Tyler Skaggs did it. He overcame the dreaded 6 IP cavern. Then he went and climbed the monumental 7 IP cliff face. Then he got one extra out just to cement his place in the rotation as maybe being worth watching at times. And that basically makes him the ace.
It wasn’t even an easy task, given who his opponent was. Marcus Stroman has been one of the better pitchers in the American League and came ready to shut some guys down this time. His performance in Toronto and the one back on May 1st in Anaheim were night and day as he allowed a mere four hits. Two of those four hits were mere BABIP luck, and even the other two weren’t exactly mistakes. The 3 earned runs really downplay his stuff today.
Of course, those two non-mistakes against Kole Calhoun and Brian Goodwin, both of whom are notable for not being Cesar Puello but also being outfielders, were still crushed in a big way and gave the Angels a run advantage that would never diminish. Both pitches were very up, on the topmost edge of the zone, and both pitches went very, very up not too long after.
Tyler Skaggs was also a victim of the obligatory long ball, as he also threw a substantially-less-than-terrible pitch on the outside part of the plate and Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. pulled it into the seats in left as if he were some kind of baseball player or something. But he ended up with 1 fewer hit and 1 fewer homer allowed, resulting in 2 fewer runs charged to his ERA.
For reasons unknown, Skaggs was pulled at 87 pitches instead of just giving Ty Buttrey the night off to do whatever it is kids do these days. Clearly, Buttrey wasn’t thrilled at the idea as he promptly outed the next two batters on 6 consecutive strikes. Hansel Robles followed suit and ended the night by getting Vlad Jr. to line out.
It was the kind of performance that has to give you positive thoughts about Skaggs going forward. Maybe it was just lolbluejays, but maybe he’s finally recovered from his back injuries. Nothing about the game suggested Skaggs was absolutely dominating and the Blue Jays didn’t help their cause by systematically making outs on the first or second pitch (Lourdes’ homer also came on a first pitch), but it is very encouraging to see this.
The one thing that could possibly make a win better would be scoring a bunch while also limiting them. We’re already here exploring new ground, might as well take the next step.