With tired arms early in the season in the relieving pen considerably limiting his options, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo took a hit on a pitcher he had an affinity with the Jays for and trotted Gaviglio there to strong leverage under the St Pete, Florida, dome.
And in doing so, the manager and his hungry young team have paid the price.
A walk, setback and baseline treble allowed by Gaviglio in the eighth turned a 1-1 game into a 4-1 Rays win to tie the season opener of three games to one win apiece.
Gaviglio’s gasoline can move – a decision Montoyo believes he essentially had to make given the workload of his enclosure in Friday’s opener – wasted a strong starting effort from starter Matt Shoemaker , who took the mound in a regular season game for the first time. in more than 15 months.
It also denied the Jays a shot at back-to-back road wins against an upcoming Rays team that just made a playoff appearance in 2019 and that many predicted would return in the following season this year.
“I said it would be used in a high leverage situation and it was a high leverage situation,” Montoyo said of Gaviglio, who only succeeded in one pullout but has gave up two steps and two hits before being pulled out. “He didn’t have it. He couldn’t locate his things. He didn’t locate his locations and he paid the price.
Montoyo couldn’t explain Gaviglio’s exit, given his belief in the pitcher, and you can debate the right-hander’s manager’s assessment. But to be fair to Montoyo, his options beyond leaving AJ Cole – who had made it through an easy seventh inning – were limited.
In the 6-4 win at the Trop the night before, he had used some of that firepower set up with Jordan Romano, Anthony Bass and Rafael Dolis all hard at work and unavailable to throw on a short rest.
“That’s why Sammy was in this situation, of course,” Montoyo said.
The Jays clearly weren’t helping each other on offense as Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough threw them 5.1 shutout innings.
The price of such losses will be more expensive than in most years given the shortened season and the increased playoff implications attached to each game. But the Jays are not yet on the verge of fighting for a frustrating loss.
Still, one indicator of a developing team will be how they react late in close games. While this one could have gone either way, the Jays fell to 7-11 in tied games over seven innings until the start of the 2019 season.
REALLY GOOD SHOE
It was quite an afternoon for Shoemaker, who was making his first start in 15 months and had six solid innings allowing just three hits and a run.
The right-hander – who suffered a late-season knee injury in a recap against Oakland last April, allowed back-to-back singles in the first but not another stroke until Ji-Man Choi touched him for a double in sixth.
“It’s exciting to say the least,” Shoemaker said of his return to action. “We’re finally back to baseball. Rebuild and prepare and get back to where we all want to be. The adrenaline was flowing. ”
The last outing was the 10th straight effort in which Shoemaker has allowed five or fewer hits. Veteran clubhouse leader, the right-hander has certainly shown the potential to form a nice brace up front in the rotation with free agent signing Hyun-Jin Ryu.
“I’m really happy with his release,” Montoyo said. “He was exceptional. Having Ryu and Shoemaker… that’s good news.
The Rays’ winning stroke came from Brandon Lowe’s bat, who led in two with a treble in the eighth inning…
The Jays’ only run came from Reese McGuire, whose solo explosion in the seventh tied the game at 1-1. The eighth home run of the catcher’s career saved Shoemaker from losing… Shoemaker was replaced by AJ Cole who had a seventh at three and three on just 10 shots… When Cavan Biggio reached with a first single throwing in the second inning he extended his stretch based on a better 31 MBL game. It’s also Jay’s longest streak since Jose Bautista turned 33 in 2016… Right fielder Teoscar Hernandez went 0 for 4 at plate to break a streak of 10 consecutive games… Clutch for Yarbrough was coming out of a jam loaded with bases in a fourth round of 21 throws.
The hype that preceded the debut of Jays best prospect Nate Pearson will continue until the club are done with their handling of serve time, likely in the middle of next week. But with Pearson still on the cab squad, Montoyo has to get creative with his starter in Sunday’s rubber game by starting Thomas Hatch. The Rays will counter with left-handed ace, Blake Snell. Montoyo said Pearson and Ryan Borucki won’t be long in playing in the game. “They won’t be going there too long,” Montoyo said of the two pitchers who are on the taxi team but have joined the team during the season’s opening road trip. “We’re not going to do this to these guys. If we don’t think we’ll activate them soon, we’ll send them back.
AROUND THE BASES
Dante Bichette (Bo’s father) who has been such a hit with batting as a guest coach has been shortlisted for the season and will appear in the Jays dugout as what the team calls a major league coach… Lourdes Gurriel Jr. became the first player Jays to regularly wear a mask at home and on the base trails… Losing a tight at the Trop shouldn’t really surprise the Jays who are 3-9 in their last 12 at St. Pete Stadium. and having the worst winning percentage of .397 in the Under the Dome League… Shoemaker, making his 99th career start, playing in an empty stadium: “I have tunnel vision so I don’t mind that, but it is noticeable. It’s really strange. We want crowds and sold-out fans in the stands. We are building from this.