11:40PM Eastern

The Blue Jays came home off a horrible road trip with a vocal portion of their fan base having written them off after a brutal weekend in Texas that dropped them all the way down to the .500 mark, and they got the exact start that they so desperately needed from the same 21 year-old kid whose rough outing in St. Petersburg got the five-game losing streak started.

Drew Hutchison had easily his best outing in the big leagues, setting career highs in innings pitched, strikeouts and pitches thrown while matching a career-low in hits allowed.  He blanked the Orioles over seven innings of three-hitter, walking three and striking out nine.

It was a bend-but-don’t break start early on, as all three walks came in the third inning.  Hutchison was helped out by Jeff Mathis picking Chris Davis off second on a failed bunt attempt by Robert Andino, and by his own athleticism, leaping high in the air to haul in a Nick Markakis chopper and flipping to first to end the frame, leaving the bases loaded.

Two batters after Hutchison wriggled out of that jam, Edwin Encarnacion hit a rocket that would have probably broken the facing of the 100 level in left-centre had a fan not gotten his glove on it (and then dropped it).  The two-run shot made it 4-0 Blue Jays, and was Encarnacion’s 16th home run of the season.  Amazingly, at this point last season, Encarnacion was still looking for his first big fly – he would wind up with 17.

Kelly Johnson was the major offensive contributor in this one, despite being a game-time decision because he’s dealing with a sore hamstring.  And what happens when your leg hurts?  You have to run a lot, of course.  Johnson had to leg out a pair of doubles, and looked as though he was in whole lot of pain in the doing.  He also had to push it in the very first inning, when he doubled into the gap, then scored from second on Colby Rasmus’ single to right.  Johnson was able to go nice and slow, however, when he hit a two-run bomb into the batters’ eye in dead centre in the 4th, his 9th homer of the season.

Hutchison’s outing was exactly what the doctor ordered, with the Blue Jays’ starting pitchers having combined to throw just 9 1/3 innings over the course of dropping three straight in Texas, allowing 20 runs.  He did get knocked around by Tampa last time out, but this was the third time in his last four starts that Hutchison has thrown at least six innings and allowed no more than one run.

Every Blue Jay got at least one hit in the game, save for Jose Bautista, who was 0-for-4 but reached on an error.  Bautista’s frustrations, that have been on display quite often this season, seemed to boil over after he popped up foul to end the 6th inning.  After the ball was caught, Bautista shattered his bat by slamming it into the ground in the dirt cutout around home plate.  We have gotten used to seeing the angry Jose many times this season, but this time it struck me as a particularly inappropriate showing, given that his team was leading 6-0 at the time.

Things did get a little tense in the ninth, as Francisco Cordero came on and gave up hits to four of the five batters he faced to turn a 6-0 lead into a save situation for Casey Janssen.  Cordero hadn’t given up a run in nine consecutive outings ever since he coughed up that walkoff Grand Slam to Brandon Inge back in Oakland on May 9th, but he had to be bailed out of this one by the Jays’ closer.  Janssen came on with a four-run lead, runners at second and third and one out, and needed all of four pitches to close it out.  Amazingly, Janssen has yet to give up even a single baserunner when pitching in a save situation since being named closer on May 10th – the opposition is 0-for-11 against him.

Here’s tonight’s edition of The BluejaysTalk, for your listening pleasure – and I promise it’s the right one this time:

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The series continues with the Blue Jays having a chance to close to within three games of first place in the A.L. East with ace Ricky Romero on the hill against Orioles’ righty Jake Arrieta.  Romero has been struggling mightily with his control, having walked a career-high seven in his last start and having issued an ugly 24 free passes in his last 27 1/3 innings. Though Romero is 5-1 on the season, the Blue Jays have lost three of his last four starts.  The Orioles have lost six of their last eight.  We’ll be on the air across the Blue Jays Radio Network at 7:00PM Eastern – join us, won’t you?

Please give me a follow on The Twitter, you can find me @wilnerness590. Drew Hutchison hangs out @1DrewHutch.

Comments are welcome – I read them all and respond to most!

 

 

 

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28 Responses to “And A Babe Shall Lead Them”
  1. 1.

    Can you explain why the Jays wasted a draft pick on Deck McGuire when Chris Sale had college numbers that were only about a million times more impressive?

    At the time the Jays almost apologized for the bizarre selection by saying something like: “well it’s true that his ceiling is really quite crappy; but, he has a half decent floor.”
    Well they were right about the ceiling and wrong about the floor.
    They should get rid of their college pitching scouts because they have an uncanny knack for zeroing in on exactly the wrong guy.

    And yes, my heart sank a foot in my chest when I followed the 2010 draft because I was convinced the Jays were about to pull off a huge coup by snagging Chris Sale.
    What a difference he would make on this team now.

    Life of a Jays fan. C’est la vie.

    MW: Yeah, the Blue Jays never go for tough-sign high-ceiling players in the draft. Oh, wait…..

    - Andre
  2. 2.

    do you think the Jays will sign Edwin, or will he test the market??

    MW: That’s entirely up to Encarnacion.

    - Lacy
  3. 3.

    i enjoy your writing and wit, thankyou

    MW: No, thank you!

    - joanne
  4. 4.

    Mike, I assume when Santos gets back that Casey has done enough to earn the 8th inning role formerly inhabited by Coco’s corpse?

    MW: Wow – imagine how you’d feel if Cordero had been scored upon in more than one of his last ten outings.

    - Jack
  5. 5.

    Hi Mike,

    Ok i admit it, Kelly Johnson has won me over.

    But i would like your opinion on whether or not his career track record should be a major concern about offering Kelly a two/three year contract after this season. (It might take more)

    You’ve often said he’s consistently been unable to put back to back good years together during hie career, and i’m wondering how you feel about this, and what you would be looking at doing?

    Because as much as i believe they will remain in a race throughout this season, i’m beginning to think they may well come up short in regards to the play-offs. If that happens then the pressure is really on for 2013. So with that in mind, What do you do with Kelly?

    Of course he may well be pricing himself out of the Jays reach?

    Thanks as always

    MW: I don’t think I’ve said that. He’s gone good year/bad year the last few seasons, but 07 and 08 were both pretty good. It’s up to Johnson. I don’t think he expected to be back here this season, and I don’t know how he feels about sticking around for a longer term.

    - ukjay
  6. 6.

    Some great “D” for sure to avoid the one terrible inning that seems to plague young Hutchison.
    Mike, who is the hitting instructor that Encarnation worked with in the off season. Jays should make that guy an offer.

    - JR
  7. 7.

    Ni Mike

    interesting comment on the ‘fan’ who cheered on Reynold’s ball, hoping it would be a homerun. Mike, I find these ‘fans’ are there because they follow the hometeam but does not necessarily cheer for them. When you look at some of the comments written in Sportsnet in response to articles written, they are much worse than the comments on your blog, just as bad after the jays lost a game.

    There are a few people there who had never had a good thing to say about anything, even after the team had strung a few wins. There is always something wrong. I recalled someone commenting recently that the JP Arencibia is just not good enough after he hit a ground ball for an out. Well, I wondered who this guy compared JP to? or if he ever bothered looking at statistics amongst catchers.

    I have given up reading those commments at Sportsnet- I call it ‘kicking the dog syndrome’. I sure hate to be their girlfriend or wife. You could never do anything right for these guys

    - Francis
  8. 8.

    When Henderson Alvarez was ejected in the game against Texas, he walked into the dugout and threw his glove against the wall in a fit of anger. Not judging, just pointing out that he is not as robotic with his emotions as some are portraying.

    MW: So noted. It was, however, a pretty BS ejection and so Alvarez was entitled to a fit of pique, I think.

    - Curious George
  9. 9.

    Good morning, Mike.

    That was a nice way to open the homestand yesterday, though it looked same-old, same-old for Hutchinson in the 3rd inning for him. Then something clicked for him after he got out of that jam and he was fine. Excellent to see, and it will keep him around in the club for a few more starts.

    The Jays scored what they needed to win, which was very nice to see.

    With the team carrying an extra reliever, one of who is a starter and with Farrell’s post game comments about being short a middle infielder, it looks like Chavez will probably be sent back down (Villaneuva and Perez are both available to eat innings) and perhaps we might see Hechavarria up here to spend time at short (though Visquel looks brilliant out there). It’s interesting to see that Laffey was called up in case he needed to eat some Romero or Morrow innings in the next couple of days. So why is Chavez still here unless he is going to make a start? Interesting.

    Vlad went 2-5 in his opener. I wonder how the Lakeland Tigers pitchers will feel about throwing to the legend.

    - Tim in Niagara Falls
  10. 10.

    Good game after poor road trip.

    Drew did great,3rd was a worry but he pulled through.
    Nice to see Janssen shut them down.

    K.J.had good game, hope his injury does not get worse.

    Colby is showing what he has. Hope it keeps the doubters quiet.
    Seems to be doing good in 2nd spot.
    Now will he stay there ?
    Not sure how he missed that ball in 9th.

    Poor showing again from JoeyBats.
    Does he need anger management?
    Is it time to move him from the 3rd spot ?

    Hope they can get the Left Field sorted. We sure could use someone with a bat that can play good defense and can throw the fall to cut off man, not short hop it or throw it over his head.

    Playoff bound or not the Jays sure are entertaining.

    - Hank
  11. 11.

    Mike, a bunch of questions/comments.

    1.) In light of Mathis hitting 88mph with his fastball against Texas on the weekend, who do you think would be the best position player who could be a pitcher and who could throw the hardest?

    2.) Impressive fastball from Hutch. He’s been at 88mph-92mph with his fastball most of the year and all of a sudden, consistent 92-95mph all night. Wow.

    3.) What do you make of Cordero at this point? It’s about 2 months into the season, do you keep running him out there? Sure, he had a decent run of scoreless appearances prior to last night but that may be a result of the Jays using him in low pressure situations in 6th and 7th innings and against lesser opposition hitters.

    MW: 1 – For the Blue Jays? Former college closer Jose Bautista. 3 – That’s not how Cordero was used, though. Go back and look at those nine scoreless outings.

    - JT
  12. 12.

    Hi Mike,

    Before I discuss the game, I have to mention that Jhonny Peralta bears a striking resemblance to Winne the Pooh. I know this is irrelevant to the game, but I had to present this.

    As for the game, Hutch looked great. I have to say, I love the way this kid has pitched since being called up. Other than some big innings in a few of his starts, he has been tremendous. In fact, I think he should stay with the club all season or until they decide to shut him down to limit his innings. I really don;t think the Jays can count on Dustin McGowan returning. He may, but given his injury history, it isn’t a given. If Hutch is still pitching well, why send him down? I like this kid a lot.

    It would appear Edwin Encarnacion will exceed his career high of 26 homers with the Reds barring an injury or massive slump. In my mind, he is the MVP of the team to date because he carried this offense early on when Bautista, Arencibia were in a prolonged slump.

    - Charlie Harper
  13. 13.

    if the Red soc are lookin to move Youk…. shud the Jays not make a move? i would love to see that bat hittin behind Bats!!! Gets on base alot and still has some pop… is it unlikely due to teh fact that tehy r in teh same division?? how desperate are they to move Youk??

    MW: I don’t think they’re all that desperate, nor do I think Youkilis would be a great fit here given his contract and his relative struggles the last couple of seasons.

    - Benny
  14. 14.

    michael,
    i somewhat innocently made the observation before the weekend about aa and his group and their inclination to be very proactive on calling up and sending down bullpen pitchers on an extremely regular basis.
    i find it most intriguing to be honest as i don’t see other teams or gm’s come close to doing it with the regularity that he does.
    and since then he seems to have got even more exuberant with it and has actually brought his game up to another level in this regard if at all possibl as it now is happening almost on a daily basis.
    now i don’t find myself needing to be critical of it or judging of him on this but as i said in the previous post it is quite funny in some ways just how seemingly peculiar it looks when compared to all his counterparts and their organizations way of doing things.
    has it struck you as somewhat odd at all michael?
    cause’ honestly i don’t know what to think of it exactly…
    but more importantly obviously…
    beautiful outing by young hutchison last night when they so needed the boost… sweet…
    i like this kid. alot.

    MW: I don’t think it’s so much being proactive as not being afraid to make a quick move when the need arises.

    - darrell bishop
  15. 15.

    Mike, I’m wondering if Drew Hutchison may have “issues” when pitching from the stretch? His history of giving up “big innings”, together with outings like the third inning last night, seem to suggest a pattern of reduced effectiveness as soon as a runner reaches base against him. If so, I’m hoping he can work it out, because he sure is effective pitching from the windup.

    - Norm
  16. 16.

    Hi Mike, do you have any idea what the lineup would have looked like if Johnson couldnt have played? Put Laurie at short, move Bautista to third and hope no infielders got hurt? Does a team ever bring a minor leaguer into town in case they need him and end up not makeing a move and sending him back down a couple days laterÉ

    MW: I don’t know if they actually go that far, but if Johnson couldn’t have answered the bell we probably would have seen Lawrie at short and Bautista at third, which is what prompted the move for McCoy.

    - douglas mccallum
  17. 17.

    Mike I read an article a year ago or so saying that most teams have stopped getting insurance (you had a caller asking if Bosox have insurance). What’s the point? For what you pay to insure evryone, you could simply sign an extra player in case of injury. Injuries are just too common for it to make sense insuring. The price you pay is too obvious compared to say insuring your house against a fire for a couple hundred a year.

    MW: Too obvious?

    - sons
  18. 18.

    So much for the “incumbent” bit as applied to Thames. Apparently this organization needs to learn the hard way.

    MW: You just don’t understand what “incumbent” means, do you? This has been a thing with you since the spring.

    - Will
  19. 19.

    Mike what’s going to happen next
    Year when d’arnaud is ready, will arenciba be moved to dh or first base? They can’t trade him?

    MW: I would need my trusty crystal ball to answer that one, and it’s in the shop.

    - Lacy
  20. 20.

    Mike when is snider going to be back up, clearly we need him and now because Thames isn’t long term insulation and was given his chance and failed

    MW: I love autocorrect! Snider is still dealing with a wrist injury, he’s on the minor-league disabled list.

    - Tristan
  21. 21.

    If the jays are still in contention by July will they make a trade for a younger player who can help produce

    MW: Younger than who?

    - David
  22. 22.

    michael,
    now here’s a completely fruitless bearing yet fun exercise to contemplate.
    and being the one with the finger on the pulse of the almost always restless blue jays followers thru this blog and your phone in show…
    what number is larger?
    the amount of blue jays fans that are happy to hear that eric thames finally got sent down or the number of fans that are deeply disapponted that mike mccoy got called up and not hechavarria?
    too close call i think michael….

    - darrell bishop
  23. 23.

    Hi Mike,

    Enjoy the show and blog everynight before bed. I am going up to see the Jays on Saturday and I’m just wondering if you had heard what the walk up ticket line waits are like?

    Thanks,
    Mike

    MW: No idea, but it’s the Red Sox, so I’d assume it’s going to be pretty packed.

    - Mike
  24. 24.

    Hey Mike,
    Caught a caller last week post game writing off Drew Hutchison as a failed prospect at the tender age of 21. I dare say the caller didn’t call in last night to say he was wrong!

    Players, like people in all walks of life, develop with age and experience. And in baseball especially you need to have at least a one season sample before you can really make a judgement. Check out players in any league putting up big numbers in their mid 30s. Don’t be so quick to judgement people!

    Jeff

    - Jeff
  25. 25.

    The Jays were due for a series like they had in Texas. It wasn’t normal for them to have 4 starters with ERA’s in the 2′s, or low 3′s. We’re not going to have 3 Cy young contenders on the Jays this year. I also disagree with all the people that say the Orioles are for real. Their starting pitching is completely unproven. They hit home runs, but their hitters are also hitting for average, which is not normal. Plus their infield defence is not that good. Relievers have performed very well, but this could correct itself as well. This is a great time for the Jays to face them. The Jays aren’t this bad, and the Orioles aren’t this good, so I look for the Jays to take them down this series and start balancing the division out.
    Mike – tell AA to ask Santa for Mike Stanton this year.

    On a serious note, I could see Pablo Sandoval at first base for the Jays. If AA can do something huge, and get Madison Bumgarner in a deal, that would be awesome.

    - SS
  26. 26.

    Tulane > Mcmaster
    Friedman > Anthopoulos
    Rays > Jays

    Look for the Jays young starting rotation to collapse soon and the Jays will win less than 70 games this year. Anthopoulos is a babe in the woods.

    MW: It’s so ridiculous I had to post it. But the truth is, if you weren’t just someone trying to stir stuff up and hiding behind a keyboard, you could make a crapload of money going to Vegas and betting the Blue Jays to win fewer than 70 games this season. Guarantee you won’t put your money where your mouth is, though.

    - dave@4LightSpeed.com
  27. 27.

    Hello Mike

    I see that Rasmus has really picked it up in the last 10-12 games. My question to you is – has he changed his approach of hitting or is he just getting comfortable with the league?

    It is great to see him get going, I love the way he runs, he just glides, he is Mario Lemeiux on grass

    - Francis
  28. 28.

    Mike,

    Last night on “JaysTalk” you were trumpeting the fact that Romero only walked one batter in six innings – acknowledged this was in relation to his recent walk happy performances, but the implication seemed to be that this made his outing a significant achievement… Looking at the RESULTS (which do tend to matter, at least from time to time) of his pitching: four earned runs in six innings – forgive me if I wasn’t quite so impressed.

    - Ken
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