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The Toronto Blue Jays come into Tuesday night’s game in Houston on a two-game losing streak. After handing the Tampa Bay Rays their first two losses of the 2023 MLB season, Toronto lost the third game of that series to the Rays and followed it up with a loss to the Astros. During that two-game mini-slide, the Blue Jays have been outscored by a margin of 17-3, which they will look to turn around tonight.
If the Blue Jays are going to turn things around, they are going to need starting pitcher Chris Bassitt to turn things around as well. Bassitt has not had a good start to the 2023 season, going 1-2 with an inflated 7.63 ERA to kick off the year. He has allowed five home runs in just 15.1 innings of work, which is a troubling sign against an Astros team that is capable of hitting big flies from so many slots in their lineup.
For Bassitt, pitch location has simply eluded him at this point in the season, as his lack of control has resulted in both walks and home runs. In addition to his five home runs allowed, Bassitt has issued eight walks, an average of more than one every other inning. He simply cannot afford to be so erratic with his control if his team is to win this game with the Astros.
However, it is not entirely up to Bassitt to win this game for his team. The Blue Jays' offense also needs to step up after a rough last couple of days. Toronto ranks fifth as a team in batting average for the season, thanks in large part to the contributions of Matt Chapman, who is hitting .410 on the year thus far. But with their 11 hits resulting in just three runs in the last two games, the Jays need more productive hitting to get back into the win column here.
The Houston Astros got a significant win over the Blue Jays on Monday night, breaking out of their mini-slump after losing two of three to the Texas Rangers over the weekend. The Astros scored seven runs in the bottom of the first inning against Toronto on Monday and will look for a similar start on Tuesday night. However, they may not need to score that many runs to win with Jose Urquidy on the mound.
Urquidy is 1-0 on the season with a 2.35 ERA coming into Tuesday’s start against the Blue Jays. But he has shown significant improvement in each of his first three starts, making him worth keeping an eye on in this contest. After allowing three runs in his season debut against the Chicago White Sox, Urquidy has allowed just one run in his last 11.1 innings of work against the Twins and Pirates.
If there is a concern about Urquidy’s pitching style going into this game, it is his tendency to pitch to contact. He gave up seven hits in each of his first two starts of the season and has yet to strike out more than six batters in a game so far this year. Against a potent Blue Jays lineup, any contact could be hard contact, and Urquidy will need to be careful not to get dinged up too badly.
Fortunately for the Astros, their bats woke up on Monday night after being held to just one run the night before against the Rangers. They scored seven early runs against a pitcher in Kevin Gausman who had been climbing the list of AL Cy Young award favorites prior to that disastrous outing on Monday night. Now the question is whether or not the Astros can keep things rolling offensively against a struggling pitcher in Bassitt.
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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