The view from Deep Left Field on Tuesday’s 4-1 Blue Jays loss in Oakland:

Cole Irvin had the game of his life Tuesday night, tying Blue Jays hitters in knots over eight dominant innings of three-hit ball in his ninth major-league start. Irvin set career highs in innings (eight), pitches (102) and strikeouts (nine). He rang up Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. twice each.

The left-hander wasn’t completely unknown to the Jays — they had faced him more than a handful of times in spring training during his five years in the Phillies organization — but this was Irvin’s first big-league outing against them and he was outstanding.

Irvin had his changeup working beautifully, getting five swings-and-misses out of the 29 deliveries that sat seven or eight miles per hour slower than his fastball, which averaged only 91, leading to a lot of head-shaking on the way back to the dugout by several Jays hitters.

The southpaw did a tremendous job of avoiding hard contact against a team that has been blistering the ball. Only twice did the Jays hit Irvin’s offerings harder than 100 miles per hour off the bat — a Teoscar Hernandez line-out to centre in the fifth inning and Marcus Semien’s RBI double in the sixth.

  • Jays killers: The Oakland lineup featured a couple of veterans who have spent a lot of time beating up on the Jays over the years.

Mitch Moreland, who did most of his damage with the Red Sox and Rangers, was up to his old tricks. He took Anthony Kay deep the other way to cap Oakland’s four-run second inning, his 17th career home run against the Jays. The left-handed slugger has hit more home runs against just one other team — Oakland, the team for which he’s currently suiting up.

Moreland defied a major trend with his homer off Kay. It was only his 24th career round-tripper against a lefty, as compared to 156 against right-handers. His career OPS was 120 points lower against left-handers coming into the game.

Jed Lowrie was standing on second when Moreland hit his long ball, having doubled in the game’s first two runs after notching three hits in Monday night’s series opener. It’s been impressive to see the 37-year-old swing the bat so well after knee injuries limited him to eight plate appearances the past two years. But the Jays are the cure for what ails Lowrie, who has driven in 34 runs in 59 career starts against them.

  • Four-batter blip: Kay made his first appearance in three weeks, hoping to provide the Jays a better option than guys like T.J. Zeuch, Tommy Milone and the since-departed Tanner Roark. He delivered on that promise, but for a run of four batters in the bottom of the second.

Problem is, that run of four batters gave the A’s more than they needed to get a win.

Sean Murphy started it by beating out a slow roller to the right side — Cavan Biggio was shifted to the middle of the diamond and didn’t have a chance at what would normally have been a routine grounder to second — and Matt Chapman followed with a hard line single up the middle.

Both runners scored on the Lowrie double, and Moreland followed with his two-run homer.



Outside of those four batters, Kay didn’t allow a hit over his four innings of work, walking two and hitting another, while striking out four.

Obviously, you can’t just throw out four hitters when looking at a pitcher’s outing, but it’s meaningful that Kay was so tough outside that little blip. If he learns to do a better job of reining things in when they start to go sideways — and he has fewer than 43 big-league innings under his belt — he could wind up being a viable option at the back end of the rotation.


Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. The Star does not endorse these opinions.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here