The Blue Jays got exactly what they didn’t need from Jesse Chavez, but the big bats boomed enough to overcome a terrible start and snap an 11-game Wisconsin losing streak.
With the starting rotation in shambles, the call went to Chavez who was having an outstanding year in a very tough pitching environment in Las Vegas, the Jays hoping he could step in and provide some relief to a worn-out bullpen. They were hopeful Chavez could give them at least six passable innings, and were willing to take five. They got two.
Chavez was much more than passable over those first two innings, terrific even, striking out four and giving up just one hit while making the Brewers look pretty terrible, but he melted down in the 3rd. With two out, a runner on second and a run already in, Chavez completely lost the plate. Five Brewers in a row reached, and none of them put the bat on the ball. There were four walks — two with the bases loaded — and a hit batsman, also with the sacks juiced. After that fourth walk, on Chavez’ 48th pitch of the inning, John Farrell had no choice but to bring in Carlos Villanueva, whom he’d hoped would be able to start Wednesday afternoon’s game.
Villanueva restored order, and the Blue Jays came back to take the lead on back-to-back-to-back homers by Colby Rasmus, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, but he was pinch-hit for as that inning continued and with Villanueva gone, craziness ensued.
There was another bases-loaded walk, this by Jason Frasor, that preceded a Grand Slam by Aramis Ramirez, and then the Blue Jays chipped back with a couple off a wild Manny Parra before Rasmus and Bautista went back-to-back again – off John Axford in the 9th – to win it for the visitors.
The real story, though, was the utter failure of Chavez. The hope had been that he could step into one of the three vacant spots and stabilize at least that one-fifth of the rotation for a few weeks until Brandon Morrow comes back. With the current state of the Blue Jays’ rotation, it’s difficult to imagine Chavez not getting another chance the next time his turn comes around, but he certainly didn’t earn another look with the way he pitched tonight.