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Blue Jays hope to get rotation going vs. Mets

Sports Xchange
16 May 2018, 15:49 GMT+10

NEW YORK -- The Toronto Blue Jays would like nothing more than to cap off a quick visit to the Big Apple than for starting pitcher J.A. Happ to begin imitating the performance of the New York Mets' starting pitchers.

The Mets will look to complete a sweep of the brief two-game interleague series Wednesday afternoon when they host the Blue Jays at Citi Field.

The left-hander Happ (4-3, 4.80 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for Toronto against New York right-hander Zack Wheeler (2-2, 5.03 ERA).

The Mets came back from an early deficit Tuesday to cruise past the Blue Jays, 12-2 as Juan Lagares went 4-for-5 with three RBIs while Devin Mesoraco homered and scored four times.

The lopsided loss capped a rough trip through the rotation for Toronto starters, who have compiled a 9.13 ERA (23 earned runs in 22 2/3 innings) dating back to Happ's previous start last Thursday, when he took the loss after giving up seven runs over 3 1/3 innings in a 9-3 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.

Jaime Garcia took the loss Tuesday after allowing six runs in 3 2/3 innings. He gave up the final five runs in the fourth inning for the Blue Jays, who fell to .500 at 21-21 and are 9-16 in their last 25 games.

"It seems like we have trouble limiting the damage, and then especially if you're facing one of the better pitchers, you give too much breathing room, it's awful tough to come back," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Tuesday night. "We need to tighten up our rotation, there's no doubt about it. I'm still confident that'll change, because we're too good down there. But it's just not happening right now."

The rotation for the Mets (20-18) has yet to fully click, but New York starters have proven adept at wriggling out of trouble. Noah Syndergaard earned the win Tuesday, when he allowed two runs and threw 103 pitches over five innings but forced the Blue Jays to strand five runners, including three in scoring position.

On Sunday, Jacob deGrom was pulled after a scoreless first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in which he threw 45 pitches but left the bases loaded. Last Friday, Steven Matz allowed nine baserunners but just one run in five innings against the Phillies.

Wheeler didn't factor into the decision in his most recent start last Wednesday, when he allowed one run over six innings against the Cincinnati Reds. He allowed that run in the sixth inning but limited the damage by escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam.

"He went out there and attacked with his good stuff right from the get-go," Mets manager Mickey Callaway told reporters last Wednesday. "That's what you have to do. You have to make adjustments when things are going bad and he did a good job with that."

In his previous start May 4, Wheeler gave up six runs in the first two innings against the Colorado Rockies but managed to pitch into the seventh.

Wheeler has never faced the Blue Jays. Happ is 3-2 with a 4.41 ERA in 10 career games (eight starts) against the Mets.

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