Blue Jays take the Orioles down in a 4-2 victory


11. 4. 39. Final. 2

After last night’s heated affair, many were wondering, if not expecting, the Jays to respond in some sort of fashion. With Aaron Sanchez on the mound, they could have certainly sent him out there with the intention of beaning one of the Oriole stars, and things really could have escalated.

However, the game was played in a clean manner, and the Jays got the best revenge by taking the second in a row from the Orioles in a 4-2 victory.

Sanchez, who once again, teased fans by showing that his repertoire can be devastating and unhittable at times, but also showing the serious control issues at the same time. Through 5.2 innings, he walked a total of seven batters, while only giving up two hits.

He looks like a pitcher that’s in his own head way too much. The first three innings saw Sanchez issue five free passes, which eventually led to his two earned runs in the third inning. His arm slot seemed to be all over the place. At times, he was flying open, letting his arm drag, and he was missing arm side. At other times, he would stay rigid and yank the fastball down and away to a righty.

It seems awfully like a young pitcher trying to make too many adjustments on the fly, causing himself to lose his mechanics mid-game. Last season, we saw a pitcher who would let his athleticism and lightning quick arm take over and pound the zone with his dominant fastball. Obviously it’s much different being in the rotation, but in terms of working ahead and throwing strikes, we’re not seeing that same pitcher.

He cleaned it up in the fourth and fifth innings, going through six straight batters. He worked ahead, which allowed him to mix in all of his pitches and get quick outs. Those two innings showed the type of pitcher he can become if he can become more consistent with his release point and get his command to a reasonable level. He struggled again in the sixth, leading to his departure.

Now, this isn’t entirely surprising from a 22-year-old pitcher with his first shot in the starting rotation, and I might be a little harsh on him, but you have to think that if the control issues don’t clean up within the next couple of starts, the Jays coaching staff will need to consider making a change.

I’d love to see the coaching staff give Sanchez a long leash and let him work through his issues. With the high-powered offence, this is more doable, but the team is win now mode, and if you can’t rely on him every fifth day then a change might be necessary. Of course, it’s only three starts, it’s too soon to make any judgments on the young pitcher, but the concerns there are definitely there. It’s not often you’ll see a starter walk seven, while giving up two and getting the win.

Justin Smoak and Devon Travis led the offence, with two run shots in the fourth and fifth innings off Ubaldo Jimenez. Smoak’s first home run as a Blue Jay was a fine piece of hitting, as he took a fastball on the outer half and lined it over the left field wall. Travis, who continues to impress, sat back on a change-up from Jimenez and drilled it over the centre field wall.

Dalton Pompey had another good day at the dish with two hits, including a double, and the Jays were active on the base paths, with Travis and Kevin Pillar swiping bags.

Roberto Osuna impressed again, pitching an inning and two thirds while flashing his high power fastball, deceptive change-up and sharp slider. Brett Cecil threw a clean two outs, and Miguel Castro capped the victory with a four out save, including a strikeout and a walk.

Game Notes

  • Sanchez finished with a line of 5.1, 2 H, 2 ER, 7 BB, 4K. Walks were clearly an issue, but he walked away with the win after getting out of multiple jams.
  • Smoak hits his first homer as a Jay, going deep to left to tie the game at 2-2 in the fourth.
  • Travis has another great day at the dish, going 3/4 with a two run shot, and he added his first stolen base in the majors.
  • Osuna looked solid as per usual, throwing a scoreless 1.2 innings after coming in for Sanchez and getting out of a bases loaded jam.
  • Castro made it interesting in the 9th after a double and a walk, but he buckled down, got a strikeout and a double play to give the Jays the win.

B-. Sanchez struggled with command, but showed why he’s highly regarded with his great stuff. He managed to get out of a couple jams with a couple double plays, but overall was lucky to only give up a pair of earned runs.. . <b>Aaron Sanchez</b>. STARTING PITCHING

OFFENCE . B+. As a whole, the offence was solid, registering nine hits and working three walks. Devon Travis had a spectacular game. He shot a line drive to right field in his first at bat, and added a home run to centre field in the fifth. Along with that, he added his first steal and was a part of  two big double plays.. . Game Ball, <b>Devon Travis</b>

These three combined for 3.2 scoreless, shutting down the O’s and locking up the victory for the Jays. The rookies impressed once again, and continue to be un-phased by pressure situations.. . <strong>Roberto Osuna, Brett Cecil, Miguel Castro</strong>. RELIEF PITCHING . A+

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