One of the things that good teams – playoff teams – do throughout the course of the season is take advantage of bad pitching. Whether it be a minor league call-up making a spot start, a journeyman that has always lived at the back of the rotation or an established name in the midst of a rough patch, good teams step up to the dish and make that struggling pitcher and their team pay.
Monday night, the San Francisco Giants sent Jake Peavy to the hill in the opener of their three-game set with Toronto. While he won a Cy Young Award way back when, Peavy started the game with an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP just a few ticks shy of 2.00, making him the type of pitcher good clubs get after.
Toronto had some success, touching up Peavy for a run in the first and two more in the third thanks to an Edwin Encarnacion home run, but they also left some runs on the table, getting one run from a pair of bases loaded situations over the first five innings. In both instances, catcher Russell Martin made the final out as the Canadian veteran continues to struggle.
The positive for the Blue Jays on this night though is that they once again got a strong outing from their starter, as Aaron Sanchez went seven innings, allowing just three hits while walking five and allowing a single run to exit the game with a 3-1 lead. It’s the fifth time in seven starts that the 23-year-old has gone seven, continuing to show that manager John Gibbons’ decision to move him into the rotation this season was the right one.
And unlike several other outings – both with and without Sanchez on the bump – the bullpen got the job done, as the tandem of Gavin Floyd and Roberto Osuna held the Giants in check over the final two innings to close out the game and hand the Blue Jays a 3-1 victory.
Toronto got five hits and five walks off Peavy in his five innings of work, but could only collect three more baserunners the rest of the way against the San Francisco bullpen. With the veteran righty struggling – both on Monday night and overall this season – cashing a couple more runs while he was on the hill would have been optimal and provided Sanchez and the relievers that followed a little more breathing room.
But right now, the hitters just haven’t been able to find that zone where they take advantage of early opportunities and make pitchers consistently pay for taking the mound with poor stuff. Hopefully they get there some time soon.
Player of the Game: Aaron Sanchez
Even though he didn’t have his best stuff all night, Sanchez battled and held the Giants at bay all night, spreading the baserunners he allowed around across his seven innings of work. This is the kind of performance that really excites you about a young starter because it just as easily could have been a night where Sanchez got rattled and gave up a bunch, but instead, Martin helped guide him through some rough patches and the former first-round pick picked up his third win of the season.
On Deck: The Jays look to make it two straight in the Bay on Tuesday, sending J.A. Happ (4-0, 2.50) to the hill against Matt Cain (0-4, 7.84) in a battle of players having very different starts to their seasons.