11:40 PM Eastern
There’s your final cumulative score of the Blue Jays’ sweep of the Kansas City Royals, closing out a 5-2 homestand and getting the Jays three games over .500 for the first time this season.
I didn’t hear any “it’s only the Royals” calls after the game, which made me happy. I was expecting some, but only because for the last few years we’ve been hearing about how the Jays can’t beat the bad teams. This time, they not only beat a bad team, but they beat it up real good.
Shaun Marcum was his usual treeeeemendous self, despite being all fidgety with his right hand and the rosin bag. He hit a career-high three batters, two of them in the sixth, but still only gave up one earned run. That sixth inning was really something – after the hit batsmen, Marcum got two textbook double-play balls but no double plays. On the first one, Marcum didn’t get his foot down on first base to take Marco Scutaro’s relay throw – stunning, because he might be the best-fielding pitcher in the league. On the second, Joe Inglett’s flip throw to second was nowhere near Scoot.
You can’t tell me that two weeks ago, that inning doesn’t blow up and bury the Jays. Of course, two weeks ago, it was probably a 0-0 game, not 6-0 Toronto at the time. How things have changed.
Along those lines – did my eyes deceive me or did Lyle Overbay actually hit a “ground ball with eyes” that got through into right field for a RBI single in the second? Might be the first one of those I’ve seen from the Jays all year.
Scutaro jumped out of his 0-for-10 nicely, with a gorgeous hit-and-run single and a solo homer. And hey, Gregg Zaun (I think I might call him “TOYS” from now on – for Target Of Your Scorn, I don’t get why everyone seems to have so much of a hate-on for the guy) had a great day, with a two-run homer, a double and two runs scored.
Now the Jays are off on the road for three each with the A’s, Angels and Yankees. If they wind up 5-4 on the trip, that would be spectacular.
We also get to see right away if this recent hot streak will now enable the Jays to beat left-handed starters with any kind of regularity. They started the year 0-4 against starting southpaws, though only one of them was around for the decision. Since then, they’re 5-4 when a lefty starts, but they haven’t faced one since Jamie Moyer beat them (well, David Purcey beat them – it’s semantics, really, and he’s a lefty, anyway) in the opener in Philly a week and a half ago.
Greg Smith starts in Oakland tomorrow night, and Dana Eveland goes Thursday afternoon. Smith and Eveland started two of the games in the Oakland sweep at the end of the first homestand, with Smith leaving after 6 down 3-2 (the A’s scored four in the 9th off Jeremy Accardo and Brian Wolfe) and Eveland throwing 6 1/3 innings of three-hit shutout (the A’s won 3-2 in 12 on the night of Jesse Carlson’s major-league debut).
The afternoon JaysTalk was a good time, as always, and it’s right here for your listening pleasure:
I especially enjoyed the caller who wanted to make it clear that he thinks the Jays will get swept in Oakland “because that’s what they always do”. He wanted me to make sure that I know he KNEW it would happen so that when he calls me on Thursday after the sweep, I won’t think he’s just frustrated by three straight losses. In retrospect, I should have suggested that he wager his house on the sweep, could make him a rich man. Hey, if any of you know him, offer to bet pink slips!
Comments are encouraged, as always, and make sure you stay up for the 1:30 AM (Eastern) JaysTalks tomorrow and Wednesday!