In the wake of Tuesday night’s ugly loss to Oakland, John Farrell make a whole whack of changes to the way his team does business, and Wednesday afternoon, they all worked out rather beautifully.
The biggest decision, of course, was to take Francisco Cordero out of the closer’s role, in which he’d performed pretty abysmally lately. Cordero’s blow-up Tuesday night was his third straight blown save and he’d thrown only one clean inning all year. After Farrell sat him down to explain the decision, Cordero met the media and told us that Farrell was right, that Cordero would have made a change too. That he can’t keep going out there and blowing game after game for them. But he’s confident that he’ll bounce back, he has before.
Cordero out meant Casey Janssen in, and lo and behold Janssen got a save opportunity Wednesday and did something that no Blue Jays closer had done to this point this season. He pitched a perfect ninth inning. Quiet, efficient and thoroughly drama-free, Janssen was outstanding in picking up the 10th save of his career – his first since last August, which also happened to be here in Oakland.
Carlos Villanueva did a terrific job to get the ball to Casey, working his way out of a Luis Perez jam in the 7th, then pitching a spotless 8th to get the ball to the new stopper.
There was a major change to the batting order, too, with clean-up hitter Adam Lind being busted all the way down to the 8th spot in the wake of his poor start to the season. Edwin Encarnacion, who carried the offense in April but who was hitless in 18 trips so far in this road trip, moves into the fourth spot in the line-up.
Lind responded to his demotion with a two-run homer in the fourth that opened the scoring, and Encarnacion responded to his promotion by snapping out of his slump with an eighth-inning solo shot.
The other controversy that came out of Tuesday night’s loss was the decision to pinch-hit for J.P. Arencibia with Omar Vizquel in the 9th inning. Arencibia was no longer seething about it by the time he arrived at the ballpark Wednesday morning, but he was still visibly upset. He said that he supports his manager but didn’t agree with the decision, and wants to be looked at as someone who should be up at the plate with the game on the line and the chance to drive in a big run. Was there ever any doubt that J.P. would go deep at least once in this game? Of course there wasn’t, and of course he did.
There was no BlueJaysTalk, what with it being a weekday day game as well as a getaway day for us on the road – which explains the lateness of this post. I had hoped to have it up before we left for Minnesota, but circumstances didn’t allow it. First time traveling with the team, so I’m still learning the drill.
For your listening pleasure, though, we have coverage of all the big news stories of the day.
Here’s Francisco Cordero being as stand-up as a stand-up guy can be:
And his replacement, Casey Janssen:
And lastly, Arencibia – you can still hear that he’s upset, but he certainly channeled that upsetedness in the right direction on the field:
Having left the west coast 3-3, which isn’t so bad, the Blue Jays are now in Minnesota getting set for a four-game series against the league-worst Twins. Henderson Alvarez will pitch the opener against righty Jason Marquis on Thursday night. We’ll be on the air across the Blue Jays Radio Network at 7:30PM Eastern for an 8:10 first pitch, but those of you tuned in to our flagship station Sportsnet590 The Fan, or listening here on the website, get an extra-special treat – an extra half-hour pre-game with yours truly, live from Target Field. Join us, won’t you?
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Comments are welcome – I read them all and will be catching up on the responding very soon!