Blue Jays demote Opening Day starter Drew Hutchison to Triple-A despite 12-2 record

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In one of the surest signs yet that MLB teams are (smartly) relying less on win-loss records to evaluate pitchers than ever before, the Blue Jays have demoted Opening Day starter Drew Hutchison to Triple-A despite a 12-2 record and league-best .857 winning percentage.

Hutchison has received incredible, MLB-best run support all season, with the Blue Jays scoring nearly seven runs per game in his starts, which is how he has the best winning percentage in the league with a 5.06 ERA and .287 opponents’ batting average. Two weeks ago against the Twins he got a “win” while allowing seven runs in five innings.

Hutchison has failed to complete six innings in 15 of his 24 starts and has allowed four or more runs in 12 of his 24 starts. He has no business being 12-2, except the Blue Jays score a ton of runs nearly every time he takes the mound.

Of course, while Toronto’s decision-makers are smart enough to realize the lineup’s great production has nothing to with Hutchison’s pitching ability and most major-league starters could go 12-2 if given the same run support, it sounds like he may be back in the rotation after one or two turns. In other words, the enlightenment–and the move to a four-man rotation–may be temporary.

Baseball to honor Stoneman Douglas High School as spring training games begin

New Era
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There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.

The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.

All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.

After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.

Here’s today’s schedule: