When the Jays announced on Friday that they were going to be calling up Drew Hutchison from Triple-A Buffalo for a spot start on Sunday, I immediately (jokingly) thought it was all part of a clever plan to get the frustratingly limp bats working. I mean, Hutch managed to earn a 13-5 record last season despite pitching really poorly because the hitters gave him an average of 6.64 runs of support per nine innings. So if they threw him into a game, the offence would certainly wake up, knowing they needed, like, ten runs to win, right?
Obviously that isn’t actually how that works, and even if it did, it could be a moot point completely, because it looks like the bats may actually be hitting their stride. And we should all be very, very thankful for that, because not only is the offence a massive part of this team’s future success, but watching them pound the ball all over the place is a damn pleasure.
The nine runs the Blue Jays scored off of Chris Bassitt, Liam Hendriks, and Mark Rzepczynski are the most the team has put up all season. They roasted seven a couple of times, once in the Home Opener against the Sox, and once a few days later in a win over the Yankees, but yesterday’s drumming was the first time all year that it felt like the flood gates were actually being kicked open.
Maybe it was because they were four-for-ten with runners in scoring position, which, while it isn’t jaw dropping, is still an upgrade over how they’ve been hitting in possible run scoring situations over the past few games. Maybe it was the fact Troy Tulowitzki smashed two home runs, giving an indication that he didn’t actually leave his bat somewhere in Colorado. Or maybe it was the fact they grabbed an early lead, and then continued to just add to it in the late innings, which isn’t something we’ve seen much of, as the Jays have been completely shut down after the sixth this season.
Whatever it was, it was a treat to watch.
The big star of the show yesterday offensively (and defensively for two nice TV dives) was Ezequiel “Zeke” Carrera, who had probably the best game of his life, hitting three singles (one of which that turned into a triple because of a poor throw by Rzepczynski) a double, and a grabbing a stolen base. He also scored three runs, indicating how he was the spark plug that played a big part in getting the ball rolling.
J.A. Happ was also excellent, which is something we’re coming to expect after four strong starts to begin the season. Jays’ Ace went seven innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits, one walk, and a hit batter, and picking up just one strikeout, as virtually all of his outs came by virtue of the groundout/flyout. After Happ was finished, Gavin Floyd came in and tossed two perfect innings, keeping the A’s from mounting any sort of comeback.
Overall, it was probably the most complete game I’ve watched the Jays play all season, which is very refreshing considering some of the facepalmers they’ve had over the past week.
News and Scuttlebutt
In order to make room on the 25-man roster for Hutch, rookie reliever Chad Girodo was optioned back to Triple-A Buffalo.
After playing in yesterday’s game, Russell Martin will get today off. He left Friday’s game after hitting a double with a neck injury, and he’ll miss today’s game for the same thing.
At Jays Journal, Keegan Matheson looked at whether the Blue Jays are better off using Justin Smoak exclusively at first base, or whether they should summon another bat from the minors to platoon with him.
And if you were enjoying all of the Carrera love, here’s a story from Sportsnet by Arden Zwelling going into more detail about Zeke’s career game.
Also, this is cool to see:
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) April 24, 2016
Last year’s Opening Day Starter, banished to the Minor Leagues after a pretty forgettable 2015 season, has been summoned to make a spot start today. Hutch, in three starts with Buffalo, has thrown 15.1 innings, posting an ERA of 4.11 while striking out 11.7 per nine innings. Obviously the number in there to get excited about is the high strikeout rate, but these are Triple-A hitters, of course.
It’s probably a good thing that they’re going to be giving Hutch his spot start at the Rogers Centre, because that’s where he virtually all of his success last season. At home, he posted a very strong 2.91 ERA, but when he hit the road, it ballooned all the way to 9.83. Maybe he just really likes sleeping in his own bed? I don’t know?
On the other side, the A’s will counter with Eric Surkamp, who is probably most commonly known as a reliever who played for the Chicago White Sox in 2014. Surkamp has made three starts this season (and only ten in his big league career), putting up a 3.68 ERA in 14.2 innings. Those three stars came against the Yankees, Mariners, and Angels, so not exactly the most potent of attacks. Also, through his career, Surkamp (being a lefty, and all) has struggled against right handed hitting, which certainly bodes well for the Jays, and ya know, all their big right handed bats.
So if there was ever a good chance to build off of an excellent offensive outburst, this would probably be it! Keep the good times rolling!
Ezequiel Carrera (L) — LF
Josh Donaldson (R) — 3B
Jose Bautista (R) — RF
Edwin Encarnacion (R) — DH
Troy Tulowitzki (R) — SS
Justin Smoak (S) — 1B
Kevin Pillar (R) — CF
Darwin Barney (R) — 2B
Josh Thole (R) — C
Billy Burns (S) — CF
Mark Canha (R) — DH
Josh Reddick (L) — RF
Stephen Vogt (L) — C
Khris David (R) — LF
Chris Coghlan (L) — 3B
Marcus Semien (R) — SS
Yonder Alonso (L) — 1B
Tyler Ladendorf (R) — 2B