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Formerly a batboy for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, he was drafted in the 24th round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004. He had a career 3.49 ERA, primarily as a starter in 43 games over 234.1 IP during his first two years in the minor leagues. He then started the 2007 season with the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats where he posted a 5–1 record and a 0.96 ERA over 6 starts. He allowed 22 hits in 37.2 IP of work, striking out 28 while walking only 7.
On May 15, 2007, Litsch made his Major League debut with the Blue Jays, filling in for the injured Roy Halladay. Over 8.2 innings (the most innings pitched by any Blue Jay in his debut), Litsch allowed only 4 hits, with 2 walks and 1 run while recording an amazing 21 of his 26 outs via groundouts. Litsch became the first Jays pitcher to win his debut since Gustavo Chacin beat the New York Yankees on September 20, 2004. As a result of his performance, Litsch earned three more starts with the Jays. He was demoted back to AA after posting a 0–3 record with a 19.62 ERA in those three starts.
After yet another injury to A. J. Burnett, the Blue Jays recalled Litsch and he started against Boston on July 15, 2007. He yielded one run on 9 hits over 6.2 innings with 2 K's and 1 walk, defeating Josh Beckett and the Boston Red Sox 2–1.
He came home to Tampa Bay on July 31, going 6.2 innings, only giving up 7 hits while walking 1 and striking out 2, with no earned runs. Litsch finished his first year in the majors 7–9 with a 3.89 ERA and 50 K/36 BB over 20 starts.
On May 24, 2008, the same day that he pitched his first complete game shutout, he also surpassed Jimmy Key's former franchise record by recording 38 consecutive innings without walking a batter (Key's former mark was 341⁄3). In 2008 he threw cutters 43.4% of the time, the highest rater in the majors.
On April 14, 2009, he was sent to the 15-day DL because of a right forearm strain.
Litsch struggled against the Rockies in his return. He lasted only 2 and one third innings and allowed 7 runs on 9 hits.
He regained his previous form in his next start against the San Francisco Giants on June 19 by going 7 solid innings allowing only 3 hits in a 3-0 win. Litsch threw 94 pitches in the start, and attributed his success to throwing more 4 seam fastballs and sinkers in comparison to too many cutters like he did in his previous start.
Litsch's main pitch is his four-seam fastball, which he delivers with a velocity in the low 90's. He also has a good two-seam tailing fastball, a good changeup, and can throw a slider, a cutter and a curve ball. Litsch has excellent control, and finds success by locating his pitches and getting ahead in the count.
- ↑ Topkin, Marc (May 14, 2007). Litsch caps rapid rise with callup to Toronto. Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved on 2008-05-27.
- ↑ Litsch pitches into 9th, grabs first win in majors debut. ESPN.com (May 15, 2007). Retrieved on 2008-05-27.
- ↑ "Litsch pitches first shutout as Blue Jays beat Royals 6–0", AP, 2008-05-24. Retrieved on 2008-05-24.
- ↑ Major League Leaderboards » 2008 » Pitchers » Pitch Type Statistics. FanGraphs. Retrieved on 2010-04-26.
- ↑ "Blue Jays face baseball's hottest pitcher", CBC.ca, 2010-06-11. Retrieved on 2010-06-11.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube