5:07 PM Eastern

It’s funny, if you look just at the scoreboard, you could very well come to the conclusion that Jesse Litsch pitched worse today than Jo-Jo Reyes pitched yesterday – that’s why they call it baseball, I guess.

Litsch was terrific against a tough Boston squad, save for one rather large swing.  The Red Sox used the old “two bloops and a blast” offense in the bottom of the second and – the way Boston starters dominated the Blue Jays’ bats this weekend – that was enough.

It started with one out, when Jed Lowrie hit a looper that appeared to be headed into the stands on the third-base side.  So much so that Jayson Nix took a look at it and didn’t even bother to chase.  The wind took the ball, though, and not only blew it back onto the field of play, but blew it fair – Lowrie (who had given up on it, too) wound up at first with a single.  J.D. Drew followed with a liner to centre for a single, then Jarrod Saltalamacchia got just enough of a Litsch offering to just get it by a diving Aaron Hill for an RBI single.  Jacoby Ellsbury was next, and he simply murdalized a get-me-over 2-0 fastball – the blast to deep, deep right field gave the Red Sox a 4-1 lead and they were never headed.

After the homer, Litsch settled down and retired 13 Red Sox hitters in a row, giving up a couple of unearned runs after a Jayson Nix error extended the 6th inning.

In the overall, he gave up four earned runs on seven hits in six innings, walking one and striking out five.  He threw 97 pitches to get 18 outs, compared to the 94 pitches Reyes threw yesterday to get his nine.  Again, Litsch retired 13 in a row at one point – Reyes’ high water-mark on that score yesterday was three.

It went from bad to worse with Shawn Camp coming out of the bullpen in the 8th to give up a double, hit a guy and walk another.  A very unCampic performance, and Adam Lind’s first error of the season didn’t help him, but by then it was too late.

The Blue Jays had their chances, but didn’t get a hit with a runner in scoring position and when they had a chance to strike in the 8th, ran themselves out of the inning.  Granted, it was 6-1, but rookie Felix Doubront was on the ropes, having walked Corey Patterson and Adam Lind around a fly out by Jose Bautista.  The tying run was on deck with Doubront facing Aaron Hill, who seems to have found his swing at Fenway, but Patterson thought he had the kid’s timing down and took off to steal third while Doubront was still holding the ball in his stretch.  The lefty spun on the rubber, stepped off and easily nailed Patterson at third to take a lot of the air out of the rally.

The Blue Jays did score their only run of the ballgame with a bit of derring-do.  Hill was on third and Juan Rivera at first (yes, he reached base, it’s true) with two out in the second and Jayson Nix at the plate.  Rivera took off for second, drew a throw from Saltalamaccchia and stopped running as Hill raced for the plate.  The Red Sox chose to resolve the rundown and allow Hill to score.  It wasn’t quite Rick Leach intentionally falling down halfway between first and second, but it was a neat little play nonetheless.  Sadly, that was it – the Blue Jays scored a grand total of two whole runs over the weekend.

Here’s today’s brief edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:

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Tomorrow, it’s the finale of both the series and of the season’s first road trip.  A win would get the Jays a split at Fenway and leave them 4-6 for the trip, which isn’t bad at all.  Ricky Romero takes the mound for the good guys against Boston’s struggling 5th starter Daisuke Matsuzaka.  It’s Patriots Day in Boston, so we’ll be on the air at 11:00 AM Eastern for an 11:05 first pitch – join us, won’t you?

Follow me on Twitter @wilnerness590!  Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!

19 Responses to “Wholly Different Game, Same Result”
  1. 1.

    How come the jays can’t catch the ball this year. Errors,passed balls, they’re killing us.

    - daddohj
  2. 2.


    You’re on the money re comparison between Jo Jo and Jesse in terms of quality of performance. Jesse got rattled by the give up on Lowrie’s hit.

    Overall, a shoddy day by the Jays: baserunning was too over the top (Snider get caught off first, Patterson at third I like his hustle), Lind error at first and JP lets a couple balls by. And you’re right re Nix at third and errors. But please keep Lowrie in minors for a while.

    Defence not as strong as last year.

    Maybe they can tie it up tomorrow on Marathon Monday, Patriot’s Day.

    - Grant Carter
  3. 3.

    Hi Mike:

    Casey Janssen started in the past and was good (at least, he looked good to me). Any possibility he takes the 5th starter from Litsch? Litsch has a great attitude on the mound but lacks the stuff to be a great starter in MLB; Janssen has much better tools and a similar attitude. What do you think?

    MW: I’m not sure Janssen has better stuff than Litsch does, but I think it’s been long since decided that Janssen’s shoulder won’t hold up to starting, much like Dustin McGowan’s. Zack Stewart will be the 5th starter soon anyway.

    - John
  4. 4.

    I thought Litsch was terrible against Seattle, and really good today. You wouldn’t know it just looking at the lines though. Today he was quite sharp, worked fast, kept the ball down, threw strikes. He was victimized by a few bloopy hits and some shoddy defense. If he throws the ball like this all season he’ll have a good year.

    - Flaming Moe
  5. 5.

    Why must Jays fans always have to hate somebody. Now its Rivera and Frasor. Before that Tallet, Overbay and Wells all had there turns.

    - ktf
  6. 6.

    Actually the 3 run homer made it 4 to 1.

    Jay from Saskatoon

    MW: It’s true – fixed.

    - ktf
  7. 7.

    Really enjoy your blog entries and look forward to them MW.

    Farrell has been doing a great job of trying to help his team manufacture runs. Unfortunately, the pitching has dropped off a bit and the hitting just hasn’t been timely. We’re missing the dingers and failing to put up the Ws.

    Let’s hope we don’t become the medicine for struggling teams all season like we did with the Ms and the Sox.

    @ktf – Farrell has been giving Rivera every chance to turn things around. He’s got the big contract and is going to be the subject of controversy if he doesn’t produce (as was the case with Wells)

    - Bird is the Word
  8. 8.

    Gotta say Mike, I much preferred the MikedUp live format last year. The reason I come around it more to hear what people like you and Shi have to say.

    The Rivera bashing, Litsch demoting, Snider doubting just seem to go on and on and on. I think its better when these endless strings of comments are moderated out.

    Always enjoy your blog and twitter feed, though! Have a good one, may DiceK find his velocity in May, and not before.

    - Greg W
  9. 9.

    he gave up 6 earned runs according to the mlb, no?

    MW: No. There was a scoring change during the game that took two earned runs away.

    - nicholas laffin
  10. 10.

    I think Shawn Camp’s 4.40 career ERA is more indicative of his true talent level than his 2.99 era last year.

    I like Litsch a lot more than Reyes. I think Litsch will be fine if they just leave him in the rotation. He could use a better defence though. The Jays are good up the middle but their corner outfielders are not very good defensively and 3B is a disaster.

    I hope the fascination with Jayson Nix wears off soon. The guy has a .676 career ops and he’s not a good fielder. He’s not even a good platoon guy – his ops last 3 years vs lefties .716. If EE is away you might as well just put Mcdonald in there. Not sure why they have Nix on the roster. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

    MW: They have seen something they really like in him, so they’re taking a look. Doesn’t cost them anything. That’s what this year is about.

    - jmaron
  11. 11.

    Really, Morrow, Drabek, and Romero are the only starters that have it to be successful in the AL East and any future playoff scenarios. Litsch is an average pitcher with average stuff and I can’t see him having many big game performances against Yankees or Sox.

    And Luis Rivera is another Brad Wilkerson. Just about
    D O N E.

    MW: You mean Juan Rivera. But you should go back and take a look at how Litsch has done against the Red Sox and Yankees in the past.

    - Will
  12. 12.

    Hi Mike

    Tough outing for Litch yesterday – one bad pitch and that was all she wrote.

    A question on sliding to first base – I saw Escobar did it, Alomar used to do it as well and if I am not mistaken, Josh Hamilton did it as well that resulted in an injury. My question to you is – Does sliding to first base make sense, especially head first. Do you get to the base faster?


    MW: You get to the base faster if you dive straight into the bag without ever touching the ground. Once your body starts to slide along the ground, you’re slowing down.

    - francis
  13. 13.

    I listened to the ball game yesterday and knew just knew that Ellsbury was going to get a hit (I didn’t predict a homerun) because there’s one word to describe Boston. Opportunistic.

    - gary carr
  14. 14.

    So much for the Red Sox worst 2-10 start to the season. I was worried the Jays might be the tonic for what ailed them and now we have to hope Dice K continues to be erratic and the Jays can earn a split.

    That was a nasty game but I’m loving the continued Blue Jay aggression on the basepaths.

    Lawrie hitting .442 in AAA. Looking forward to seeing him later his year, maybe late May. You really want it to be the right time for him, not the fans.

    MW: Exactly correct!

    - Gary
  15. 15.

    Hi Mike

    With a little effort could Rivera not have kept that rundown going a little while to increase the chance of the Sox making an error? Do you think it mattered?

    I don’t know about you but everytime I look at this guy his effort seems sub par. No question about his talent but an athlete without desire is not one I want to watch on my favorite team, even in a bit role.

    MW: I think you, along with many others, are confusing lack of footspeed with lack of desire.

    - Slingshot
  16. 16.

    Now that Morrow and Francisco are returning to the Jays this week, please, no more Jo-Jo Reyes. He is the anti Roy Halladay and it’s excrutiating watching him try to pitch a baseball game.

    Even if they have to bring up Scott Richmond or Zach Stewart from the minors, – the team should just do anything to avoid inflicting Reyes on fans again.

    - Anonymous
  17. 17.

    It is time to standardize the MLB playing fields. This does not mean that all Stadiums must look alike. If the NFL can do it so can the MLB.

    Fenway park is a JOKE. I don’t care how much lipstick you put on that pig, it is still a pig.

    Tear down Fenway and build a real MLB stadium.

    - ScoobyBP
  18. 18.

    I know what is going to irritate me most this season. The endless media cheer leading about how the base stealing by the Jays is making them so much better.

    It’s such nonsense. So the Jays lead the league in steals with 21 – but they have been caught 6 times. That’s a decent percentage (77%). But stats have shown that 75% is break even. So what have they gained a run or two?

    If the Jays keep sending the likes of Aaron Hill, Snider and Nix as often as they have that percentage will almost assuredly drop and the base running will be a net negative. But to hear the media you would swear this base stealing is the biggest improvement in the Jays in 20 years.

    I of course do not include you Mike when I refer to the media. I know you understand how overrated stealing bases is unless your a Ricky Henderson or Tim Raines. And, even then – that’s not what made those guys great players. It was their ability to get on base.

    That’s my rant for today.

    MW: Good rant, but as long as the Blue Jays continue to be smart about the running game, it’s a good thing. There’s no guarantee that as long as they pick their spots well, the percentage will drop.

    - jmaron
  19. 19.

    I for one would be patient with Jesse Litsch. Once Morrow is swapped for Reyes, you should be really pleased with a 5th starter that can eat some innings and give you a .500 record.

    Litsch can do that with some run support in my opinion.

    - Gary
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