New Blue Jay Feldman Tagged for Loss Against Former Team
HOUSTON – It is the cruellest of games.
Early Monday afternoon, Scott Feldman arrived at Minute Maid Park to get ready for a ballgame as a member of the Houston Astros pitching staff.
Ten hours later, he found himself on the mound in the bottom of the 14th inning, facing his old team in a 1-1 deadlock against his new team, the Blue Jays.
When he arrived at the park he was informed he had been traded to Toronto. He packed up his bag and walked across the field to meet his new team, expecting and hoping his presence wouldn’t be needed.
But there he was, on the mound in the 14th and his old friends made short work of him. Leadoff man Jose Altuve singled. Then Carlos Correa doubled into the right field gap. Ballgame.
“I didn’t want to use him,” said manager John Gibbons. “He pitched a couple of innings the night before (he threw 38 pitches in an 11-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers). It wasn’t fair to him. But he came to me and said he wanted to pitch instead of having one of our starters have to pitch. He could see that we were getting thin as we went through extra innings and he wanted to help.”
Feldman threw a grand total of four pitches, then walked off the mound a loser in his first game with his new team, victimized by his old team.
“I felt fine when I went out there,” he said. “I just didn’t make good pitches.
“It’s a little different, a little weird, but you play long enough, you see some crazy stuff in baseball. I felt fine, but unfortunately, we lost that game.”
It was a strange end to a long day.
Marcus Stroman pitched perhaps his best game of the season but he had the great misfortune to do it on a night when the Blue Jays bats looked more like rolled-up newspapers.
“He had it all going,” said Gibbons. “He deserved a win because he pitched so damn good. A game like this can set you back because our pitching staff is basically gassed. We’re down to nothing down there with back-to-back extra-inning games.”
His one mistake, which Altuve launched into the left field seats in the bottom of the sixth inning, looked for the longest time as it was going to be the sole difference in the game.
Russell Martin’s ninth-inning homer gave the Jays hope but in the end, his game-tying, ninth-inning homer only prolonged the agony for his team and, especially for Feldman.
It’s hard to say that Houston’s Doug Fister was better than Stroman but even though the Jays were able to get to him for four hits and a walk, they could not got a runner past second base on his watch. He struck out eight over six innings.
Stroman gave up a leadoff single to George Springer in the top of the first inning, then retired 17 of the next 19 hitters he faced. Ten of those 17 outs were strikeouts.
“That’s the best I’ve ever seen him,” said Martin. “He had an electric fastball, cutter/slider was awesome. Curve was good and he mixed in some changeups, too. Overall he looked composed on he mound. I told him he was looking like Pedro Martinez. He was nasty out there.”
But with two out in the bottom of the sixth, Jose Altuve fell behind 1-2, then launched the next pitch, a curve that was down and out of the strike zone, on a high arc into the seats in left field for his 19th home run, the first batter on either team to advance past second base in the game.
Meanwhile, Fister was doing pretty much the same thing to the Blue Jay hitters. He scattered four hits – three singles and a Devon Travis double – and did not allow a runner to advance past second base over his six innings, striking out eight.
That’s when the Houston bullpen, second-best to only the Baltimore Orioles in the American League, took over. Tony Sipp and Pat Neshek worked a perfect seventh. Ken Giles got into trouble in the eighth but was able to leave runners at first and third by striking out Michael Saunders.
Stroman left after throwing 108 pitches over seven innings, having allowed just two singles along with the fateful home run to Altuve. The 13 strikeouts were four more than he’s ever managed in a major-league game. His previous high was nine, accomplished on May 1 against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was also the most by any Blue Jay pitcher this year.
After the Martin home run tied the game, the Houston bullpen locked things down. Chris Devenski got the last out of the ninth, then tossed four more perfect innings, retiring all 13 men he faced, including seven by strikeout in a row.
On the night, the two teams combined for 40 strikeouts. Blue Jay hitters fanned 22 times and the Astros had 18 hitters go down swinging.
In the bottom of the 13th, one-time Toronto minor-league prospect Jake Marisnick led off with a single against Osuna. Tyler White’s bouncer to Travis at second was hit slowly enough to allow Marisnick to get to second as the Jays took the out at first. After Osuna struck out Jason Castro, the Jays opted to walk Springer. Osuna wild-pitched both runners up a base but then fanned rookie Alex Bregman to end the inning.
The Blue Jays did not manage even one hit in extra innings