Blue Jays Top 5 of 2012 – #4 The Shut-Out Experience


May 3, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Brandon Morrow (23) pitches in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY SportsWith the new year nearly upon us and fans clamboring for the beginning of the 2013 season, it is only appropriate to look back at 2012. With that in mind, we will be counting down the days to the new year by remembering the five best Blue Jays moments of 2012.

On Thursday, we started with Brett Lawrie going all Wolvie-Beserker style at #5. Continuing our countdown, we’re going to move onto something that was a little more startling for the Blue Jays.

In a season characterized by pitchers going down in flames, both via injuries and via ineffectiveness, the Blue Jays actually accomplished a feat that the team had not performed since 1993; back-to-back shut-outs. The last time it had been done in club history was when Hall-of-Fame candidate Jack Morris and Al Leiter performed the deed on June 16th and 17th of 1993, on the way to the club’s second consecutive championship.

This time around, it was Henderson Alvarez and Brandon Morrow dropping the goose-egg on the Los Angeles Angels on May 3rd and 4th.

First up was Brandon Morrow on the 3rd. Taking the hill against an Angels line-up that featured Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, and Albert Pujols, Morrow had his best individual outing of the season. In the game, Morrow faced just one hitter over the limit, giving up only three hits in the process (Trout had two of them). The outing was also remarkable for its efficiency. Morror threw just 102 pitches and 75 for strikes, while striking out 8 hitters and walking none in the game. His game score of 89 for the outing was his highest of the season.

Alvarez would follow that performance with his first career shut-out the following night. Like Morrow, Alvarez helped himself by keeping his pitch counts low and limiting his walks. He would surrender 5 hits in the game, while striking out 3 and walking just a single hitter. Alvarez was also helped by two double-play balls, off the bats of Trumbo and Howie Kendrick. The second-year starter’s game score of 77 was the second-highest of his career, behind only an 81 posted on August 31, 2011 against the Orioles.

These two performances were perhaps the only notable pitching bright spots for the Blue Jays in 2012, and it was a performance like this that showed some of the potential of Alvarez and helped make him a piece of the blockbuster trade with Miami.