The Blue Jays start the season 2-2 after 4 games against the Rays and it is hard not to consider it a disappointment. It should have been better. We were leading in all four games at the end of the 7th inning. Generally, if you are leading after 7, you really ought to win.
Let's take a look at the starting pitching
The starting pitching was great. The starters pitched 26 of the 34 innings, averaging 6.5 innings. They gave up just 4 walks and had 20 strikeouts. Batters hit just .238/.274/.396 against them. Each left his start with the team winning.
- By GameScore, 71, Aaron Sanchez had the best start of the four. 7 innings, just 5 hits, no walks with 8 strikeouts. The black mark was the home run, but he had a number of swings and misses, he kept the ball in the strike zone (with just enough wildness to keep the batters uncomfortable).Fangraphs has his average fastball at 95.5, likely pumped up being his first start of the season, but he kept up the velocity all game long. He threw some very nice curves and mixed in enough changeups (though calling a 90 mph pitch a changeup stretches the definition almost to breaking) to keep batters guessing a bit. It was just one start, but there were a lot of nice signs for the future.
- Marcus Stroman had a 62 GameScore. He looked dominate.The Rays managed 6 hits, 1 home run, 1 walks off him but he seemed in control all game long. He had enough quick innings to get through 8 innings (plus 2 batters, maybe sending him out for the 9th was a mistake) on 98 pitches. It was a nice way for our Ace to start the season. Pedro Martinez had very nice things to say about him.
- J.A. Happ had a 53 GameScore. 6 inning, 7 hits, 1 walk, 1 home run, 2 earned, 4 strikeouts. He kept the outfielders working. It seemed like your typical Happ start (or good Happ start). He pitched to a number of full counts, but he seemed to be pitching a little quicker than he had in his first run with the Jays. If he pitches like that all season, we should be happy with him (at least if Gibby can figure out his bullpen).
- R.A. Dickey had a 44 GameScore. He's the one, of the first four, who didn't get a Quality Start. 5 innings, 6 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts,1 home run. He did seem to be throwing the harder knuckleball, the one that took him half a season to find last year. Gibby seemed to have a quick hook, but I think that's a good idea, especially early in the season.
Maybe it was because we were playing the Rays (not the most gifted offensive team in the AL East) but the 4 games went a long way to reassuring me about the starting pitching.
Tell us what you thought of the Jays starting pitching for the first series.