10:45 PM Eastern
A holiday Monday Tour de Force by Roy Halladay, and the Blue Jays taking advantage of a struggling team – that’s exactly how things are supposed to go. If the Jays had been this opportunistic over the first 111 games of the schedule, we wouldn’t be talking about how they need a miracle to make the playoffs.
Tonight, they scored early and often, and did it in an unusual fashion. The first two Jays’ runs came on hit batsmen with the bases loaded, and the third scored on a passed ball. Not the sort of thing we’re used to in the land of bases-loaded strikeouts, pop-ups and double-play balls.
The Jays had five opportunities to score a runner from third with less than two out and cashed all five.
Halladay was at his dominant best, holding the league’s worst-hitting team to just four safeties over eight innings. Outside the Bobby Crosby homer in the 8th, he allowed a ground single up the middle, a bloop single that fell in front of a hard-charging (yes, hustling) Alex Rios, and a liner to deep left by Jack Cust that got over Adam Lind’s head. A better left fielder probably catches that ball, but Lind more that makes up with his bat for being an average to below-average defensive outfielder.
With Halladay operating the way he was, there was no need to pile on, but it would have been nice to see the Jays not shut down offensively in the middle part of the game. They didn’t score in four innings against the just-called-up Dan Meyer, although they did manage a hit in every inning – a far cry from last night in Texas. The A’s looked every bit the death-spiralling team that has lost 15 of its last 17.
Finally, I got a chance to have a good, long talk with Scott Richmond before the game, and he came across as a pretty run-of-the-mill, ordinary guy – and I say that in a good way. He talked about dreaming about playing pro ball, but he also wanted to take a year off after high school and wound up getting a job that paid well and decided to stick with that for a while. Of course, his story differs from a lot of ours because he was actually really, really good at throwing a baseball, and he eventually wound his way into the majors. Although he did say he wished he was in Beijing with the rest of the Canadian Olympic team, he also said that playing in the majors is his dream, and he couldn’t be happier to be in the bigs with the Blue Jays. You can hear the whole interview in the hot audio section of the website.
Look, every ballplayer’s dream is to compete at the highest level, and that’s the big leagues. If you’re not in the big leagues, then something like the Olympic team is a wonderful opportunity. Richmond wants to be here, with the Jays, and doesn’t believe that there should be any backlash against the Jays’ front office for calling him up when they did.
Here’s tonight’s episode of The JaysTalk – extendo and all – for your listening pleasure:
Reasonable, rational comments are always encouraged!