Well that was a poor sequence of events. The Toronto Blue Jays entered this three game set with the Baltimore Orioles fresh off of a four game sweep against the Kansas City Royals and completely stunk up the place. Losing three straight games in general is one matter, but losing them to the Baltimore Orioles – their status as 'division leaders' notwithstanding – is a huge disappointment.
While Drew Hutchison can't really be blamed entirely for the latest loss against the O's, he wasn't particularly impressive in the second start of his major league career. The rookie pitched 5.0+ innings, failing to record an out against two batters in the sixth, and exited having thrown only 88 pitches. No doubt there are still some training wheels on Hutch as one would figure that few veteran major league pitchers would've left the game so early having yielded only two runs, and with the outcome very much up in the air. If you're looking for any positives in Hutchison's latest outing, he did only permit one free pass and was cruising through his first four innings before he hit trouble in the fifth. Not much to hang your hat on, but baby steps people.
What was really frustrating though was the ineptitude of the offense. Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz is coming off of a year where he posted a 10.69 (!) ERA in 49 and 2/3 innings. He had done little in his three 2012 starts prior to this one to suggest that he could do much better, bringing a 7.98 ERA into tonight's game with an equal number of walks and strikeouts. Despite the seeming ineptitude of the opponent's starter, the Jays only managed two runs – and were lucky to get them. Had Nick Johnson been a mediocre major league first baseman, the Jays would've been shut out.
If there are any positives to take out of tonight's game, it would be that the starting rotation does at least appear to be set now with Hutchison in the five spot, and Toronto now has five pitchers that could all potentially be part of a long-term effective starting staff. Throwing Brett Cecil, Dustin McGowan, and Joel Carreno out to the mound every fifth day offers little reason for optimism, but the Jays now have five starters with a nice balance of talent, youth, and upside. Sure, that may not be much of a positive spin, but being swept by the Baltimore Orioles is not an easy shortcoming to sugarcoat.
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