Apr 17, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Dustin McGowan (29) pitches to the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Live Game Thread 26: Toronto Blue Jays (12-13) at Kansas City Royals (12-12)


Thus far in 2014, the Toronto Blue Jays have played a mixed brand of baseball, riding the highs and lows like a tidal wave but getting absolutely nowhere in the process. The Blue Jays have enjoyed the subtle successes of Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Drew Hutchison, and Mark Buehrle, but struggled to compensate for the slow starts of R.A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, and Colby Rasmus.

Appropriately, they get to close the month out in Kansas City, against a Royals team that while sitting 5th in batting average ranks 25th in runs scored. The Royals have made up for that by limiting their opponents to the 6th fewest runs allowed. Of course, that has given them similar overall results to the Blue Jays, as they enter the series at 12-12.

The Blue Jays will send right-hander Dustin McGowan to the hill for his fifth start of the season, as start that depending on the final result, may be his last one of the year. In four previous trips to the mound, McGowan has mustered a 1-1 record and a 6.88 ERA, lasting past the fourth inning in just 1 of those starts. That has left the Blue Jays in the tough position of trying to figure out if McGowan is a viable long-term solution in the rotation. Already, the team is making plan to line-up prospect Marcus Stroman to jump into the rotation slot should McGowan falter.

McGowan will be opposed by letty Jason Vargas. The Royals signed the 31-year-old to a 4-year, $32 million deal this past winter that seemed curious at the time. However, after his first five starts it has looked like money well spent. He has thrown a total of 35 innings, with a 1.54 ERA and a 2-0 record. However, his 4.6 K/9 is hardly flattering and his 3.94 FIP indicate there is room for regression.

Toronto Blue Jays Line-up:

Jose Reyes – SS
Melky Cabrera – LF
Jose Bautista – RF
Edwin Encarnacion – 1B
Dioner Navarro – C
Juan Francisco – DH
Brett Lawrie – 3B
Colby Rasmus – CF
Chris Getz – 2B

Kansas City Royals Line-up:

Nori Aoki – RF
Omar Infante – 2B
Eric Hosmer – 1B
Billy Butler – DH
Alex Gordon – LF
Salvador Perez – C
Mike Moustakas – 3B
Alcides Escobar – SS
Jarrod Dyson – CF

Game Notes:

- This is Jose Reyes’ first game in Kansas City since squashing his ankle last season and missing 2 months. Any Blue Jays fans in attendance should do anything they can to help break that mojo.

- Vargas is 1-3 in his career against the Blue Jays with a 5.67 ERA in 6 starts. That said, Edwin Encarnacion is the biggest recipient from Vargas, batting .333 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs, and 5 RBI against the lefty, so this could be a slump buster for Edwin. Oddly, Jose Bautista has struggled against Vargas, with only 1 hit in 10 at bats. That one hit however was a home run, and he does own 6 walks against him as well.

- The Royals have limited exposure to Dustin McGowan, and most of their experience hasn’t been very good against the Jays’ starter. However, Alex Gordon has tagged him well, going 4-7 against McGowan with a triple, a home run, and a pair of RBI.

Next Blue Jays Game View full schedule »
Wednesday, Sep 33 Sep7:10at Tampa Bay RaysBuy Tickets

Tags: Game Thread Toronto Blue Jays

  • yabba12

    strooooooman

    • Kyle Franzoni

      6 no-hit innings with 10 k’s from Stroman tonight. Seems like a good tune-up for his first MLB start, no?

      • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

        only one ball left the infield

      • 70-92

        I hope they dump McGowan either way: McG, Rogers, Happ, and Redmond all pretty useless long guys . . . Morrow too. Damn. I would love to see Stroman and Nolin instead of McG/Morrow just for some fresh blood

    • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

      sickkk

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Well, we’re under a bit of a rain delay, but the tarp is off the field and pitchers are warming up, game should be underway in 20 minutes or so.

    In the meantime, who is your pick to click?

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Gibbons is mugging for the camera on the Royals broadcast. Lots of love for Gibbons here in KC.

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Wow, nothing like Reyes putting a bad swing on the very first pitch of the game, popping up to first base.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      Melky then line-out to Escobar for the second out. Just four pitches into this one and we already have two outs. Perhaps this is why Vargas has had some success this year.

      • Kyle Franzoni

        Joey Bats gets his second hit against Vargas, and his second home run. 1-0 Toronto. A laser shot right to left field.

        • Kyle Franzoni

          Edwin lines out to left fielder Alex Gordon. Eight pitches, 1-0 lead for Toronto after the top half of the first.

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Couple of nice plays by Chris Getz back a 1-2-3 inning for McGowan.

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Navarro gets the top of the second started with a line single to center.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      After Francisco K’s, Lawrie loses the pedo-stache and hooks a single to left. First and second, one out, Rasmus at the plate.

      • Kyle Franzoni

        Rasmus erases Lawrie on the fielders choice. First and third for Getz.

        • Kyle Franzoni

          Getz makes us forget Ryan Goins immediately with an RBI single to second. Not the hardest hit ball, by efficient nonetheless.

          • Kyle Franzoni

            Royals are challenging the tag call and the call is overturned. Getz is out, Jays lose the run, and the memory of Ryan Goins lives on.

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Butler takes a 0-2 pitch the other way to lead-off the second for the Royals.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      McGowan loses Gordon after getting ahead of him, first and second, no outs for the Royals.

      • Kyle Franzoni

        Wild pitch to Moustakas scores Butler. Then Moustakas is walked before getting erased on a FC from Escobar. Escobar tries to steal second and Navarro throws it into center field and Gordon scores on the play. 2-1 Royals and Escobar on third.

        • Kyle Franzoni

          McGowan closes out the inning by striking out Dyson, but the damage was done. After a 10 pitch first inning, Dustin need 33 to get through the second, and it now looks like it will be a short night again for McGowan. 2-1 Royals after two.

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Jays start the third with a strikeout by Reyes and a pop-up to right field by Cabrera. Bautista hits one on the nose again, but Alex Gordon proves why he’s a glover to take one away for Jose. 2-1 Royals into the bottom of the third.

  • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

    Jose showing off the hose in right

    • Kyle Franzoni

      Textbook.

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Aoki leads off the third with a bleeding double down the line. Not sure why he didn’t make it to third in the hit. It costs the Royals as Bautista guns him down at third trying to move up on a flyball to right.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      Cabrera puts away the pop-up from Hosmer to end the inning. Bautista’s throw helps make it a short inning, just what McGowan needed.

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Jays get a big break there, as Escobar slips trying to throw Navarro out on a single up the middle.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      Francisco flies out to right field. That leaves it up to Lawrie with 2-outs and Navarro on first.

      • Kyle Franzoni

        Lawrie with his second hit, this one a smooth single to right. Did a good job of staying on the pitch and going with it to right.

        • Kyle Franzoni

          And Rasmus kills the rally with a backwards K to end the inning and strand a pair.

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Another quick inning for McGowan. A fly-out to right by Butler, a sharp ground-out by Gordon, and a foul pop-up by Perez.

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Another ground-out by Getz, but you have to love the way he hustled down the line on that one.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      Reyes to second on a generous double where Aoki seemed to mis-read it and then drops it on the over the shoulder attempt.

      • Kyle Franzoni

        Jays stick with a winning formula, hit another one to Aoki who is way too shallow and Cabrera lines a triple over his head. Cabrera comes around to score on passed ball and Blue Jays retake the lead 3-2.

  • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

    Aoki getting abused in right field

  • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

    Alright Jays have the lead let’s get through five to make this official

    • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

      Nevermind rain appears to be letting up

  • Kyle Franzoni

    McGowan reacts to regaining the lead by walking the lead-off man, Moustakas.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      He responds by getting Escobar to pop-up to short. 1 out with Dyson at the plate and Moustakas at first.

      • Kyle Franzoni

        Dyson flies out to Cabrera in left.

        • Kyle Franzoni

          Aoki lines out to second and McGowan is through the fifth for just the second time this season. Curious if Gibbons will let him come back out in the sixth.

  • Kyle Franzoni

    And the Jays go down in order in the top of the 6th.

  • Kyle Franzoni

    McGowan comes back out for the sixth with 77 pitches to his name and the top of the Royals line-up due up. Perhaps a short leash for McGowan?

    • Kyle Franzoni

      Gets Infante to hit a weak comebacker and flips to first for the out. Loup still warming in the pen and likely to come in for Gordon if McGowan loses Hosmer.

      • Kyle Franzoni

        He K’s Hosmer for out number 2.

        • Kyle Franzoni

          A fly-ball to right by Butler ends the inning for McGowan, and likely his night, as I can’t see him coming back out for the seventh at this stage unless the Jays score some insurance runs.

  • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

    Dusty getting stronger the longer he goes.. great to see!

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Colby Rasmus leads off the seventh with a double down the line.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      Perfect sacrifice by Chris Getz pushes Colby over to third.

      • Kyle Franzoni

        Second hit by Reyes, a single to left, drives in Rasmus and gives the Blue Jays an insurance run.

        • Kyle Franzoni

          Cabrera with a double to the gap scores Reyes. 5-2 Blue Jays and that is the hook for Vargas.

          • Kyle Franzoni

            A walk to Bautista almost got washed away when Encarnacion got jammed. Herrera instead chooses not to go to second with the ball and the Blue Jays avoid the double play with runners at the corners.

          • Kyle Franzoni

            Navarro walks to load the bases with 2-outs. Juan Francisco to the plate.

          • Kyle Franzoni

            Francisco ends it with a ground-out. McGowan back to the mound with a 3 run cushion, 5-2 Blue Jays.

  • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

    There’s the two-strike splitter from Delabar

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Gordon in for a lead-off double and McGowan’s night is over.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      Delabar is greeted by Salvador Perez and a 2-run home run cuts the lead back to one. Insurance runs are playing big right now.

      • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

        getting a bit too close for comfort… i have no confidence in the bullpen right now

      • Kyle Franzoni

        Delabar gets the next two and then walks the number-9 hitter Dyson. Cecil in to close out the inning.

        • Kyle Franzoni

          And of course Dyson steals second, because the Jays haven’t managed to control the running game at all this season.

          • Kyle Franzoni

            Cecil walks Aoki to bring up Infante.

          • Kyle Franzoni

            Ground-out by Infante handled by Lawrie to end the frame and preserve the lead.

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Aaron Crow into the game to start the eighth for the Royals. Rasmus just happy to face a right-hander.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      Rasmus singles to right, but stranded after two line-outs by Getz and Reyes.

  • Kyle Franzoni

    Hosmer leads off the eighth with a single off Cecil.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      Single by Butler moves Hosmer to third and puts runners at the corners with no outs.

      • Kyle Franzoni

        Alex Gordon strikes out to give Cecil a big break.

        • Kyle Franzoni

          Santos is to relieve Cecil now and get the 4-out save.

          • Kyle Franzoni

            And on the second pitch from Santos, Perez does it again, driving in a pair and the Royals take the lead.

          • Kyle Franzoni

            Santos K’s Moustakas on a nasty slider.

          • Kyle Franzoni

            A 2-out walk to Alcides Escobar and this inning continues. Strike-zone appears to be getting smaller.

          • Kyle Franzoni

            RBI Single by Dyson gives the Royals a 2-run lead.

          • Kyle Franzoni

            Aoki with an RBI single, 8-5 Royals.

          • Kyle Franzoni

            Infante follows with his own RBI hit, knocking in 2 more and this game is officially out of hand.

          • Jason Ramnauth

            Ouch

  • Kyle Franzoni

    After a strike-out by Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista shocks everyone and walks. Then Edwin Encarnacion adds a 2-run home run to cut the lead to 10-7.

    • Kyle Franzoni

      We may have back-to-back, but nothing done and Navarro flies out for second out..

      • Kyle Franzoni

        Francisco ends the game with a 3-pitch strike-out and Jays lose another they should have won.