Come for the beer and the ballgame, stay for the bullpen blow-up. That pretty much sums of the mid-to-late-April, 2014 Toronto Blue Jays.
And the most frustrating part is that just about every arm in the bullpen has caused or been apart of a meltdown in the past week, so it’s not as though any one arm has experienced consistent failure.
Thanks to a stat from Mark Zwolinski of the Star, the bullpen has allowed 22 ER on 23 hits in 23.2 innings starting with the double header against the Twins last week. The kicker: 24 walks.
WHAT’S WITH ALL THE WALKS?
Just peeking over at the stats, I see that Aaron Loup has 8 walks in 9.1 innings – he had 13 all of last year in 69.1 innings. The league has a .103 batting average against him and he’s got a 4.82 ERA. What the bleep is going on?
There are more examples. Though in a small sample size, Sergio Santos has doubled his walk total of a year ago. Brett Cecil is on pace to double his total of a year ago.
Speaking of Brett Cecil, he came in last night in the top of the 7th with a runner on base and a 3-2 lead (ERA of ZERO coming in, by the way), and promptly walked Nick Markakis on four pitches, then intentionally walked (cheater) Nelson Cruz to get to Chris Davis – superb idea, walking a really good hitter to get to another really good hitter with another really good hitter on deck.
He left with a 4.15 ERA, and the Jays blew a 3-0 lead, including a 9K performance from Drew Hutchison, in a very frustrating 11-4 loss.
FIRST LIVE GAME OF THE YEAR
Yeah, I’m one of those guys. Always have been.
As you can see, the Jays had a solid 2nd inning. Dioner Navarro and Colby Rasmus went deep, staking the Jays out to a 3-0 lead on O’s starter Bud Norris, who was alright, but ripe for the picking if the Jays were willing to be patient, and make him work, as opposed to swinging early and wasting at-bats.
Outside of a rough 5th inning, Drew Hutchison was quite good. 1 walk, 9 Ks, 2 ER; the only real blip being a solo-homer by Jonathan Schoop Doop-a-doop (YEEEEEEAH RIGHT it’s pronounced “Scope”).
Then he left, and the Orioles scored 9 runs against the Jays’ suddenly-flawed bullpen.
Another blown game, another solid start wasted, another blown opportunity against a division rival on home turf. Way to go, fellas.
– Hutch, like I said, was impressive. Can’t remember if I’ve seen him live before, but he works a quick game, his fastball reached 95 MPH, and he got out of a couple jams. Hope he keeps it up.
– Navarro and Rasmus got the crowd going with those dingers.
– J-Bau drove in a run to prevent the Jays from allowing 11 unanswered runs, and lined out hard in the 6th.
– Jose Reyes, a quiet 0/4.
– Ryan Goins, a strikeout and a pop-out – sorry, I’d still prefer Kawasaki…
– The guys doing the replay stuff in New York messed up that call in the 8th – Esmil Rogers hit the bat of Schoop, and the umps and replay crew called it an HBP.
We’ll say that’s why Rogers went on to allow the next four out of five guys to reach base.
– Cecil’s line tonight: 0 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 ER. Thank goodness I picked him up in fantasy.
– Rogers’ line tonight: 1.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER. Thank goodness I’ll never pick him up in fantasy.
– Brett Lawrie’s batting average after an 0-for-4 performance: .157.
Did you know that the Go Train runs express from Oshawa to Toronto during afternoon rush hour? I didn’t, but we got from Whitby to Union in less than 45 minutes, and I got to watch batting practice for the first time since I was a kid.
This was the view from our seats, in a spot I’ve never sat before. Front row in right field.
From the standpoint of a pure baseball fan, great place to sit. We almost got run into by Jose Bautista as he chased down a foul ball!
The seats, and the funny guys sitting around us, made the horrible turnaround of the game a tolerable experience.
The Jays get to recover from a huge let-down of a series with a nice, easy series against the last place Red Sox. Should be a breeze, I’m sure.
A pair of former White Sox will square off as the red hot Mark Buehrle takes on Jake Peavy.
Forgive me, but after the last two nights, I’ll be watching the Raptors get chewed out by angry Brooklyn fans.
For Jays Balk, I’m @TheAsherRoth