The Toronto Blue Jays embarked on a 10-game road trip Friday, starting with the under-performing Detroit Tigers.
Taking the bump to face the Jays was Anibal Sanchez who faced off against the two-faced Drew Hutchison. Strangely, manager John Gibbons elected to complete the battery with Dioner Navarro, leaving his highly paid and extremely successful starting catcher on the bench to open the series.
For seven and a third innings, Sanchez was literally unhittable. Then, the 2015 Blue Jays offence awoke. By the end of the 8th the Jays tallied six runs on five hits to make it an 8-6 ballgame.
However, that would be all the Jays could muster up as they fell to the Tigers by a final score of 8-6.
- Getting the start with Hutchison on the mound was Navarro. Navarro, in the two games he’s caught Hutchison, has helped him maintain a 3.18 ERA as opposed to Russell Martin who hasn’t been as fortuitous with Hutchison with a 5.45 ERA.
- The Tigers opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with a one-out Yoenis Cespedes double to the left-centre gap who was driven in with a Miguel Cabrera bloop single.
- After singling to start the fourth, Cabrera was forced to leave after injuring his left leg while running to second base. Hutchison was later roughed up in the inning giving up a pair of singles and a walk, allowing the Tigers to take a 3-0 lead.
- Lost in the box score is Hutchison’s lack of mental awareness on back-to-back singles to left field as he failed to cover home-plate and third base, allowing the Tigers to tack on three more runs for a 6-0 lead. The fifth inning was no better to Hutchison as he surrendered another run while only getting two outs and being pulled.
- The offence for the Jays followed Hutchison’s lead as Sanchez held them hitless for the first six innings. Jose Bautista broke Sanchez’s 16 retired batters in-a-row with a walk in the seventh but the Jays continued to be held hitless with only two innings to play.
- Felix Doubront came on in relief for Hutchison in the fifth and was at least serviceable in what was easily a low-leverage situation. He allowed one-run on a string of singles in the seventh before settling down with a 4-6-3 double play to end his outing.
- The Jays finally broke Sanchez’s no-hit bid in the 8th when Ezequiel Carrera singled to left field. Devon Travis followed suit with a single of his own. Substitute Ryan Goins joined the party with a single of his own to break up the shutout and make it 8-1. The Jays managed to score 5 more runs on a two-run Donaldson single before Navarro cleared the bags to make it 8-6.
Hutchison was well….not good again tonight. His final line manifested an ugly 4.2 IP, 7 runs (5 earned), 10 hits with two walks and four strikeouts. It certainly wasn’t that he wasn’t throwing strikes tonight as he threw 57 of his 90 pitches for strikes. Rather, he threw many of his strikes over the heart of the plate, up, and was punished appropriately for it. Despite getting off the hook for two runs because of some abominable defence, Hutchison didn’t help himself failing to cover bases on three separate occasions, all of which leading to runs.
The Jays will be forced to make move soon or find themselves among the sellers at this year’s non-waiver trade deadline.
Doubront was employable in his two and a third inning of work Friday night. He struck out one batter while allowing one run and giving up three hits. It doesn’t appear that he will be used in the bullpen permanently as he is slated to start Tuesday in Chicago versus the White Sox.
Following Doubront was Ryan Tepera, the second Buffalo Bison to be promoted before the series opener. Tepera, in his inning of work, allowed only a walk which was later stranded with a timely double play.
This one was an obviously arduous process. The Jays were held hitless for seven innings plus before Ezequiel Carrera stroked a single to left field to break up the no-hit bid.
With that said, the hitter of the game has to go to Ryan Goins for replacing Jose Reyes and going 2-for-2 on the night, picking up an RBI. Obviously, Goins is no slugger but to come off the bench in a game where John Gibbons was likely just trying to give Jose Reyes some rest, it’s great to see his replacement produce in a formidable comeback.
Outside of him, Donaldson and Navarro had a good at-bat in the 8th, each driving in multiple runs to make this former blowout, a ball game.