Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 18: Rangers 2, Jays 1

Jays miss moments to mount comeback - fall short in vilifying Villanueva

While the pitching staff held the Rangers to two runs, Escobar, Rasmus, and Johnson are falling short, really short for the Blue Jays offense.

Villanueva pitched another brilliant outing against the hard-hitting Texas Rangers, holding them to two runs for the second night in a row. After Villanueva faced the minimum after 4 innings, an Adrian Beltre ground rule double (that Gose should have had -- he lost it in the sun) and was followed up by a Nelson Cruz home run. Both hits were due to a 82 mph changeup that Villanueva left up. Villanueva left the game with one on and one out at the top of the 7th. His pitching line was great: 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts over 6 1/3, throwing 86 pitches (58) for strikers.

Aaron Loup, Chad Jenkins, and Darren Oliver pretty much shut down the remainder of the Texas offense as they got one more single in the top of the 8th.

The Jays offense was pretty much as disappointing as usual with many missed opportunities. The Jays offense came in the bottom of the third from the AAA combination of Gose and Hechavarria. Anthony Gose hit a single, stole 2nd, was balked to 3rd, and scored on Hechavarria's first RBI of his major league career, a single to right.

In the bottom of the fourth, Edwin was on second with no one out but couldn't advance as Cooper lined, Yunel flew, and Jeff Mathis struck out.

In the bottom of the fifth, Anthony Gose singled and Hechavarria advanced him to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt. Davis then bunt popped out and Colby popped out.

In the bottom of the sixth, Cooper and Escobar singled with one out. Johnson struck out, but Jeff Mathis reached on a slow single to Kinsler to load the bases for Gose, who struck out after 10 pitches (a great at bat, but was beaten).

And in the bottom of the seventh, the Jays had runners at 1st and 3rd with nobody out (Hechavarria ground rule double, Davis single). Colby then popped out to 3rd base. Edwin was intentionally walked to load the bases. David Cooper flew out to left field, but the ball was not deep enough, and Hech was given the stop sign from Butterfield. And Yunel hit a short fly ball to center to leave the Jays with nothing to show.

The Jays then went 6 up, 6 down to lose the game.

Some positives of the game was Mathis's throw to 2nd to catch a stealing Craig Gentry at the top of the 3rd, and a nice pick off by Loup to catch David Murphy going to 2nd. Hechavarria went 2 for 3.

Major disappointments was Colby Rasmus batting 0 for 5 and is now running an 0-14 streak and is 5-30 with one HR since he came back from his groin injury on August 3. Kelly Johnson is batting 2-20 in his last 7 games. Escobar is battng 3 for 23 in his last 7 games. So, it is the regulars who are now a big part of the problem for the Jays offence. When these three regulars combine to hit one hit per game, it's easy to see why the Jays offense is extra impotent in the last week. Only Edwin (who is 10-25 in the last 7) and Rajai (10 for 35 in his last 8 and 7 stolen bases) have been potent for the veteran Jays.

This is a game that the Jays would probably win with Bautista, Lawrie, Lind, and Arencibia in the lineup -- a tough show for the Jays today, but it shouldn't come as a surprise. Rasmus' bat needs to heat up again, and Brett indeed is due back early next week probably in Detroit although he only went to bat once in today's Gulf Coast game (due to poor field conditions).

Tomorrow's game features Henderson Alvarez vs Matt Harrison in what is sure to be an offensively challenged day yet again for the Blue Jays.

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