After a slow start to the weekend in terms of significant pitching prospects on the mound, Sunday was a different story entirely with Sean Reid-Foley, Jordan Romano and Justin Maese taking the mound. Supported by strong offensive outbursts, it was a perfect 4-0 day for the affiliates and with the Blue Jays comeback to end the day, the first clean clean organizational sweep of 2017.
Reid-Foley earned his first AA victory, going 5 innings and allowing a single run on 5 hits, with 3 strikeouts and 5 walks. It was somewhat of an effectively wild outing, as he frequently struggled to find the zone and strung together balls (77 pitches, 46 strikes in total). But he was missing bats with both his fastball and curveball, inducing 12 whiffs on 35 swings (66% contract rate).
After a hard double to lead off the game, he didn't allow much in the way of hard contact until his final batter who lined out to first. The other hits were a ground ball through and a Texas Leaguer that fell in among four defenders. The contact was air oriented, with just 4 of 12 balls in play (33%) on the ground.
On Saturday, Jon Harris turned in his first quality start of the year, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits in 6 innings, with 6 strikeouts against 2 walks. It wasn't the cleanest outing in the world, but on the positive side he did miss bats (which he did not do much in 2016) as he accumulated 14 whiffs on 49 swings for a 71% swing rate. Contact wise, it was a pretty even split of balls on the ground and in the air, with overall a few too many hard hit line drives (three or four of 16 total).
Before Romano pitched, J.P. Howell made another good rehab outing, which probably means he should be headed back to the Blue Jays very soon. After a leadoff grounder was booted, he struck out the side on 20 pitches (14 strikes). He was only registering 85-86 with his fastball compared to 87-88 in his first rehab outing.
Romano too could be characterized as effectively wild, as he needed 91 pitches to throw 4.1 scoreless innings, striking out 6 but giving up 3 hits, 2 walks, and a HBP. All 18 batters he faced saw at least three pitches, with 11 seeing five or more. Romano worked 90-93 with his fastball, touching 95 a couple times. He struggled to find the zone, getting ahead of only 7 batters and starting five batters off 2-0.
Considering that, his overall success was quite remarkable. Part of that was being able to miss bats, mostly with his fastball, 11 swinging strikes on 36 swings (70% contact rate). Most of his contact was in the air, with just 2 of 9 balls in play on the ground (22%), but just one was really well hit.
Finally, Justin Maese turned in a solid effort working into the 6th inning after being staked to a large lead, working his fastball in the low-90s. His final line was 5.1 innings, one unearned run (which scored after he left) as he scattered 5 hits and a walk against 3 strikeouts. Uncharacteristically, Maese didn't induce a lot of ground ball contact with just 6 of 18 balls in play on the ground (33%). But overall, he managed contact pretty well. There were three hard line drive singles, but the lone extra base "hit" was a ball lost in the sun that almost went for an inside the parker, but the runner was thrown out at the plate.
Zach Jackson pitched a messy 9th, needing 28 pitches to retire the side, piling up a walk, HBP and strikeout.
Some quick notes on hitters:
- It was a good day for Dunedin, as each of Max Pentecost, Danny Jansen and Juan Kelly went yard, taking advantage of the ball carrying well
- Anthony Alford went 2/4, including his second home run just over the wall to right-centre.
- It was a very good weekend for Lansing hitters, who put up 12 and 11 runs over the last two game against Bowling Green. Vladdy Jr. was the star Sunday, with a trio of hard hit line drives that yielded a double and single as well as two walks. Brad Jones added his sixth home run, and Bo Bichette had a hard double.