The Blue Jays got another outstanding performance from a starting pitcher, but this time they added in a big game from the offense and strong work from the bullpen, and as a result, their four-game losing streak is history.
Brandon Morrow was the star of this one. Eschewing the go-for-ground-balls philosophy that led him to a fine 3.71 ERA and an even better 1.125 WHIP over his first four starts, Morrow just reared back and blew away the team with which he started his professional career. He threw six innings of five-hit shutout, inducing only five ground balls, but striking out nine while not issuing a walk. The fastball that had been sitting at about 92 miles an hour over his first four starts was suddenly coming in at 95 to 97 on the radar gun.
It was the first time that Morrow has ever made a start and not walked anyone.
He was outstanding, and I have to wonder if it was less about no longer wanting to get quick resolutions to at-bats in order to lower his pitch count and stay in games longer (he threw 104 pitches in his six innings) and more about just wanting to shove it up the nether regions of the Seattle Mariners, the team that drafted him, rushed him to the big leagues and then jerked him around for four years before trading him to Toronto. We shall see his next time out when he faces the Angels, I guess.
Amazingly, Morrow was at his absolute best in the big spots, just as he was in his last start in Kansas City. Morrow held the Mariners hitless in seven opportunities with runners in scoring position – the only time one of those runners even advanced 90 feet was when Kelly Johnson dropped a Miguel Olivo pop-up with one out in the 5th to put runners on the corners. Morrow struck out the next batter.
Three of the last four times the opposition has had a runner on third with less than two out, Morrow has struck out the next batter (the other one was a pop-up), and he has retired each of the last 16 hitters he’s faced with a runner in scoring position.
As for the bats, well, the slumbering ones seem to be waking up a bit – Adam Lind was 2-for-3 with an RBI double and a walk after getting what should have been a big RBI single against a lefty Friday night and Jose Bautista hit a rocket right through M’s third baseman Kyle Seager to go with his 8th inning ground-rule double that was sliced to right field. Edwin Encarnacion – whose bat has not been slumbering at all – had a big night, with a sacrifice fly early and a Grand Slam late that put the game away. The five-RBI night gives Edwin 19 ribbies for the season, in just 21 games, which is a pace for 147 on the season. Not bad for a guy who so many BlueJaysTalk callers last year said had to go because he just couldn’t drive in runs.
Speaking of The BlueJaysTalk, here it is, for your listening pleasure:
The series with Seattle wraps up on Sunday afternoon with Henderson Alvarez taking another shot at his first win of the season, facing lefty Jason Vargas. If the Jays’ season pattern holds, they’ll win – and it will be the second of a four-game winning streak that will be followed by four straight losses. Have to take the bad with the good, right? We’ll be on the air with the pre-game show at 12:30PM Eastern for a 1:07 first pitch – join us, won’t you?
Please give me a follow on The Twitter, you can find me @wilnerness 590. Edwin Encarnacion is hanging out @Encadwin.
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