Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22: Jays 2, Tigers 3

Laffey has best outing, defence, Jays offense lacking

Aaron Laffey, in his 11th start as the Jays #2 starter, was looking for his second quality start in a row after being touched up by the Yankees, White Sox, and Oakland. He pitched wonderfully but his defense really let him down tonight.

Laffey pitched to the mininum through 13 batters, fooling the Detroit offence, keeping the ball down with only one fly ball out. Then, Omar Infante hit a verifiable double into the gap in left-centre. Davis bobbled the ball and this allowed Infante to stretch the double into a triple. Laffey then pitched a couple of wild pitches to the newly minted Blue Jay catcher Torrealba, and on the second one Infante scored.

Then in the bottom of the fifth, a Delmon Young single and a hit-and-run out put Delmon into scoring position. A solid Jeff Baker single to right put the ball into Moises Sierra's hands with Delmon rounding third. Unfortunately, Moises airmailed the ball about 30 feet left of home, and Delmon easily scored. If that throw would have been anywhere near the plate, Delmon would have been dead to rights.

And in the bottom of the sixth, Hechavarria, playing short, bobbled a ball, allowing Austin Jackson to reach. A sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk put Jackson and Cabrera at 2nd and 1st with one out. Fielder than singled, and Rajai got the ball with time to throw out Jackson who was running home. The ball did get there in time even though Rajai threw the ball short. The umpire did call Jackson out, but Mathis (who was now catching as Torrealba was forced to play 1st when Cooper hurt his neck diving back to first on a tagup) dropped the ball.

So, though Laffey pitched great, the defense let him down on three separate plays, and it cost him the game.

Laffey's line was 6 innings + one batter, 5 hits, 2 ER (3R), over 90 pitches (51 strikes), striking out 2 and walking 3. But really, perhaps one run of three should have scored. Laffey, for the most part kept his composure and pitched well.

The Jays offense on the other hand featured a missing Escobar (who is now a proud father) whose offense won't be missed (in his last 21 games he his hitting to an OPS of .457 and a sub .200 batting average) and an infield of McCoy - Hechavarria - Johnson - Cooper (replaced by Torrealba). It was good to see Torrealba playing and perhaps he can absolutely platoon with Mathis until Arencibia returns.

The Jays threatened in the 2nd with a double by Sierra and a walk to Torrealba with one out but Johnson nor McCoy could not cash Sierra in. The Detroit defense allowed Toronto to score a run in the 6th as the Rajai Davis show (walk, stolen base, pickoff attempt airmailed to centerfield) was on. Edwin cashed Davis and advanced to 2nd on a fielding error, but Mathis and Sierra couldn't score Encarnacion.

Hechavarria then RBId (a sacrifice fly) in Torreabla who singled to lead off the 7th and advanced to third on a McCoy single. McCoy then stole 2nd base. Rajai couldn't cash in McCoy.

The Jays threatened again in the 8th with an Encarnacion walk and a Moises Sierra single putting runners on first and second with two out, but Torrealba flied out.

And finally, an Omar Visquel single with two out in the top of the ninth with a faint home and Rajai Davis out. But the Jays sent Omar to steal second and he was caught. A steal of course is a play in desparation but probably not a bad call. Omar has stolen 3 bags and never got caught, and the throw was absolutely perfect. Still, you gotta scratch your head.

Colby and Kelly Johnson went 0 - 4 as Colby continues his hitless streak to 0-26. Colby looked absolutely fooled tonight and couldn't pick up pitches, striking out swinging 3 times, not even coming close to some pitches in the Sanchez 5 hit gem.

The Jays are in very tough against Verlander, who isn't perfect. Let's hope JA Happ can rise to the challenge and the offense wakes up later.

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