The Toronto Blue Jays might need to send some gear to Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, N.Y. After all, their starter for Friday’s game against the Royals in Kansas City, Steven Matz, will be their second straight starting pitcher to graduate from that school.
Matz, who was traded to the Blue Jays in the offseason, will be facing a fellow lefty in Kansas City’s Mike Minor on Friday.
The Blue Jays spotted the Royals a 7-0 lead Thursday night before scoring five unanswered runs but seeing their rally fall just short.
Anthony Kay, who took the loss in Thursday’s game, was drafted out of Ward Melville High in the 29th round in 2013. Matz was taken in the second round in 2009. Both players were selected by the New York Mets.
Matz has a 2-0 record with a 1.46 ERA in his brief career with the Blue Jays after six seasons with the Mets. He’s struck out 13 in 12 1/3 innings, allowing only two runs on seven hits in defeating the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels. He’s never faced the Royals.
“Making important pitches in important times when maybe your stuff isn’t as sharp, that’s part of the process,” Matz said after tossing six innings of five-hit, one-run ball against the Angels.
Matz had to deal with a rain delay and then an offense that gave him a 10-run lead, but he didn’t alter his approach.
“I think that’s where you can get in trouble, when you steer away from your game plan,” Matz said. “My main focus was to just stick to the game plan, attack these hitters, [stick with] what me and [catcher Danny Jansen] had going into the game.”
The veteran Minor has a 4-0 record and 2.00 ERA in seven games (five starts) against Toronto.
Minor (1-0, 4.50) will be looking to extend the Royals’ three-game winning streak that has been keyed by strong starting pitching. The Royals had not been getting much from their starters before Danny Duffy allowed one run in six innings Tuesday against the Angels, followed by Brad Keller’s one run in 5 2/3 innings Wednesday. When Jakob Junis allowed two runs in five-plus innings Thursday, it gave the last three starters a combined 2.16 ERA in those starts.
It has Kansas City manager Mike Matheny looking at his rotation as a strength.
“I’m liking what our starting pitching is beginning to do,” he said. “Brad is one of those keys. We knew once he figured it out, he was going to get on a roll.”
It’s still April, but Matheny wants his players to celebrate being in first place in the American League Central.
“Somebody dropped the ball,” he said. “We came in and there was no music. I was a little disappointed. I was wondering if they didn’t think that was a good enough win to celebrate.
“I was getting ready to go in and raise some hairs with that one, but they picked it up as I was walking in. There was a lot of noise. I don’t know what they were playing; I don’t know any of those songs. They seem to be enjoying it. That’s how I like to watch them.”
–Field Level Media