Josh Donaldson destroyed this Aaron Nola pitch in the first inning Tuesday in Philadelphia …
That was the 32nd home run, 88th RBI, and 87th run scored of the 2015 season for Donaldson.
Toronto stopped counting on Michael Saunders a while ago, but now the Blue Jays have officially shut down the injured outfielder for the remainder of the season.
Saunders was acquired from the Mariners for left-hander J.A. Happ in December and the Blue Jays expected him to be a regular, but he ended up playing just nine games due to a knee injury suffered during spring training.
Toronto isn’t exactly hurting for offensive help, but Saunders’ left-handed bat (and .743 OPS from 2012-2014) would have complemented an otherwise right-handed-heavy lineup.
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.