Toronto Blue Jays: Nate Pearson gets first taste of adversity vs. Red Sox

Nate Pearson of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Nate Pearson of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

Getting the nod against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Nate Pearson gave the Toronto Blue Jays a taste of his ability to overcome a rough start.

For the past few weeks, we have been hearing about Nate Pearson‘s emergence as a legitimate option for the Toronto Blue Jays and against the Boston Red Sox, he was dealt his first lesson against an opposing MLB lineup.

Considering the spotlight on him right off the hop, it was understandable to see the 23-year-old give up four runs in the first inning. How he responded was crucial.

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An obvious issue with Pearson in the early going was hitting the strike zone finishing with 36 strikes on 63 pitches. He did settle down after the first inning as he used his changeup and breaking ball more as it was clear the Red Sox hitters were looking to capitalize on any missed fastballs high in the zone.

It is becoming more likely that Pearson will be held back from the opening day roster because of the opportunity the Blue Jays have to get another year of service time. Does it send the wrong message? That’s debatable depending on who you ask but one inning against Boston shouldn’t have changed the decision one way or another.

The message from the front office should be to let Pearson know that once he is in the majors it’s up to him whether he stays or not. He also made it known that he had to make adjustments against the Red Sox which is promising as well.

"“You problem solve, you look at where you’re missing,” Pearson told reporters after the game. “I was missing high and I was also missing down and away to righties, like really bad. I had to figure out what I was doing and I figured it out in the third and fourth inning that I was collapsing on my back leg and I wasn’t staying tall enough. As soon as I was able to figure that out, I told Pete (Walker, the pitching coach) ‘I figured it out. Let’s go.’ I told (Danny Jansen) to ‘keep calling the heater, I’m going to get it back.’ And eventually, I started getting it back there.”"

Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi makes a compelling case that Toronto would be better off having Pearson on the opening day roster to avoid any questions about service time manipulation since the priority should be to keep the top prospect over the long term if he becomes the team’s ace.

Regardless, there were flashes of promise from Pearson and on top of that, the Blue Jays had some other important developments against the Red Sox.

One of those was Derek Fisher’s big day at the plate where he helped spark the Blue Jays come from behind win. Considering how many question marks there are in the outfield, any positives Fisher can provide can go a long way to him earning more playing time.

Rowdy Tellez also continues to swing the hot bat which is something that will earn more praise from manager Charlie Montoyo who has shown a lot of admiration for what he has been able to do since the team returned.

Fighting for a spot on the opening day roster is Ryan Borucki who is trying to regain his form from the 2018 season where he had a 3.87 ERA in 97.2 innings. He gave up two runs in 2 2/3 innings of relief and he might have to get used to coming out of the bullpen in the meantime.

With only days before their season opener against the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto certainly has more to sort out and will likely use as much time available to them including their final exhibition game Wednesday night.

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What did you make of Pearson’s game against the Red Sox? Should he be on the opening day roster? Let us know in the comments below.