5:25 PM Eastern
The Blue Jays celebrated their return from a St. Patrick’s Day off by taking the 15-minute drive to the Phillies’ park in Clearwater, blowing a 4-1 lead and rallying from 7-4 down to tie the Phillies 7-7 in a game in which they didn’t even bother to play a 10th inning.
Evidently, Cody Haerther got the Jays within one with a two-run single in the 9th, and Angel Sanchez followed with the game-tying single to take Scott Richmond off the hook. Evidently, because all of us were in the Jays’ clubhouse at the time, talking to Richmond. Really, though, it was Haerther who got de-hookified, since his pair of misplays in the outfield really helped the Jays into the hole.
In the 5th inning, Jayson Werth hit a two-out liner towards the left-field line and Haerther got over in plenty of time, but the ball popped in and out of his glove. That ended Jesse Litsch’s day after 4 2/3 innings (and 89 pitches) and in came Richmond to serve up an RBI single to Gary Majewski. Yes, the pitcher. Majewski kind of threw his bat at it and hit a little line drive the other way, but they all count.
Weird game, by the way, in that the Jays had a DH but the Phillies didn’t.
In the 7th inning, Eric Bruntlett led off by taking Richmond to the warning track in left, but Haerther got turned around while tracking it and the ball fell in for a double. After a groundball and a walk, Richmond served up a three-run bomb to Werth that cleared both teams’ bullpens in left field.
Neither Litsch nor Richmond pitched especially well, but only one of them hurt his chances of going north with the team. Well, while Richmond may not have actually hurt his chances, he certainly didn’t help them any. He’ll get another chance soon, though. In an effort to catch him up to the rest of the starters, the Jays will send Richmond back out on three days’ rest, piggybacking with Matt Clement on Sunday in Fort Myers.
Richmond was furious when he came back into the clubhouse after his 2 1/3 inning stint, firing his glove into his locker from across the room before going back outside to get his running in. By the time he came back and met with the assemblage, he’d calmed down and said that he didn’t think he threw that badly. He just would have liked the pitch to Majewski to have been in a little more. He also mentioned that he could have gotten out of the 7th with a well-placed ground ball, as opposed to the one that Werth hit about 420 feet.
Two notes on the injury front, as both Scott Rolen and Travis Snider came out after one at-bat. Cito said that Rolen’s back was bothering him and that Snider had hurt his knee lunging for the first-base bag on a second-inning groundout.
Kids, here’s a lesson. With which foot do you hit first base when you’re running out a grounder? Whichever one gets there first. Keep running, and run hard through the bag. If you lunge for it, not only are you slowing yourself down, but you also run the risk of landing awkwardly and tweaking a knee or an ankle, or yanking a hammy. Aaron Hill used to do it all the time, and it scares the heck out of me every time I see it. I haven’t seen him do it yet this spring, but it’s only spring.
Snider doesn’t need an MRI, at least not yet, though he’s not likely to play tomorrow night against the Yankees.
Jason Lane continued to make his presence felt, taking a 3-1 offering from J.A. (pronounced “Jay”, for some reason) Happ over the wall in left for his team-leading 5th homer of the spring. Buck Coats and Aaron Hill led the Jays with all of two homers last spring. Still, Lane isn’t going to make the team if everyone is healthy. Vernon Wells had a few more at-bats in a minor-league game this morning, is set to play the outfield on Friday and may get into a Grapefruit League game on the weekend (it’d be Saturday, home to the Astros, because Vernon isn’t going to make the three-hour bus trip to Fort Myers Sunday), so he’s on track. The Snider knee thing may be Lane’s ticket, but it’s hard to imagine Snider will be out four weeks if he doesn’t even need an MRI. Still, stranger things have happened in Blue Jay land.
Jeremy Accardo pitched a perfect bottom of the 9th to help his cause for one of the open spots in the bullpen, but I didn’t see it – we were all talking to Richmond. I’m sure he pitched very well, though.
Oh, and the press box was all a-twitter mid-game with the news that the Jays have signed Leon Boyd to a minor-league contract. The closer for The Netherlands at the WBC, who was born in Vancouver, will report to minor-league camp in the next couple of days, and that’ll likely be the last we’ll hear from him this spring.
I had a rough morning dealing with my rental car agency (I have driven four different cars today – a Mazda 6 with a flat tire, an Avenger with no brakes, a Corolla and a Focus!). I left the house at 9:05 and didn’t get to the ballpark until 11:55, just in time to look at the line-up quickly and do a noon hit with Barb DiGiulio. As a result, I didn’t get to Dunedin Stadium, where the Jays take BP whenever they have a game in Clearwater, and missed some cute interplay between Roy Halladay and Snider. Check out Jordan Bastian’s blog for all the details.
Tomorrow, it’s a night game in Tampa. Jays and Yankees – Casey Janssen against A.J. Burnett! We’ll have it for you all along the Fan Radio Network starting at 7:00 PM Eastern, with a full JaysTalk afterwards.
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome.