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Toronto Blue Jays

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Drabek prevails despite wild streak

The Sports Xchange
Drabek prevails despite wild streak · Notes, Quotes · Roster Report

When Blue Jays right-hander Kyle Drabek finally figures out how to avoid walking hitters, he should be something special on the mound. He's pretty good right now.

Drabek walked two Tigers in the first inning Monday to load the bases with no outs, but he wiggled out of the inning allowing just one run thanks to a double-play grounder by Victor Martinez. Detroit never scored again in Drabek's seven innings. Drabek gave up three hits and a career-high six walks while striking out two.

The Blue Jays scored three runs for him in the top of the eighth, and Frank Francisco got the save despite giving up a solo home run in the ninth. The Blue Jays got their sixth win in a row, beating the Tigers 4-2.

Drabek is 3-2 with a 4.32 ERA in nine starts but has walked 34 while striking out 35 in 50 innings.

It's all about the command of his fastball.

"We want to get him to find a comfort zone," pitching coach Bruce Walton said. "What degree of effort he needs to be to command his fastball, whether that be throwing it at 90 or 95 percent. We want him to be able to throw it to get ahead, and then he can throw the (94 and 96 mph fastballs). We want him to get at that comfort level and attack the zone."

Drabek's emotions during a game can hurt his performance.

"He's so easygoing four days a week, and then on game days, he's so wound up," Walton said. "He wants to be perfect and make perfect pitches. It's a learning curve, a work in progress."

Based on Monday's outing, Drabek seems to be learning.

"I think he's starting to realize that when he gets mad, he's not that good," catcher J.P. Arencibia said. "You've got to joke with him, loosen him up, because he's so intense, I loosened him up a little bit (after the first inning), and he went out there and did his job. ... When he's out there calm, and really being smooth, that's when his stuff is really good."

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2016 Team Leaders
AVGJosh Donaldson , 3B.284
HREdwin Encarnacion , DH42
RBIEdwin Encarnacion , DH127
OBPJosh Donaldson , 3B.404
SLGJosh Donaldson , 3B.549
RJosh Donaldson , 3B122
SBMelvin Upton , LF27
WJ.A. Happ , SP20
ERAAaron Sanchez , SP3.00
WHIPMarco Estrada , SP1.12
KFrancisco Liriano , SP168
SVRoberto Osuna , RP36

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