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.
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has been placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, the club revealed Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to August 14. In a corresponding roster move, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.
It’s an alarming development for the 30-year-old ace, who has been remarkably injury-free after dealing with a lingering case of shoulder inflammation last summer. While he hasn’t replicated the career-high results he delivered over the last two seasons, he still leads Red Sox pitchers with 3.6 fWAR and will head to the IL with a 6-11 record in 25 starts, a 4.40 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and league-best 13.3 SO/9 through 147 1/3 innings. A timetable has not been given for his return, nor has the severity of his injury been disclosed. Per Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, Sale has been experiencing pain in his elbow since Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in the days to come.
Brasier, 31, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July after pitching to mixed results in the majors. He currently holds a 4.46 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.0 SO/9 with the Red Sox, though his results in Triple-A — one run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings — suggest that he might be capable of even sharper results when he rejoins the big league club.