Joe Biagini seems to be getting better with every start but unfortunately for the Blue Jays, he still doesn't have much to show for it.Biagini was denied another win on Friday night in Seattle after a two-run seventh spoiled what had been a strong outing. A third consecutive quality start,
Joe Biagini seems to be getting better with every start but unfortunately for the Blue Jays, he still doesn't have much to show for it.
Biagini was denied another win on Friday night in Seattle after a two-run seventh spoiled what had been a strong outing. A third consecutive quality start, a third consecutive loss. This time, 4-2, to the Mariners.
A lack of run support and defensive miscues have been a recurring theme in Biagini's 1-5 record. They were present again in the series opener vs. the Mariners and so too was breakdown in the seventh. Manager John Gibbons stuck with him in a tough spot and this time it didn't work out.
"I thought he was strong," Gibbons said of Biagini, who struck out five in his seventh career start. "I thought he was really, really good."
For six-plus innings Biagini was. He entered the seventh on a high having retired 10 consecutive batters with a pitch count of 71 but things started to change when Robinson Cano opened the inning with a double off the center-field wall. Two batters later, Biagini lost the strike zone with a four-pitch walk and Toronto's 2-1 lead was in jeopardy.
Danny Valencia tied the game with an RBI single to left and Ezequiel Carrera made things worse by missing the cutoff man and allowing Kyle Seager to move up to third. Two batters later, Jarrod Dyson stepped to the plate and Gibbons was faced with a decision: Stick with his starter or go to lefty Aaron Loup out of the bullpen.
Dyson entered the game with a .697 OPS vs. righties and a .440 OPS vs. lefties, but Gibbons decided to give Biagini a chance to work out of it. Dyson responded with an RBI single up the middle, which proved to be the game winner.
"If there was, I would have," Gibbons said when asked if there were any thoughts of taking Biagini out for Loup. "I thought the kid was pretty good. Bottom line, they scored two runs. If you want to look at it objectively. What did he give up? Three? That's pretty [darn] good. That's a quality start, seven innings. Regardless of how many times you go through the lineup."
Despite the loss, the Blue Jays and Biagini still have a lot to be positive about. After gradually increasing his pitch count over his first four outings, Biagini has pitched at least six innings in each of his last three starts. His ERA sits at 3.38 ERA and Toronto is getting all of this from someone who is essentially considered its sixth starter.
He's still learning but the results are there.
"I think it's easy to stay in a groove when you feel like you have your tempo and everything at a consistent pace," Biagini said. "I think there's opportunities where you face a situation that will throw off your tempo if you're not careful. And you have to manage that well, and I feel like I managed it pretty well in the third inning, limited the damage, and in the seventh inning not quite as good, but it could of been worse."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.