Jose Bautista’d, Mark Buehrle’d, and the Blue Jays Reyes (that’s a verb, yes?) to a resilient 4-2 victory over a Texas Rangers team that is essentially the poster child for baseball in 2014. Some great pieces, solid on paper, but flawed.
First of all, you think losing your streaky centre fielder and inconsistent starter to injury is bad? How about losing your prized jewel (Prince Fielder), your breakthrough youngster (Jurickson Profar), and, like the Jays, having a tonne of question marks in the rotation.
As a result, you get a team who’s been right in the mix the last few years throwing guys like Robbie Ross on the mound, and suddenly you’re reminded of the Rick Helling-era Rangers who spent all their money on bats and forgot that they needed major league calibre pitching in order to occasionally finish above .500.
Ross is no match for Mark Buehrle on paper, and that proved an accurate measure on this night – Ross struggled with his control and received a mound visit in the 2nd inning from his manager, while Buehrle was an out away from going 7 innings.
Both proved to be non-factors in the decision, as Aaron Loup allowed yet another inherited run to score, which closed the Buehrle-man’s line at 2 runs on 7 hits over 6.2. He’s now 7-1 with a 2.11 ERA.
Is he officially the ace yet, or would the earth fall off its axis if the team ever refers to him as such?
Consider that, entering tonight, over his past 21 starts he was 14-4 with a 2.69 ERA, which includes a game in which he allowed 8 runs on 12 hits in September.
While it’s true that you rarely see a 35 year old with an 85 mph fastball pitch the best he’s ever pitched, the Jays have certainly had more obscure choices as their ace in recent years (think Esteban Loaiza), and you can certainly do worse than a guy with a World Series ring and a perfect game on his resume.
The Jays offence was so-so tonight. JBau textbook homer: good. Melky going 0 for 5: bad. Kevin Pillar with a multi-hit game: good. Steve Tolleson batting 7th: bad. 4 runs on 8 hits: good. 12 runners left on base: HORRIBLE.
The game’s defining moment came in the 7th. With Pillar on 2nd and 2 out, Reyes bloops one to right that drops in, scoring the winning run. As he speeds his way to 2nd and slides in safely, he emphatically claps his hands and gestures towards the dugout to his stoked team mates.
That’s when I remembered: Jose Reyes is actually a Blue Jay…
The bullpen deserves some love tonight as well-in addition to Casey Janssen picking up hit third save, Steve Delabar fanned the side in an extremely effective eighth. He seems to be finding his stride nicely, and the bullpen is more stable as a result.
No bullets or pictures tonight, as I’m in transit with limited resources, but I guarantee a colourful and introspective preview for tomorrow, including a blurb on the comments by the dear departed Mr Arencibia this weekend (yikes).
The Jays will have their “ace on paper” on the mound as they look for the sweep, while the Dickster will look to pitch past the 7th inning for once.
Reward for making it to the end of the post (or for watching the game): Rougned Odor.
For Jays Balk, I’m @TheAsherRoth.