WP: Felix Hernandez – 7.0IP, 3H, 1ER, 0BB, 8K
LP: Drew Hutchison – 5.2IP, 7H, 2BB, 5K
The Toronto Blue Jays bowed to the King and kissed his ring on Monday night in Seattle, falling 11-1 to the Mariners in an uninspiring contest. Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison appeared to be at the top of his game early, but ran into trouble full speed in the middle innings to continue his up-and-down season.
The Blue Jays received an early jolt in the top of the 4th inning from a Jose Bautista home run to left field, which put Toronto on top 1-0. That fully summarizes the positive takeaways from this game, however. Blue Jays hitters seemed overmatched and a split second behind the ball all game long, tying a season low with just 3 hits.
Felix Hernandez was his dominant self, and appeared untouchable outside of the home run to Bautista. He owned the bottom third of the zone and consistently froze Blue Jays hitters with breaking balls early in the count.
After coughing up the Blue Jays brief 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 4th, Hutchison’s night came crashing down in the 6th. A home run from Robinson Cano and triple from Mike Zunino began the inning, and manager John Gibbons was forced to turn to the newly recalled Brad Mills to finish the game from there. Mills (2.1IP, 3H, 5ER, 3BB, 2K) did nothing to earn the confidence of Blue Jays management or the front office, and should be on the first plane, train, or automobile back to Buffalo.
Drew Hutchison’s swings from dominance to struggle are again a concern for Blue Jays fans. J.A. Happ experienced similar inconsistencies earlier this season, but I will argue that his issues were purely performance related. Keep in mind that Drew Hutchison is coming off Tommy John surgery, and did not pitch a great deal of innings in the minors before beginning his Blue Jays MLB career, which is still very young. Stamina could be an issue here, which the Blue Jays may need to address into September and throughout the offseason.
For the Blue Jays, a bounce-back game is in order tomorrow with J.A. Happ taking the hill. Perhaps fans will be more forgiving with this “roll over and die” performance given the 19 inning game and 5 hour flight the day before, but excuses must end today. The Blue Jays, much like Drew Hutchison, are entering the crossroads of their season. It’s time to win, and win now, because the rest of the league is done waiting.
MVJ: Jose Bautista is the default choice here, providing the only offence. Nobody on this roster is looking forward to the returns of Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind more than Joseph Bats, who will benefit greatly from their protection in the order.
Tomorrow’s Probable Starters:
TOR: J.A. Happ (8-6, 4.09ERA)
SEA: Chris Young (10-6, 3.27 ERA)