Five batters into Joe Biagini’s final start of the 2017 season, John Gibbons ambled his way to the mound and it wasn’t to make a pitching change. Rarely does the Toronto Blue Jays manager come out of the dugout just to talk, so when he does, it’s usually because he has a specific message to deliver. "I just thought he needed to pick up the pace a little bit, he was a little bit slow," said Gibbons, something Biagini attributed to trouble picking up signs from catcher Raffy Lopez. "As a starting pitcher, it’s tough to get any rhythm going when you’re slow and deliberate." Once the signs were straightened out, Biagini did pick up the pace, recovering from a bases-loaded, one-out, run-in jam by retiring the next two batters he faced, one of them on a sacrifice fly in what ended up as a 4-0 loss Friday to the post-season bound New York Yankees. Biagini retired nine batters in a row after the chat with Gibbons and grinded his way through five innings of three-run ball, allowing six hits and a walk with three strikeouts to close out his year. It was similar to many of his other starts this season with flashes of good, flashes of bad and not enough of either to sway the unconvinced about the role he fits best, either way. Despite the inconsistencies, he intends to benefit from the experience. "As frustrating at times as this process has been for me, I kind of located a couple of the keys that are going to help me stay in a good position down the ramp toward the plate in my direction toward the plate," said Biagini. "There have been stints this season, a stint in this game, stints in the previous games that I’ve locked onto it and it was right and knew this is what I needed to do. If I had a few more starts this year, I could have continued to work on trying to make that more consistent throughout a game, which I’ve done a couple of times. It’s nice to get the chance to learn that, to say OK, this is what works, clearly." Besides delivering a message on the mound, Gibbons also plans to send Biagini home with a message for the off-season, too.
Biagini shows familiar flashes of good and bad in final start of 2017
Sportsnet | Sep 29