The Bisons bounced back with a come from behind victory against Syracuse this afternoon. The herd took the game 5-2 behind a strong pitching performance from Deck McGuire in his Coca-Cola field debut. In just his second start for the team this year, the young righty threw seven strong innings allowing just three hits and two runs.
The starting pitching from both teams really was the story of the day as only three runs had come across going into the home eighth. Nationals prospect Taylor Jordan dominated after giving up a near homerun to Darin Mastroianni on the second pitch of the game. He threw into the eighth having given up only one run before things turned ugly. Andy LaRoche started the inning off with a single which was followed by a Munenori Kawasaki bunt to kick start the rally. Jordan seemingly got the inning back under control getting the next two batters out easily, but was then pulled from the game. Lefty Xavier Cedeno was called upon to get the final out, but he instead allowed critical two out hits to Jared Goedert and Dan Johnson. In total four runs scored, which was more than enough to secure the win for Buffalo.
The game finished remarkably fast at just over two hours because both pitchers pounded the zone. For the Bisons McGuire managed to throw 24 of his first 30 pitches for strikes through three perfect innings. He kept his high 80’s sinker down in the zone mixing in a solid breaking ball to keep the Chief’s hitters off balance. He pointed out after the game that the biggest difference for him now is his ability to locate his fastball.
"Even in fastball counts the ability to throw fastballs and keep the ball in the ballpark I think has been number one," he said. Over the past two seasons for New Hampshire and Dunedin McGuire had posted an ERA of 4.86 and 5.88 respectively. All of this coming after being the Jay’s top pick in the 2010 draft. Much like Liam Hendriks he does not have a dominant pitch to turn to, but with strong command he could be an effective pitcher. He is still young at just 24 and has made the early transition to AAA smoothly.
Now with strong starts from Hendriks and Marcus Stroman early on for Toronto, the Jays have three up and coming pitchers 25 or younger including McGuire. It would be out of line to say that any of them are locks to be solid major league starters, but things are certainly looking up. Tomorrow in the third game of the series a former stud pitcher in Ricky Romero will be taking the mound. After another start of seven walks in his last outing, he could be near the end of his leash.