The Mets were particularly vulnerable this afternoon with David Wright out of the starting lineup and Blue Jays’ right-hander Brandon Morrow took advantage, tossing a complete game three-hit shutout as part of a 2-0 victory.
Morrow struck out eight and walked one while throwing 76 out of 107 pitches for strikes. The Mets nearly had a rally going after Scott Hairston led off the ninth inning with a walk and Mike Baxter ripped one down the first base line for a potential double, but Jose Bautista made a quick throw from right field and shortstop Yunel Escobar slapped down the tag at second base. While replays showed that Escobar missed the tag on Baxter, second base umpire Brian Knight called him out. Oh, human element. Daniel Murphy then lined out to Escobar for the final out of the ballgame.
It was the second shutout of the season for Morrow, which leads the majors, and the third of his career. The 27-year-old right-hander is now 5-1 on the year with an outstanding 2.63 ERA and 54/17 K/BB ratio in 61 2/3 innings over nine starts.
The Jays have now won four straight, including two wins against the Yankees and two against the Mets, and sit at 23-18 on the young season.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.