Blue Jays pen finally breaks down as Jays lose 4th straightIt seems that the only way the Jays can win is by scoring alot of runs, and with the offense missing 5 of its 9 regulars, it's a tall order. The starting rotation has to be very very good and the bullpen has to be spotless. That puts more pressure on the pitching staff to be better than they might actually be to win games.
In the case of Ricky Romero, the "ace" of the club, the goal is to keep the club in the game and pitch a gem because you know run support is a premium. The problem with Ricky is clearly his head. The fact that he hasn't won a game since mid-June is the pressure he feels as the "ace" and to perform well. It's too much for him. Emotionally, he needs some work, but he is steadily getting better as the season has pretty much slipped away.
Ricky started off promising enough with a 1-2-3 first, but in the second, he lost focus and control, giving up a single (to Cano) followed by a four pitch walk to Jones. Jason Nix then hit a sacrifice bunt, and Mathis rather than going for the out at first, went for the force at third and threw it into left field, plating Cano. Ichiro then hit into a fielder's choice (normally a double play ball), which scored Jones. Ricky finished the inning uneventfully. Kelly Johnson replied with a bases-empty home run in the bottom of the inning. The score after 2 was 2-1 Yankees.
In the third, Ricky let in another run as Cano scored Swisher on a hit to right. Gose decided to fire a rocket into home to try and get Swisher but it was well off its mark.
Ricky was good after then, getting out of a bit of trouble in the fourth but retiring 10 in a row, finishing after 7 innings respectively, throwing 98 pitches. Now, it was up to the Jays offense to do something... anything. Kelly Johnson got another RBI in the 4th with a double to knock in Yunel Escobar. But Omar Visquel struck out and Mathis grounded out, leaving Johnson and Cooper on. At the bottom of 7, the Jays were down 3-2.
The bullpen, who has been awesome over the past 14 games, (only allowing 7 runs to scored and pitching to a sub .500 OPS), then came on in the 8th inning. Steve Delabar, who really wasn't that bad, disappointed the 41,610 fans at the dome. Delabar's opening fastball to Texiera was knocked out of the park. Delabar got two outs then, but a single followed by a mishandled fly ball to Johnson (Johnson had it, but the ball bounced off the bill of his cap instead put Yankees at 2nd and 3rd. Ichiro then hit a sharp single off of Delabar's glove and two more runs scored.
The bottom of the 8th was interesting as Gose (who singled) stole 2nd and 3rd. Rajai Davis walked, but Colby Rasmus hit into a double-play to cut short the rally. Gose scored on the double play. The score at the end of 8 was 6-3
The Jays new callup David Carpenter was then brought in for evaluation, and he failed to impress, allowing two more runs to score before leaving the game with the bases loaded. Lincoln came on. Ichiro hit another double (off the glove of Rajai Davis, who just looked terrible on that play), scoring two more and tying his all-time RBI production in a game with 5.
Colby Rasmus left the game at the top of the 9th due to some groin soreness and is listed as day-to-day. His bat will likely be out of the lineup tomorrow.
The Jays now have lost 4 in a row, and it still looks bleaker than bleak.
One bright spot on the Jays has been David Cooper. With Adam Lind out, Cooper, in August (9 games played) is .322 / .343 / .645 for an OPS of .988, a well needed offensive threat. And you can't expect the bullpen to always keep it together. I would say Ricky was another bright spot in the game. He is showing some brilliance again and perhaps his next start at home against the White Sox might fare better.