If this doesn’t sum up the Toronto Blue Jays’ season, we’re not sure what does.
After trading away their one All-Star pitcher (J.A. Happ) and their suspended closer (Roberto Osuna), the Jays were desperate for pitchers.
So desperate that they basically pulled one out of the stands.
And in a year where everything has gone wrong for Toronto, this time it actually worked.
The Jays were in Seattle on Thursday night to take on a Mariners team scrambling to try and make the playoffs.
Due to trades and injuries, manager John Gibbons didn’t seem to have a starting pitcher.
The organization came up with a plan: It would have reliever Tyler Clippard toe the mound.
It’s not like he’d never started before — it’s just been 11 years since his two starts in 2008.
And for depth, the team signed Mike Hauschild, a 28-year-old lifetime minor leaguer who had pitched in two major league games in his entire career.
Oh, and they signed him 30 minutes before Friday night’s game.
Still, Hauschild thought he was being assigned to the minors.
After all, this was a guy who was released by Houston’s Triple-A affiliate earlier this season.
“I was supposed to fly to Buffalo,” Hauschild explained. “Then they flew me here.”
That’s when things got crazy.
Clippard went out and gave up two runs in the first inning.
After 28 pitches, he was done for the night.
On came Hauschild, pitching for a new team, with no expectations from his new manager.
“I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest with you,” said Gibbons. “The thinking was if he went out there and got roughed up, he’d have to wear it a little bit because we wanted to rest some guys.”
They got some rest … and a whole lot more.
Hauschild got going and didn’t stop. He threw 89 pitches over six innings, saving the rest of the bullpen.
The Dayton, Ohio, native gave up just four hits and no runs, striking out five batters and walking just one.
His attitude was simple. “(The slider) had a little bit better action than I’m used to,” Hauschild said. “After the first inning, that was the kind of, ‘Whew, OK,’ moment. From then on I was just trying to make sure I had relatively low pitch counts for the innings, just try to eat up as many innings as I could.”
As a result, the last-minute signee earned some job security.
“It wasn’t an easy one to pitch in, either. I tip my hat to the guy,” Gibbons said in admiration. “We’re looking for an extra starter, and he sure earned another start, I would say.”
Hauschild had better relish the moment: That next start will be Wednesday against the best team in baseball, the Boston Red Sox.
Welcome to the bigs.
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