5:15 PM Eastern
The Blue Jays took the first two from the Red Sox, a great start to a long homestand coming off an 0-9 road trip, but they had no answer for Jon Lester in the finale.
Lester took the Jays’ brooms and stuffed them where the sun, as it were, tends not to shine, striking out 12 Jays over six innings of three-hitter as the Red Sox romped. This wasn’t one of those days where the Jays had chances but let the starter off the hook – their three hits against Lester were all infield singles. The young lefty simply chewed them up and spit them out. One merely wonders why Lester hasn’t been able to do that against anybody else this season, but that’s why they call it baseball.
The bloom appears to be off the rose that, by any other name, is known as Ricky Romero. The sneeze did him in, it appears. Romero was riding a nice little hot streak at the beginning of the season, looking fantastic in his first three outings, but he simply hasn’t been the same guy since going on the disabled list back in April with the sneeze-induced ribcage strain.
Romero couldn’t make it out of the 5th inning today – he actually couldn’t even record an out in the 5th – walking five over his four-plus innings and allowing five runs on six hits. It wasn’t an AWFUL outing, though, despite the line. The big blow against Romero was a two-out, three-run home run by Dustin Pedroia in the 4th. I mentioned in the comments section that it was about as cheap a home run as you’ll see, and I mean no disrespect to Pedroia, who is a fine guest on tonight’s edition of The Blue Jays This Week. Thing is, it was a line drive down the left-field line that just barely held its line and hit the bottom of the foul pole in left field. If the ballpark was two feet deeper down the left-field line, that’s a foul ball. If the ball drops another six inches, it’s an RBI double.
I’m certainly not painting Romero’s work today as good, by any means, it just wasn’t horrific.
Lester, though. Wow. The Jays only hit one ball out of the infield against him all day, and get this: Had the Red Sox had just Lester and Jason Varitek out there on the field over Lester’s last three innings, the Jays would have scored all of one run. Scott Rolen’s infield single would have gone into the corner and been an inside-the-park homer, but that would have been it. Eight strikeouts and a foul pop to the catcher, along with an Aaron Hill walk. That’s dominance.
The biggest highlight for the Jays, offensively, other than Rios’ homer into the 200-level, was Kevin Millar stepping into the batters’ box in the second inning to the strains of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”. I thought someone had set him up, but I’m told that he and a few teammates went to the Elton John/Billy Joel concert at the ACC last night. I would have loved to have seen that – oh, well. They’re playing in Ottawa tomorrow night if any of you feel the need to attend on my behalf.
Brian Wolfe’s performance today will surely have a bunch of commenters pining for the return of Jeremy Accardo, which is understandable, but try to remember that Accardo isn’t the saviour. He had a great year in 2007 in the absence of B.J. Ryan, but lost command of his splitter before he hurt his forearm last season and didn’t look especially good this spring. He’s been OK in Las Vegas, but those numbers are difficult to read because of the hitter-friendliness of the Pacific Coast League. In 16 outings totalling 19 innings, Accardo has allowed seven runs (six earned) on 21 hits and seven walks, with 17 strikeouts. Not bad, indeed.
But the thing is, Wolfe and Accardo play very different roles. Wolfe is a guy who can go multiple innings, can work early in a game, can be kind of a mop-up/long reliever if they need it. Accardo isn’t that. I had said when Ryan went down that the call would have gone to Accardo if they’d needed a short guy, but they didn’t, with Downs, Carlson, League and Frasor all apparently just moving up a spot. Now, with Carlson’s recent struggles and Cito’s apparent unwillingness to use Frasor in a big spot, they might need a short guy – but who’s to say that Cito would trust Accardo any more than he trusts Frasor?
There’s certainly a case to be made for having Accardo here – if he has his splitter command back, which we don’t know – but he’s not the white knight that so many seem to believe he’d be.
Here’s today’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
The Jays are off tomorrow, back Tuesday night with Roy Halladay taking his third shot at becoming baseball’s first nine-game winner. The Angels are in town, with Joe Saunders starting. Before that, though, make sure you tune into The Blue Jays This Week tonight at 7:00 PM Eastern. Tonight’s show features Brian Tallet, to whom I love talking because he’s always really forthright and thoughtful. You rarely, if ever, get a stock cliche answer from Tallet, unlike so many others. As I mentioned above, Dustin Pedroia is also on the show tonight, fawning over Aaron Hill, among other things.
As I type this, by the way, two of Alex Rios’ super-cool remote-control cars are tearing it up all over the Rogers Centre turf. Rios is controlling the more stock-car-y one, while Jose Bautista is at the controls of the open-wheel racer. Rios has already planted his into the wall down the left-field line once, and he also took it over the side of the mound, which caused the car to flip over about four times – but it landed wheels-down and was off to the races again. Very rich boys with their very expensive toys, indeed. But a lot of fun to watch.
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!