Toronto Blue Jays: Henderson Alvarez Continues Struggles Against Tampa Bay Rays

Bill FordCorrespondent IIIApril 20, 2012

TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 19: Henderson Alvarez #37 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch during MLB action against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Rogers Centre on April 19, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

Toronto Blue Jays right-handed pitcher Henderson Alvarez has proved to be a strong, solid and consistent pitcher. But he can't seem to handle the Tampa Bay Rays.

Alvarez has struggled against the Rays in two consecutive starts against the team. On Thursday, Tampa bats threw him a 9-4 beating, making him 0-2 with a 7.44 ERA against the Rays.

According to Gregor Chisholm of, the Rays have scored nearly as many runs against Alvarez as the entire American League East combined.

Thursday's game was a tough one for Alvarez, as he gave up a career-high six runs, with three of them in the third inning.

To be fair, it was not all his fault. Jose Bautista attempted to throw out Matt Joyce as he ran toward home plate, but J.P. Arencibia was unable to come up with the catch.

After a thorough review of the play, it was clear that the ball took a nasty bounce off the AstroTurf—further confirmation that it is finally time to replace the playing field with real grass.

Alvarez was taken out after 6.1 innings having given up six runs on six hits, walking two and striking out four.

The Blue Jays did have several opportunities to cause some damage to Tampa, but the Toronto bats failed to bring in the runs. While Alvarez did not pitch a strong game, he didn't have much offensive support.

Alvarez is young and doesn't have much experience pitching in the major leagues just yet. Other than a couple of games against Tampa, he is quite strong and consistent.

With a bit more experience and seasoning, he'll get the hang of the Rays.