Toronto Blue Jays' Esmil Rogers Survives Trial By Fire

By Thom Tsang
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

In yet another case of an unexpected starter being thrown into the cauldron, Esmil Rogers exceeded all reasonable expectations, leading the way for the Toronto Blue Jays in a shutout victory over the Atlanta Braves.

And for his effort, he didn’t even get the win.

Okay, so I suppose Rogers was never really going to get the chance to be officially recognized for the team’s achievement on this night, not when the ‘starting pitcher’ for the day was actually just a committee of relievers — so much for me thinking that the team couldn’t just combine several solid long relief outings to get the job done …

In any case, get the job done is exactly what Rogers wound up doing on Wednesday, though it wasn’t always easy.

Allowing three hits and two walks and a hit batsman in his stint, the righthander was probably a little lucky to have escaped without taking any damage on his line, even if the 3.1 innings was above and beyond what the Blue Jays expected.

Rogers had trouble with his control all night, falling behind with ball one against 10 of the 15 batters he faced. Yes, he laboured through 62 pitches, with only 39 of them throw for strikes, but more importantly, he survived the storm — specifically in the form of a leadoff triple in the second inning off the bat of Freddie Freeman —  to pass the baton.

At the very least, you’d have to think that the performance earned the 27-year-old at least another shot at it.

He might just get it too, even after Josh Johnson returns (he’s due for what should be his final tuneup), if Brandon Morrow‘s precautionary removal from his last start turns out to be anything more.

But if this was the only start that Rogers makes for the Blue Jays in 2013, the team probably couldn’t be anything less than pleased: four times they’ve had to thrown starters to the wolves between Rogers, Chad Jenkins, Sean Nolin, and Ramon Ortiz, and three times they’ve yielded better-than-expected results.

Whether that says something more about the quality of the emergency replacements or the guys on the Blue Jays staff that they’re replacing, though …

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