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Photo Credit: © Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Nate Pearson’s debut was incredible (until the 10th inning, unfortunately)

Nate Pearson has arrived, folks. And boy oh boy, he certainly lived up to the hype. The Blue Jays ended up taking another frustrating loss, but we’ll look back on this one as the first of many, many great starts by Pearson.

Things worth mentioning…

  • Today was all about Nate Pearson making his big-league debut. The Blue Jays’ top prospect went up against Max Scherzer, one of the best arms in baseball, so this had all of the makings of a student vs teacher pitcher’s duel. And that’s exactly what it was. Pearson went five strong innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while picking up five strikeouts.
  • Pearson’s best moment came in the fourth inning. Eric Thames led off the inning with a double and then Pearson got Kurt Suzuki to ground out, putting Thames on third with one away. After that, Pearson got Starlin Castro to line out to Cavan Biggio for the second out of the inning, and then he worked his way out of the jam by striking out Carter Keiboom with an unhittable 99 mile-per-hour fastball at the knees. That was ace-level stuff from Pearson.

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  • Pearson showed it all off tonight, giving a nice glimpse of what makes him such an incredible talent. While Pearson is known for his stuff, he isn’t just a thrower, he’s a pitcher. Pearson showed his high-90s gas, but also did a great job at mixing speeds, working around the zone, and finishing batters off with terrifying breaking stuff. Here’s a glimpse at all five of his strikeouts…

  • Unfortunately, the night ended with a frustrating loss. The Blue Jays got completely shut down by Max Scherzer and they ended up losing in 10 innings after Shun Yamaguchi, who seems to have found a role on the team as the guy who gets smacked around in extra innings, allowed four runs in the top of the 10th.
  • The Jays might not have even made it that far if not for an incredible play by Lourdes Gurriel in the seventh inning. Despite Saturday’s disaster, Charlie Montoyo opted to bring Sam Gaviglio into a 0-0 game. Gaviglio promptly allowed a walk and a single and he nearly allowed a go-ahead double, but Gurriel made a fantastic catch in left field to keep the game tied.

  • Toronto’s best chance to win the game came in the bottom of the eighth inning. Joe Panik singled and Anthony Alford came in as a pinch-runner and stole second. He then advanced on a pick-off gaffe before Derek Fisher walked, giving the Jays runners on first and second. It seemed inevitable in this situation that Montoyo would have Fisher swipe second because the Nationals surely wouldn’t have tried to throw him out with a runner like Alford at third. Fisher stayed put and Teoscar Hernandez promptly grounded into a double play.
  • So, all told, rather than gushing about how great Nate Pearson was tonight, we’re yet again talking about the perplexing decisions made by Montoyo that ultimately cost the Blue Jays in a tight ballgame. The use of Gaviglio in a high-leverage inning and opting to go with Shun Yamaguchi for the 10th inning were carbon copies of the mistakes that Montoyo made over the weekend in Tampa. You can defend the use of Gaviglio and Yamaguchi, to an extent, because better pitchers weren’t available, but not sending Fisher in the eighth inning was a shocker. Maybe I’m being too hard on Montoyo at this point. I don’t know. It just feels like everyone except for him can see these choices blowing up from a mile away.
  • Of course, it isn’t all on Montoyo. The Blue Jays also didn’t score a run today. They faced Max Scherzer, which is no easy task, but the lineup hardly threatened at all during the game, save for that eighth inning situation. The offence has left a bit to be desired early on. We need Bo Bichette, Travis Shaw, and Randal Grichuk back ASAP.