redmond, Dustin McGowan must being making it very difficult for John Gibbons and Alex Anthopoulos to not view him as the strongest candidate for the fifth and final spot in the starting rotation.

Next up: R.A. Dickey will face off against Montreal native Chris Leroux who will take the mound for the New York Yankees.

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Tags: Dustin McGowan Esmil Rogers J.A. Happ Toronto Blue Jays

  • brad

    Happ really pisses me off sometimes. I’m not one to put a lot of stock in spring training numbers but when u get absolutely shellacked like today and have pitched pretty much like garbage all spring you need to be saying “I need to do XYZ to get better. This is what is going on right now” instead of “It’s you guys saying that”.

    I just don’t know how a manager could put a guy like this in the rotation when he hasn’t pitched 4 innings in a spring training game. Where’s the drive? McGowan has more innings in a game for Christ sakes.

    • RyanMueller

      You know its bad when you get shellacked, as you said, and you ERA only goes form 20.3 something to 20.57. That just shows how bad his spring has gone. I do think he will be alright but with one option remaining he should start the year in Buffalo

      • Andrew van Laar

        Do you think he will accept a minor leauge assignment? I am not sure he will (which I don’t mind. I would love for him and his contract to walk and not waste space in Buffalo)

  • Jason Kerr

    ” I take positives and move forward, and I plan on getting better.” I’m sorry to say, but I don’t know how much positive from today’s game there is … I’m glad I wasn’t there and I’m not sure how I listened to it into the 8th inning.

    • RyanMueller

      You are a better fan than I. I only lasted 4 innings.

    • RyanMueller

      oh and doesn’t happ comments remind you of JPA’s comments last year about all his K’s

  • Kevin

    I hate our rotation with my whole heart. If we just signed one pitcher in the offseason I would feel so much better. Literally anyone! ANYONE! Happ is so bad. And i feel bad for him after that horrible injury last year he has never been the same, but come on man he’s not our guy and neither is Esmil or Redmond. I don’t want to see McGowan come in as a starter and get injured again, but it looks good for him to be our No. 5 right now. Hopefully he can stay healthy if he is picked

    • Mike Lach

      That’s why he will be long man in pen to start to save his arm. I do not see Hutchinson name in this article? Is he still in hunt for spot or did I miss him being assigned to AAA?

      • Michael Wray

        The assumption is that he’s locked down the fourth spot but it’s yet to be officially announced (as far as I know).

    • RyanMueller

      Hate is a very strong word. To say that the starting 5 is nothing to write home about is an understatement, but because I am an optimist I hope that we will be alright and Hutch will be a solid #4 and someone will claim the 5th spot at sometime this summer

  • Gary Gill

    This is a complete zero, nada, zip!!!!!! They might as well just move the franchise it’s getting really embarrassing.

    • RyanMueller

      please step away from the ledge and lock up all the prescription drugs.

  • Jay fan since 77

    The problem with Happ is he honestly believes he is a great pitcher and the results lie. He has it backwards. Guys like this poison the clubhouse and perpetuate the losing attitude! Cut him loose, eat the $5m in salary and let him pitch for a National league bottom feeder. No one will trade for him, unless TO eats his salary. Cut him!

    • JP

      there is nothing wrong with this rotation that can’t be fixed by becoming Happless.

  • Jay fan since 77

    Can Tuiasosopo pitch, because Happ can’t! Cut him!!

  • Andrew van Laar

    I can understand people not putting stock in ST stats and I try not too either. But when a guy goes has a 20+ ERA and the rises in the next game, something is amiss. That isn’t working out kinks. Working out kinks is a 7 or 8 ERA. 20+ means you are a horrible pitcher and either A) need to accept an assignment to AAA to work things out or B) look for a new profession.