Hutchison still searching for consistency

Hutchison still searching for consistency

BOSTON -- Drew Hutchison's season hasn't exactly started off on the most positive of notes, and the 24-year-old is still searching for a level of consistency three weeks into the year.

The right-hander had some issues with his arm slot during the Blue Jays' 11-8 victory over the Red Sox on Tuesday night, and it led to another short outing. Hutchison allowed six runs on nine hits with an alarming five walks and no strikeouts over four-plus innings of work.

Perhaps even more troubling is that it marked the second time this year that Hutchison was staked to a large lead early in the game but was unable to complete five innings. In five starts this year, he has gone six or more innings just twice.

"It wasn't good," Hutchison said Wednesday. "I struggled to find my arm slot consistently, which is why I had the number of walks I did. The second inning was a tough inning. I made some good pitches in there, some tough hits, but I walked the No. 9 hitter with two outs, so you can expect bad things to happen after that."

Tuesday's outing was the second time in Hutchison's career that he didn't strike anybody out. It's unusual for a pitcher who relies on putting hitters away, and while there were plenty of opportunities against the Red Sox, the lack of consistent command is something that stopped him from getting the job done.

Hutchison has plenty of company on the Blue Jays' staff when it comes to these kind of issues. Toronto's starting rotation entered play on Wednesday with 53 walks on the season, which is the most in the Major Leagues. The Blue Jays' starters also rank just ninth in the American League with 114 2/3 innings pitched, and their 5.34 ERA is 14th.

When things aren't going well, that has the potential to add pressure on everybody in the rotation, but Hutchison doesn't think that's played a factor in his up-and-down April.

"You expect to go seven, eight, nine [innings] every time you take the ball," said Hutchison, who has a 6.67 ERA. "So what's gone on the other four turns through before I get the ball doesn't really have an effect. You're trying to go deep every single night. That's your goal and your job as a starting pitcher. I don't think that really weighs into it, we just need to be better."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.