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Connor Seabold hit hard by Blue Jays, but there were some positives from his second Major League start

BOSTON -- In need of a starter to begin their three-game series with the Blue Jays in Toronto, the Red Sox turned to prospect Connor Seabold on Monday night. It made perfect sense, since the 26-year-old has been cutting down batters in the minors with relative ease over the last two seasons.

Monday night was Seabold's second career Major League start, after he made his debut for Boston last September. He lasted only three innings his first time out, and was hoping for a much better turn on the mound Monday evening.

Unfortunately for him, he had to face one of the best lineups in the bigs. He quickly learned that the Toronto Blue Jays are no minor league lineup, as Seabold was hit hard for seven runs over his 4.2 innings in Boston's 7-2 loss Monday night.

Three of those hits left the yard, with George Springer, Vlad Guerrero Jr., and Matt Chapman all taking the righty deep.

"Kind of ran into a buzz saw," Seabold said after his outing.

Seabold felt the full force of the powerful Blue Jays lineup Monday night. Homers accounted for five of Toronto's seven runs, as the Jays took full advantage of any mistake that Seabold made.

Springer's solo shot with one out in the bottom of the third inning extended Toronto's lead to 2-0. After a Bo Bichette single, Guerrero Jr. sent a Seabold over the centerfield fence to make it a 4-0 game.

Seabold worked around a one-out double in the bottom of the fourth, striking out a pair to bring his K total to seven for the night. Each of his final three strikeouts came on his nasty changeup, which was Seabold's best pitch of the night. It made some of the best hitters in the game look silly at times.

Unfortunately, those same hitters were able to crush his other offerings. His fastball was just OK, hovering in the low 90s, and as Seabold described after the game, his slider was "MIA."

Given Boston's pitching situation -- with the team down starters Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Whitlock because of injury and without closer Tanner Houck in Toronto due to his vaccination status -- Alex Cora stuck with Seabold to start the fifth inning. Under normal circumstances, with his team trailing 4-0, the Boston manager likely would have turned things over to his bullpen.

Seabold got Guerrero to fly out for the inning's first out, but then gave up a double to catcher Alejandro Kirk, who scored a few batters later on an RBI groundout by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. With two outs and one on, Seabold had a chance to get out of the inning without any further damage.

That didn't happen. Chapman launched an 89 MPH fastball to left for a two-run shot, ending Seabold's night.

The stat line looked pretty ugly, with Toronto collecting nine hits off the righty. But there were some positives from the outing, highlighted by Seabold's seven strikeouts. He also induced 21 swings and misses, an impressive number considering the opposition.

"There's some good hitters on that team, and to be able to do that against them, he's a good one," Cora said of the young starter. "It just happened that was the first one this year was against a tough team. He's a guy that we really like."

So there is plenty to build on with Seabold. But as he learned early, when you give Major League hitters something to hit, they're usually going to hit it hard.

"I made too many mistakes," he said. "The first few innings, I was able to limit it for the most part. Left one out over the plate with two strikes to Vlad. Gave Springer a first-pitch cookie, but I was able to keep it toned down for the most part. Then, fifth inning, I was out of gas, started making more mistakes, and they started capitalizing on it."

Lesson learned for the righty, who hopes he gets a chance to bounce back in the near future.

"There aren't many holes in that lineup and that is the reality of any major league team," said Seabold. "You just have to adapt to that. Hopefully, I get more opportunities and make the most of them. Hopefully, get better from here."

We'll see if that happens soon, or if Seabold has to wait to get another shot on a Major League mound. An off day on Thursday gives Cora the option to go with a four-man rotation over the next week, and there's a chance that Whitlock will be back in the mix at that point.

Seabold may have to wait for another shot in the Majors, but at least he's taking a valuable lesson back to Triple-A.

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