Maybe because it was going to come against the Houston Astros — you know, the team with the worst record in the majors?
That might explain why the Toronto Blue Jays decided to bring up Chien-Ming Wang from the minors from a spot start, giving fans an unwanted encore to a short era of the team’s 2013 season that they should have been over by now. Was there a chance that he might have been able to surprise as he did in his first three starts back in June?
Perhaps. It was always a long-shot at best, however, and what the team ended up getting was a reminder of exactly why they couldn’t get rid of him even after DFA-ing the veteran righty.
Giving up five runs (four earned) through just three innings, Wang’s second life with the Blue Jays ended as quickly as it’d started, lasting just 49 pitches before giving way to Chad Jenkins, who didn’t do a whole lot better in his four inning of relief.
Then again, when you’ve got a two-error day from a player like Jose Reyes to exacerbate things, you know your day’s not really going too well.
The most frustrating thing about Wang’s start wasn’t so much that he got hammered in what ended up being an 8-5 loss, though — it’s that he really didn’t need to be given the start at all. Going into the weekend, the word was that the Blue Jays would be looking at either Sean Nolin (2.84/1.27 ERA/WHIP through 104.2 IP across two levels) or Marcus Stroman (3.22/1.13 ERA/WHIP though 100.2 IP in double-A, 10.46 K/9 to 2.15 BB/9) to make the spot start.
Even just the fact that both actually have a future with the team would have made them better options for Saturday’s outing. Could they have gotten hammered? Sure — just ask Nolin about his MLB debut earlier this season. But would the Blue Jays have at least gotten more out of giving either of them a look at the bigs before September rolls around? I’d like to think so.
Instead, the team just needlessly threw away another game in a lost season with no benefit to next season. There were some positives, yes: Kevin Pillar got his first big-league home run on a ball that had to be reviewed, and the team did make something of a comeback to at least get the game to a somewhat competitive state.
It is the Astros, however, and at least in 2013, to be merely competitive with them is not a good sign for the Blue Jays.
They might have decided that a road start against the worst team in the bigs would be the right situation for Wang, but in case the sweep that they’ll be looking at on Sunday doesn’t already say it, even that team is better than the Blue Jays these days.