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Opinion | Blue Jays takeaways: It’s a cold night in New York for the Toronto offence

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The view from Deep Left Field on the Blue Jays’ 3-0 loss to the Mets in New York on Friday:

The vaunted Blue Jays’ offence didn’t do much vaunting as they opened up an interleague series in Flushing Meadows against the first-place Mets.

Tylor Megill, making his sixth career start, got his first major-league win by throwing six shutout innings, allowing just a pair of singles — one each to Cavan Biggio and Alejandro Kirk, just activated off the injured list for the game.

Since scoring 25 times in an easy sweep of the Texas Rangers coming out of the all-star break, the Jays have had a four-run inning (when they were down 12-0) and a three-run inning (on back-to-back homers by George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez) and have scored one other run over the course of this three-game losing streak.

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Quite obviously, there’s never a good time for the bats to go cold but, coming off that Texas toasting and heading into seven straight games against division leaders, the timing of this cold streak is pretty rough.

There’s no concern for this offence, it’s just part of the ebbs and flows of a 162-game season. If you could pick when you got hot and when you cooled off, then you’d never cool off, right? But the Jays have absolutely cooled off.

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You can’t be faulted for thinking Megill might have been another one of those mediocre pitchers who shut the Blue Jays down the first time they see him, since that does seem to happen quite a bit (the operative word being “seem”). But the righty’s 2.10 ERA is the sixth-best for a pitcher over his first six career starts in Metropolitans history.

  • Early oops: Steven Matz returned to his ancestral home of Long Island to face the team that drafted and developed him, and for which he pitched the first six seasons of his big-league career.

They say it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, but that’s not how Friday night went for the Blue Jays’ lefty. Matz opened his evening by walking Brandon Nimmo, then served up a huge two-run home run to Pete Alonso. It was all the lefty would give up, but it was more than his former team would need.

After the Alonso dinger, Matz was brilliant. He threw 5 2/3 innings of two-hit shutout ball following the homer, allowing a couple of soft singles and striking out five, but with the Jays offence being completely stymied it was already too late.

Playing in a National League park, Matz got to bat as well, and while he went 0-for-2 with a groundout and a strikeout, he looked awfully hitterish up at the plate, and showed some serious wheels running out the ground ball.

Only one of the ex-Jays, the eminently forgettable Jonathan Villar, was in the starting lineup — he has taken over for the injured Francisco Lindor at shortstop —but an old familiar face strode to the plate in the bottom of the seventh.

Kevin Pillar, who patrolled centre field with incredible range and reckless abandon during the Jays’ most recent glory years, came out to hit for reliever Seth Lugo. The roster has turned over since Pillar was traded to San Francisco the first week of the 2019 season, so the only people he played with in Toronto who were on the field when he came up were outfielders Randal Grichuk and Hernandez.

Pillar lined out to Bo Bichette to end the inning, the old number 11 hitting it to the new one.

Mike Wilner is a Toronto-based baseball columnist for the Star and host of the baseball podcast “Deep Left Field.” Follow him on Twitter: @wilnerness

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