The Blue Jays went with an eight-man bullpen out of spring training in part so that they wouldn’t have to expose right-hander Jeremy Jeffress to waivers, but they are already changing course.
Jeffress was designated for assignment this morning after he allowed a solo homer and two walks in one inning of work in his season debut last night against the Red Sox. Veteran right-hander Dave Bush has been called up from Triple-A Syracuse and will replace him in the bullpen. The Jays are expected to move back to a more traditional seven-man bullpen once Brett Lawrie is ready to return from his rib cage injury.
Jeffress throws hard, but his control has kept him from establishing himself on the big league level. The 25-year-old averaged 5.4 BB/9 in the minors and has issued 32 walks in 39 2/3 innings in the majors. While the Blue Jays would be happy if he passed through waivers unclaimed, somebody will likely take him on as a project.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.