There’s an old saying in baseball that great pitching beats great hitting, and while the legitimacy of that might be up for debate, elite hitting certainly has a way of exposing bad pitching.
On Monday night in Toronto, the biggest names in the Los Angeles Angels lineup made quick work of what has become to absolute bottom of the Blue Jays rotation barrel.
Edwin Jackson’s struggles starting games have been very pronounced in 2019, and he came into Monday’s game with a 10.22 ERA through ten games. Derek Law pitched the first inning as the “opener” for the Blue Jays, with Jackson scheduled to take over in the second inning and hopefully provide a handful of decent-to-good innings.
Instead, Jackson was greeted quite rudely by the top hitters in the Angels lineup, to the tune of a seven-run second inning where Jackson was only able to record two outs before hitting the showers. The Jays went on to lose the game 10-5.
Four-time All-Star Justin Upton made his season debut with a home run on the first pitch Jackson threw, setting the tone for a quick night. Kole Calhoun followed with a home run of his own, and before the inning ended reigning Rookie of the Year Shohei Ohtani capped things off with a three-run home run, putting the Angels far enough ahead to cruise through the rest of the night fairly easily.
Oh yeah, and there’s also Mike Trout, the best player in the game. Trout had a routine 4-for-5 night with three runs batted in and belted his 20th home run of the season off of newly acquired DFA acquisition Nick Kingham.
When the dust settled, the 2-through-5 hitters in the Angels lineup combined for ten hits and eight runs batted in, more than enough to beat a Blue Jays team that is going through it in a bad way near the midpoint of the season.
Cavan Biggio provided a glimpse of hope with a pair of home runs to his own name and three runs batted in, but the difference in quality between the middle of the respective lineups in Monday night’s game was very pronounced. Furthermore, even if Biggio sticks as a major league contributor and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. pans out to everyone’s wildest dreams, the team needs some answers to the very loud questions that are being asked by the performance of the pitching staff, starting with how much more rope to give Jackson.
To his credit, Jackson didn’t mince any words about his performances thus far in a Blue Jays uniform:
#BlueJays’ Edwin Jackson was a harsh self-critic post-game tonight: “My pitching's just been horseshit, to be honest, since I've been here. It's point blank. Execution's been terrible; I know I'm better than that, I know that's not who I am, but that's what I've shown."— Kaitlyn McGrath (@kaitlyncmcgrath) June 18, 2019
The Blue Jays have now been outscored 72-30 in games Jackson pitches. His ERA through seven appearances now stands at 12.43, and the team is now 26-46 on the season as a whole.
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