The parent club may have been having their struggles getting anything going offensively last night, but a pair of scintillating debuts highlighted the Blue Jays farm system.
Rain delayed Nate Pearson’s AA debut for seventy five minutes as New Hampshire travelled to Portland to take on the Red Sox’ Eastern League affiliate, but he was well worth the wait. Pearson retired the side in order for the first three innings, striking out six. Pearson gave up a one out single in the 4th, and another in the 5th before reaching his limit for the night. His fastball touched 97, but was most effective when he sat 96-97. He ran his fastball in on left-handed hitters, taking advantage of some movement to cut back in over the inside corner, and right-handed hitters just could not get around on pitches on the inner half. Pearson flashed a plus change and slider, but didn’t get a lot of bite on the latter when he spun it in the dirt.
For his night, Pearson gave up just that pair of hits and no walks, striking out 8 over 5 innings. 4 of his 5 remaining outs were of the groundball variety. Interestingly, Yennsy Diaz took over in relief of Pearson, and finished the game. With Shi Davidi of Sportsnet having revealed the mystery of Pearson’s two-inning outings last month as being part of a program of alternating 5 and 2 inning stints to build him up (Pearson had all of 22 innings of experience over his first two pro seasons), you have to wonder if this will continue, and if perhaps he and Diaz will piggyback for the next several starts.
Diaz was handed a two-run lead when he came into the game in the 6th, but was unable to hold that margin, as New Hampshire fell 4-2.
In Florida, Joey Murray made his Florida State League debut as the D-Jays journeyed to Tampa to take on the Yankees’ affiliate, and almost matched Pearson’s performance, giving up only a walk and a pair of hits over 5 shutout innings, fanning 6. Dunedin was unable to generate any offence, and Tampa tallied twice in the 7th and 8th to seal a 4-1 win.
Buffalo scored three in the top of the 10th to take a 9–6 slugfest from Gwinnett. Former Blue Jay Ben Revere had a pair of hits for the Bisons, as did Anthony Alford, Andy Burns, and Jordan Patterson. Ryan Feierabend started for Buffalo, but it was lockdown work by relievers Javy Guerra, Conor Fisk, and Jordan Shafer that shut the door for the W. With the news yesterday that Alen Hanson has cleared waivers and has accepted an assignment to Buffalo, a roster move will have to be made to create space for him.
Nick Podkul, the hottest bat in the system, extended his on-base streak to 17 games, but it wasn’t enough to spark the Lansing offence, as the Lugnuts fell 6-0 to Quad Cities. Lansing starter Josh Winckowski made his return from the IL, but gave up a pair of runs in the first two innings, then threw two scoreless frames before reaching his pitch count.