Eighth-straight failed start for Joe Biagini as Jays fall to Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Joe Biagini throws against the New York Yankees during the first inning of their American League MLB baseball game in Toronto on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Thornhill
If Joe Biagini is auditioning for a starter’s job next season, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is sitting in a director’s chair yelling “Next!”
Biagini’s outing on Saturday against the New York Yankees wasn’t horrible. The big right-hander went five innings and gave up three runs on three hits while walking four. He cruised through the first four innings before hitting the wall in the fifth, as the Yanks came back from a 1-0 deficit to put three on the board in the fifth en route to a 5-1 victory over the Jays, clinching a playoff spot. But the outing did mark the eighth straight start in which Biagini has failed to get a win.
Last year, his first as a Jay, the Redwood City, Calif., native was lights out as a reliever. This year, with a number of starters going down with injuries, Biagini has been recruited to start — something he wishes to do anyway — and the results have been mixed, to say the least. As a starter/reliever in 2017, he is 3-12 with a 5.34 ERA.
Whether Biagini remains a starter next season won’t depend totally on his performance in 2017, but as Gibbons said prior to the game Saturday, it will came into play. And so far, Biagini isn’t passing the audition.
“We love you,” said the off-the-wall Biagini, when asked what he needs to work on to establish himself as a bonafide starter next year. “I think I’ve established some consistent inconsistency. I think the maddening thing for me is I see small little parts of my game that come out on occasion that I feel are good.
“As the innings went on, I had to fight to keep the ball down better and in previous games recently I’ve felt like I showed the ability to do that later in the games, so it was really frustrating because for one reason or another I didn’t do a good job of making that adjustment (Saturday),” he added.
The bright side of Toronto’s day was the continued power displayed by rookie outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, who smashed a Sonny Gray offering into the second deck in centre in the third, a day after smashing a third-deck job to right. Earlier this month, Hernandez smacked two homers against the Detroit Tigers at the Rogers Centre, including one to the opposite field.
Gibbons talked before the game about how Hernandez’s power is, at the very least, intriguing.
“Most guys have some kind of pull power, but it’s the guys you see drive that ball the other way. That kind of gives you an idea of true power,” said Gibbons.
Jose Bautista, likely playing his last home series as a Jay, went 0-for-4 and is now 3-for-39 in his past 11 games.
The Yanks took a 3-1 lead in the fifth when Greg Bird smashed a three-run shot to right off Biagini. New York’s Todd Frazier went deep off left-handed reliever Tim Mayza in the eighth.
The Jays went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and are hitting .226 with RISP this season, the lowest in team history.