Walker cruises through six shutout innings for win in his Blue Jays debut — Toronto Sun

BUFFALO — Soon enough, Taijuan Walker likely will ditch the aqua blue glove he brought with him from the Seattle Mariners. Read More

Walker cruises through six shutout innings for win in his Blue Jays debut — Toronto Sun

BUFFALO — Soon enough, Taijuan Walker likely will ditch the aqua blue glove he brought with him from the Seattle Mariners.

He’s a Toronto Blue Jay now and after six innings of stellar work in his debut with his new team, the big starting pitcher already feels right at home.

Walker cruises through six shutout innings for win in his Blue Jays debut

The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder made a strong first impression with his young and improving teammates, shutting out the Orioles and allowing just four hits on the way o a 5-0 Toronto win.

And more than that, Walker was a formidable figure on the Sahlen Field mound that will be his home for the remainder of the 2020 season.

“He’s a big man and he throws all his pitches for strikes,” Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said in his thumbs-up review. “There’s a presence there.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/q4lJqB7Ogo8?embed_config={%27relatedChannels%27:%20[],%27autonav%27:true}&autoplay=0&playsinline=1

The 92-pitch effort earned Walker the ‘W’ to improve to 3-2 as the Jays extended their winning streak to three games and moved to three games above .500 for the first time since May of 2018.

Though he lamented that his curveball was off, Walker was better than efficient in allowing three walks while striking out four. It didn’t hurt that his new teammates extended the welcome mat in the form of a nice early lead with a pair of runs in the first and three more in the fourth.

While pleased with being able to contribute in his first outing, Walker didn’t overthink the significance of making a strong first impression. He felt welcome when he showed up at the park here on Friday and figured the best way to fit in would be to deal from the mound.

“That’s just unwanted pressure It’s still baseball, still the same game. I just wanted to keep my same game plan and go out there and attack,” Walker said in a Zoom call afterwards. “I just wanted to come in here and pitch and keep the momentum going.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/ge6maZxFE-g?embed_config={%27relatedChannels%27:%20[],%27autonav%27:true}&autoplay=0&playsinline=1

The hope when general manager Ross Atkins acquired Walker was to add stability to the rotation and that the righty would continue to round into the form that made him a steady starter before missing most of 2018 and 2019 due to injury.

Over the half-dozen starts he’s expected to get, the Jays would gladly take much more of what Walker flashed on Saturday.

While still young, the 28-year-old used his injury downtime to recalibrate, with the hope that he could once again become a valued piece to a big-league rotation.

“It gave me a chance to step back from baseball,” Walker said prior to what was his 100th career start and led to the Jays first shutout win of 2020. “I’ve got a young son and I got to spend time with him and really reflect on how I want my career to go moving forward, what kind of player I want to be and what kind of person I want to be in the game.”

Walker didn’t completely abstain from baseball, however. He used the time to focus on some of the best arms in the game.

“I got to watch some of the best pitchers in Gerrit Cole and (Max) Scherzer and all those guys, watch how they attacked and how they went about their business on the mound,” Walker said. “I was able to learn a lot from them.”

The Jays didn’t acquire Walker to be MVP-calibre, like the two pitchers he referenced. But they certainly hope he’ll provide lengthy, efficient starts similar to what he displayed on a cool Buffalo Saturday night.

With the game well in hand and the emotional, week Walker had endured, there was no need to send him out for the seventh. But by not doing so, Montoyo extended his team’s dubious MLB record of not having a starting pitcher make it to the seventh inning to 63 games.

Walker was on board with ending his night when it did. Not only was he traded two days earlier, on Wednesday, Walker was influential in the Mariners postponing of a game in protest of racial injustice and early Friday his father and other relatives get wiped out by Hurricane Laura in Louisiana.

“With nine days off and everything that has unfolded the last nine days, I think it was smart going out there and getting the six innings in and feeling good out there,” said Walker, who received a rousing welcome when he returned to the dugout after the sixth.

CLOSER LOOK

It remains to be seen how much damage will result from the uncomfortable image of red-hot reliever Jordan Romano leaving the mound in the eighth inning on Friday due to an injured middle finger in his throwing hand.

The Markham, Ont. native underwent an MRI on Saturday and though the full extent of his injury is not known, the club placed him on the 10-day disabled list.

“When I went to the mound, his finger was numb,” Montoyo said. “He had no feel to it. He couldn’t grip the ball so we had to take him out.”

The grim news on Romano, which MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported could be a two-four week absence, was countered by the fact that injured closer Ken Giles (forearm) continues to progress. Montoyo said that Giles will throw a live batting practice session on Tuesday.

SEEN AND HEARD

An interesting development on the infield here prior to Jays batting practice on Saturday. In a lengthy defensive drill session, the first-base reps were handled by Rowdy Tellez and recently acquired Daniel Vogelbach. Over at third, it was Guerrero and Travis Shaw splitting the workload … Montoyo has hinted that Guerrero would be ready for third-base action on a “just in case” basis, but this felt like more … Also in the pre-game activity, Bo Bichette was spotted in the outfield doing some light running. The injured shortstop (knee sprain) isn’t rushing back to the lineup, but certainly seems on target for a mid September return … The Jays got some early run support for Walker with a two-run single from Vlad Guerrero Jr., a line drive rocket off the wall in left. The blast extended Guerrero’s consecutive games hitting streak to a career best 11 games … With Romano on the injury list, reliever Sean-Reid Foley was added prior to Saturday’s contest.

Flame-throwing Pearson gets doused, but Jays hang on for win — Toronto Sun

For a pitcher known for his sizzle, the hype surrounding Nate Pearson is beginning to fizzle. Read More

Flame-throwing Pearson gets doused, but Jays hang on for win — Toronto Sun

For a pitcher known for his sizzle, the hype surrounding Nate Pearson is beginning to fizzle.

No one is about to throw in the towel on Pearson, but some disconcerting signs are emerging.

Flame-throwing Pearson gets doused, but Jays hang on for win

Mind you, he has only made four starts with plenty more to follow, but Pearson has yet to pitch with any semblance of consistency or command in any of his appearances.

He couldn’t get out of the fifth inning Tuesday night as Pearson left after surrendering three homers and five runs.

A five-run inning in Toronto’s top half allowed the Jays to fashion a 7-3 lead.

There was an opportunity presented to close the door.

Instead, Pearson allowed it to swing wide open as Baltimore kept fighting by exposing the kid.

Pearson was long gone as the O’s used an intentional walk followed by an infield single when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. couldn’t pick a short hop at first to even the score at 7-7.

The night required extra innings, which haven’t been friendly to the Jays.

It would end, though, with the Jays surviving the baseball marathon by eking out an 8-7 win aided by a Baltimore error and some dubious base running in 10 innings.

A leadoff walk followed by a two run blast and Pearson was suddenly looking like the MLB greenhorn that he is, unable to locate pitches, falling behind hitters and yielding a 2-0 lead to the Orioles in their first at-bat.

Pearson didn’t look comfortable on the mound, an issue that has plagued him the past the two starts following a decent debut.

Once again, Pearson’s much-vaunted fast ball was lit up as Anthony Santander went yard at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Pearson turns 24 Thursday.https://www.youtube.com/embed/q4lJqB7Ogo8?embed_config={%27relatedChannels%27:%20[],%27autonav%27:true}&autoplay=0&playsinline=1

He turned aside the home side in the second despite a single to right by Cedric Mullins, who was left stranded at second after he stole the base.

The Jays picked up their starter in the third when the red hot Randal Grichuk belted a two-run homer off Wade LeBlanc after the O’s starter walked Cavan Biggio with two out.

Pearson gave it back when Santander went back to back against Big Nate, this time connecting on a line drive to centre field for his team-leading ninth homer of the season.

Toronto’s bottom of the order was responsible for having runners at the corner with none out in the fifth.

A Biggio walk would load the bases as LeBlanc was given the hook.

Grichuk, who drove in four runs in the series opener, drove in his third and fourth on the night when his double to right scored Anthony Alford and Santiago Espinal as the Jays took a 4-3 lead.

It would increase when Travis Shaw hit a no doubter off Travis Lakins Sr. for a three-run blast.

In his first three starts, the Jays provided Pearson with one run.

When he took to the mound in Baltimore’s bottom half of the fifth inning, Pearson had a 7-3 advantage.

He promptly walked the No. 9 hitter.

On one swing of the bat, the Orioles cut the Jays’ lead in half when Chance Sisco unloaded on a Pearson slider for a two-run moon shot.

BIGGIO WADES INTO TATIS JR. TATOR

The son of former big leaguer Craig Biggio, Cavan Biggio grew up around baseball and was introduced to the game’s culture at a pretty young age.

Like any sport, baseball has its unwritten rules.

Some argue San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. broke the rule by swinging on a 3-0 pitch late in a one-sided game against the Texas Rangers Monday night.

The 21-year-old would club his second homer of the game, a grand slam no less.

Post game, Texas manager Chris Woodward brought up the unwritten rules in voicing his disapproval. “There’s a lot of unwritten rules that are constantly being challenged in today’s game,” said Woodward.

“I didn’t like it, personally. You’re up by seven in the eighth inning; it’s typically not a good time to swing 3-0. It’s kind of the way we were all raised in the game.

“But, like I said, the norms are being challenged on a daily basis. So just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not right. I don’t think we liked it as a group.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/bDLYH34sct4?embed_config={%27relatedChannels%27:%20[],%27autonav%27:true}&autoplay=0&playsinline=1

Biggio understands the game’s unwritten rules, but he also understands the aggressive approach shown by Tatis Jr.

“As a hitter you never want to give the pitcher anything,’’ said Biggio.

The rule of thumb for any athlete plying his trade in whatever sport is to never show up an opponent.

Biggio doesn’t feel Tatis Jr. was showing up the Rangers.

ROUNDING THE BASES

Manager Charlie Montoyo said the team’s original diagnosis of Bo Bichette (Grade 1 knee sprain) was confirmed by Dr. James Andrews. The skipper added how there’s no timeline for Bo’s return … Rowdy Tellez is feeling better, according to Montoyo, but the 1B/DH remains in concussion protocol after he took an elbow to the head late in Monday night’s win. Depending on how Tellez is feeling Wednesday, there’s the possibility he’ll enter MLB’s seven-day protocol … Injured closer Ken Giles (elbow) engaged in some light catch, while injured RHP Trent Thornton (elbow) has a chance to start Thursday when the Jays play host to a double dip in Buffalo against the Phillies…RHP Jacob Waguespack was added to the taxi squad, paving the way for the team to recall RHP Julian Merryweather.

Ryu’s pitching, Grichuk’s hitting spark Jays — Toronto Sun

The crafty, controlled arm of Hyun Jin Ryu and the big bat of Randal Grichuk, the one-two punch would propel the Blue Jays on this night in Baltimore. Read More

Ryu’s pitching, Grichuk’s hitting spark Jays — Toronto Sun

The crafty, controlled arm of Hyun Jin Ryu and the big bat of Randal Grichuk, the one-two punch would propel the Blue Jays on this night in Baltimore.

Toronto wasn’t exactly known for its efficiency of late, more blunder than thunder in how the Blue Jays went about their weekend business back in Buffalo. But it all changed, at least it did Monday, because Ryu came up big by going six strong innings, surrendering one run on four hits while walking zero Baltimore batters.

Ryu’s pitching, Grichuk’s hitting spark Jays

Grichuk’s three-run blast and single accounted for four runs as the Jays beat Baltimore, 7-2.

Cavan Biggio’s two-run blast in the ninth capped the night off in style.

Anthony Bass (back), who wasn’t available Sunday, was back on the mound in the eighth to retire the side in order, an encouraging sign as the Blue Jays move forward.https://www.youtube.com/embed/q4lJqB7Ogo8?embed_config={%27relatedChannels%27:%20[],%27autonav%27:true}&autoplay=0&playsinline=1

Hard to describe the evening as a must-win for the Jays, but the urgency was there following a disappointing and disjointed Sunday when the team lost twice to Tampa and the services of their best player.

Clean hasn’t been the operative word when assessing this team, but to its credit Toronto played good baseball against a pretty good Orioles side.

The Jays entered the night with a 7-11 record, the kind of numbers you want to roll when playing craps. But it’s baseball that is being played and unable to play cleanly has proven costly, especially in late innings. Mental errors have also conspired to deny the team wins.

Rowdy Telez, who was at first against the O’s, didn’t know how many outs there were in Baltimore’s first at-bats. It didn’t cost the Jays anything, but it highlighted the lack of focus and attention to details that has characterized this group.

The Orioles, in contrast, have been among baseball’s surprise stories.

Baltimore’s bats have been hot, but it was apparent early that Ryu would be a tough nut to crack, hitting his spots and showing a strong command of his pitches.

Following the win, the fourth for the Jays in Ryu’s fifth start, the lefty admitted how his velocity wasn’t quite there yet.

Against an aggressive lineup such as Baltimore’s, Ryu knew the goal was to coax as many weak contact as possible.

A total of 11 ground-ball outs would be recorded as Ryu kept Baltimore’s bats off balanced.

He wouldn’t take the bait as to whether Ryu should have stayed in the game following his 86-pitch outing.

The fact is the Jays produced an add-on run in the seventh, which meant Ryu had no business being back on the mound in the wake of the extended inning.

Moving forward, Ryu says he wants to get to 100 pitches.

Manager Charlie Montoyo loved his ace’s performance.

“That was vintage Ryu,’’ said Montoyo. “He’s pitching so well.”

Equally pleasing was how his team played, the approach they took and the execution they showed.

“The key is a good starter and it doesn’t matter what happened the night before,” added the skipper.

Montoyo said how Telez is in concussion protocol after he took a late-inning elbow to the head.

“That’s why we took him out (of the game),’’ said Montoyo. “He’s day to day.”

THE WORD ON BO

Sportsnet’s baseball insider Shi Davidi had the goods on Bo Bichette and his injured knee that placed the stud shortstop/hitter on the 10-game injured list.

According to Davidi, the second opinion on Bo’s knee was diagnosed as a Grade 1 strain of the lateral collateral ligament. It’s considered minor with no long-term impact.

The injury needs time to heal, but how long that involves remains to be seen.

SECOND AND LONG

Without Bichette, who was wielding a hot bat, in the lineup the Jays had to tweak their order.

Montoyo had Grichuk in the No. 2 spot.

His explanation was pretty straight forward and to the point.

“Other than Bo, he’s been my hottest hitter,’’ Montoyo said of Grichuk. “He’s been swinging the bat well.”

During the team’s five-game “home’’ stand in Buffalo, Grichuk went 8 for 19 at the plate.

He carried it over to Monday’s game.

SHORT STROKES

Not only will Bichette’s bat be missed, but also his glove at short.

 Monday’s series opener in Baltimore, the Jays went with Joe Panik at shortstop.

The way Montoyo discussed the team’s plans in the absence of Bichette, a shortstop by committee will be in effect with Panik, who played short in college, Brandon Drury and Santiago Espinal in the mix.

Matchups, obviously, will play a role when Montoyo fills out his lineup.

“He’s going to get more of a chance to get regular at-bats,’’ said Montoyo of Panik.

FOUR THE RECORD

Right-hander Nate Pearson makes his fourth start Tuesday.

In his most recent mound appearance, the kid struggled mightily.

To his credit, Pearson acknowledged how his past two starts were marred by poor command, an issue he tried to address with pitching coach Pete Walker during Pearson’s side sessions.

Video showed how Pearson’s front leg was an issue in his lack of command.

Pearson referred to the placement of his front leg as the source of his troubles.

“It was flying open a little bit,’’ said Pearson. “I’m learning to be more consistent in my delivery.”

Trey Mancini reveals that he has Stage III colon cancer — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

He will undergo chemotherapy for the next six months. He does not believe he’ll play in any version of a 2020 baseball season

Trey Mancini reveals that he has Stage III colon cancer — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

Trey Mancini out ‘months rather than weeks’ according to GM Mike Elias — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini’s recovery from surgery to remove a malignant tumor will take “months rather than weeks,” per GM Mike Elias.

Trey Mancini out ‘months rather than weeks’ according to GM Mike Elias — HardballTalk | NBC Sports