The west coast jet lag and not going to my hotel right away after the ball game nearly cost me missing the series finale against Seattle. It was a rare 4:07 pm weekday contest and I wound up sleeping in until 2:30 pm. After hurriedly getting cleaned up, I grabbed my camera gear and summoned a cab from the hotel. Fortunately, there were no major delays on the 401 and I grabbed the subway from Yorkdale Shopping Centre to barely get into my seat for the first pitch.
This was the game I was hoping to see Marcus Stroman pitch in a Jays uniform after only having seen him pitch in Vancouver back in 2012. However, he received a six-game suspension (later reduced to five) for nearly beaning Caleb Joseph in the head with a pitch in Baltimore. Instead, Daniel Norris made his major league start. Unfortunately, I missed out on seeing Norris in Vancouver during the late stages of the 2012 campaign so it was nice to get to see him throw in person.
I was encouraged by the way Norris gutted his way through 3-1/3 innings in which he was charged with two runs on a hit and two walks. His line looked worse after Todd Redmond coughed up the lead later that inning. Still, Norris struck out Robinson Cano swinging on an 82-MPH changeup for his lone whiff. He was clocked as high as 94 with his fastball, which settled in around 89-91. He also threw a 69-MPH curveball to retire Michael Saunders on a fly ball and threw sliders in the low-to-mid-80s. He retired nine of the first 10 hitters he faced before running out of gas. Though just 29 of his 59 pitches were thrown for strikes, Norris was able to gut it out as he underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow after the season.
The other encouraging part was seeing Dalton Pompey get on base three times with a single and two walks while getting his first stolen base. Kevin Pillar also threw out Kyle Seager at second base after Seager tried to stretch his RBI single into a double in the eighth to complete a decent game with the bat and glove.
The Jays were denied victory number 82 on this day with this 7-5 loss but they would get it the next night against the Baltimore Orioles. I’ll recap the final two games of those series in the next post.