The Jays-Angels game on August 16 was decided in the top of the second inning. Gary Matthews Jr. hit a solo home run of Jays RHP Dustin McGowan making the score 1-0.
How so? After all, the final score of the game was 4-3 as a Jays’ rally in the ninth fell short. It wasn’t the one run differential that won the game but something happened as a result of that home run that might go unnoticed in the box score.
Matthews’ blast was titanic: It went off the top of Windows Restaurant. For the rest of the night McGowan wanted nothing to do with Matthews: He walked him on four pitches in the fourth with one out and was stranded on third base.
In the sixth, it cost him. With nobody out and Matthews leading off, McGowan again threw nothing in the strike zone and he was aboard. Timely hitting coupled by fielding gaffs cost McGowan two runs (one earned) and possibly the game. Matthews isn’t a disciplined hitter and McGowan had good command; of his three walks, two were to Matthews after the blast.
McGowan will have to learn selective memory and block out things like the Matthews’ home run to become an ace. His second inning shot was off a bad pitch but McGowan couldn’t let it go. Matthews isn’t Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriguez, he has only 15 HR and a .449 SLG.
I hope somebody in the Jays’ organization took note of this. McGowan has filthy stuff and capable of hitting three digits on the gun. His command is improving. He showed last night that he still has to work on the mental aspect of the game.