Downs, promoted from Triple-A Edmonton on Friday, looks to improve on his last major league start last August 10. He was roughed up for five runs and five hits over three innings in the Expos’ 8-2 loss to the Astros, and was sent back down to the minors shortly after.
However the 28-year-old left-hander is confident about his progress since.
“I got my feet wet again this year,” said Downs, who went 8-3 with a 2.89 ERA for Edmonton. “I was throwing well and having fun. That’s the main thing. My arm feels good and pitching is fun right now. I’m more consistent this year. I’ve been working hard in between starts to get ready for my starts.”
The Expos will try to bounce back from a 3-1 loss to the Blue Jays in the series opener. Orlando Cabrera drove in the lone run for Montreal, which is 4-2 after a seven-game losing streak but still has the worst record in the majors.
“It’s frustrating the way things have been going, but we have to keep our heads up,” said Zach Day, who started and lost Friday.
The Blue Jays, 10-12 in June, rebounded from one of their worst losses of the season—19-13 to Tampa Bay on Thursday. A players-only meeting before the game helped Toronto regroup.
“It was about knowing that we have a lot of season left, and that we should have some pride in the way we play,” said Reed Johnson, who had two RBIs Friday. “It was about playing hard like we did tonight.”