12:55 AM Eastern
What a shame that David Purcey’s career night had to be ruined by the fact that his mound opponent was Superman. It’s too bad, because in all honesty, no one has the right to ever expect Purcey to be able to pitch better than that. He may yet someday, chances are he’s got a career shutout or six in him, but he was nearly flawless tonight.
Purcey threw a complete-game five-hitter, though his game was completed in eight innings. Of those five hits, one was a bunt single, one was a grounder to second that Jason Bartlett beat out and another was a grounder off the glove of Lyle Overbay that should have been scored an error. The Rays only hit eight balls out of the infield all night against Purcey, who didn’t walk a batter and struck out 11. Sheer and unadulterated brilliance, and for the second time in his last three starts it was painfully obvious why the Blue Jays have such high hopes for him.
But like I said, Superman was the issue. An alien being, known more commonly as Matthew Scott Garza, that routinely serves up pitches against which players wearing Toronto uniforms have, simply, no chance. Garza has made four starts against the Jays this season, and has been scored upon once. That’s not to say that over four starts he’s only had one in which the Jays have managed to score, though that’s true, too. It’s to say that over four starts the Blue Jays have managed a grand total of one bloody run.
It was a pretty run, coming on a one-out single by MVPco Scutaro in the 7th inning at Rogers Centre on May 7th, breaking up another one of those Shaun Marcum 0-0 games. Garza left after that inning down 1-0 and the Jays scored five off the bullpen in the 8th to wind up 6-2 winners. Since then, three starts and a bunch of zeroes. For the season, Garza is 3-1, 0.29 against the Jays in 31 innings. He’s allowed 19 hits and seven walks (0.84 WHIP) while striking out 18. This has long since gone past the stage of ridiculosity. The Jays have four games left against T-Bay this year, and Garza is scheduled to start the last of the four. Should be fun.
Where did tonight’s game turn? Well, the Jays had runners at first and second three times, though all three times the rally started with two out and nobody on. They never got a runner to third. Among the key plays resulting in the Jays being shut out: Lyle Overbay grounding into a hit-and-run double play in the 2nd, hitting the ball to the one and only spot from which the Rays could possibly turn two; Alex Rios swinging on a 3-0 pitch and grounding out weakly to end the third with two on; John McDonald being allowed to hit for himself and popping up to end the 7th with two on; and Adam Lind going way up and out of the strike zone and being unable to catch up to a Grant Balfour heater to end the 8th with two on.
The game ended with Justin Ruggiano apparently making a phenomenal play, picking a Rod Barajas blast off the top of the left-field wall to end the game. It’s a double if Ruggiano doesn’t make the play (and I’m not sure he didn’t trap it, I couldn’t tell from the replay), and that would likely have left Gregg Zaun (or Scott Rolen?) as the pinch-hitter with the chance to drive in the tying run. It was pretty much the exact same catch that Jason Bay made to rob Rios of extra bases and end the 10th inning on Sunday.
Despite the cynicism of the odd anti-J.P. commenter, Ricciardi showed up, as almost always, for his regular Wednesday night appearance. You can hear the entire show below, but as for some highlights:
-He’d love to have A.J. Burnett stay and will make his best effort to keep him, but was non-committal about making him an offer once he opts out.
-He claims not to be aware of the vultures circling, and said he plans to honour the final two years of his contract, but again stated that if he loses his job, he’s not going to kill himself, and is confident he’ll be able to find work in baseball without a problem should he choose to do so. For some reason, I’m sure this upsets a lot of people.
-He said that there are no plans to go after a free agent catcher in the off-season, and that one of Rod Barajas or Gregg Zaun, but not both, will be back. This means that the Jays will be picking up Barajas’ option, as though there was ever any doubt.
-Jeremy Accardo has been shut down for six weeks, ending his season. Structurally, Accardo’s arm is fine, but he can’t seem to shake the right forearm strain.
There were also back-to-back callers who attacked J.P., one about the Glaus-Rolen trade and the Frank Thomas signing, and another about dealing Robinzon Diaz for Jose Bautista. The second guy, I think, was trying to be sarcastic in referring to Guillermo Quiroz and Kevin Cash as great young catchers who are currently toiling successfully in the big leagues. At least, I hope he was trying to be sarcastic, but it didn’t really come across that way. The first caller was simply trying to shout J.P. down.
Ricciardi actually encouraged those who disagree with him to call and debate him on his moves, so long as they have their facts straight. I echo that, as I always have on the program, and I’ll add that if you’re going to have an argument with someone, you have to let them argue, too. If that first caller had been prepared to actually debate J.P. – which would involve allowing J.P. to talk – instead of simply calling in to yell at him, it could have been a pretty good call. Instead, I had to cut the guy off because he simply wouldn’t let J.P. talk.
Here’s the whole of Wednesday’s with J.P., for your listening pleasure:
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!