After taking the mound as one of the few remaining unbeaten starting pitchers in the Major Leagues, J.A. Happ walked off the bump at the Rogers Centre after two innings, trailing 6-0 and responsible for the two runners Dustin Antolin inherited in his major league debut.
When the inning was complete and Happ’s appearance closed, he had given up seven hits, two homers and eight runs, catching his first loss of the season in what ended as a 13-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. It was clear from the outset that Happ didn’t have his good stuff on Monday night, as he gave up a two-run home run to Steve Pearce in the first and couldn’t get his fastball down in the zone. A home run to Tim Beckham followed in the second and after giving up a single and a walk to start the third, manager John Gibbons had seen enough, taking the ball from his starter.
By that point, the game was already over.
Toronto had its chances to get back into the game early, as Tampa Bay starter Drew Smyly was struggling with his control and command as well. After collecting the first two outs of the first inning, the Rays lefty walked three straight, earning a visit from his pitching coach and prompting manager Kevin Cash to call down to the bullpen to get someone up, just in case.
But Smyly struck out Troy Tulowitzki to get out of the jam, following up his rough first with three solid innings before getting touched up a little in the fifth. But at that point, his boys had staked him to an 11-0 lead, so allowing a runner to plate wasn’t the end of the world, even if it was his final inning of work. All tolled, Tampa collected four home runs, going 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position, while getting four quality innings of relief from Steve Geltz, Ryan Webb, Dana Eveland and Enny Romero. Toronto, on the other hand, got mixed results from its relievers, as Antolin, Chad Girodo and Jesse Chavez all gave up runs, while Joe Biagini and Drew Storen combined to strike out four over three innings of work.
This was a lost cause of a game from Jump Street, but the great thing about baseball is that almost every day, there is another game tomorrow, providing a rapid opportunity to erase the misery of the day before.
Player of the Game: Joe Biagini
Two innings, no hits, no walks, no runs and one strikeout – that was Biagini’s line from Monday night, making him one of the lone bright spots to suit up for the Blue Jays. Biagini has actually been that for the whole of the season, as the Rule V draft pick has pitched 13.1 innings over 10 appearances, allowing 10 hits, six walks and just a single earned run. To this point, he’s 1-1 with a 0.68 ERA, pretty outstanding numbers for a pitcher that had never pitched above Double-A prior to this season.
On Deck: It’s an Opening Day rematch on the mound, as Chris Archer (2-4, 4.57) gets the ball for the Rays against Marcus Stroman (4-0, 3.54), who is already 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 16 innings against Tampa Bay this season.