Sunday, August 5, 2012

August 5: Jays 6, Oakland 5

Jays remember that they can win, earn happy plane ride to Tampa

To win games against the tough pitching Athletics, John Farrell's Jays realized that they had to manufacture runs. With Laffey on the mound with a tough start against Seattle, the Jays would probably be in tough against Oakland today, but with Milone on the mound who has been struggling over his past few starts, the Jays had a chance. And with the near comeback on Thursday, the extra-inning heartbreaker on Friday, and the extra inning win on Saturday, you could see the confidence in the new Blue Jays, short Lawrie, Rasmus, Bautista, Lind, Arencibia, and Snider slowly return.

As well, through the trades, the Jays have learned that they can count on their bullpen again, with the addition of Brad Lincoln and Stever Delabar and the promotion of Aaron Loup, the Jays starting pitcher just has to keep it close and let the bats try to get to work.

The Jays started it off as aggressive as you can get with a Davis double. On the next play, with Davis running on the pitch, Gose laid down a bunt down the 3rd baseline which was fielded by the catcher. Rajai kept on running and beat out the throw home to take a 1-0 lead.

Laffey had a shaky 2nd, with a combination of single-double for Oakland to tie the game. The third was even more shaky, as Laffey left a fastball up and in, right into Reddick's wheelhouse, yielding a 3 run home run, to be behind 4-1 after 3.

But the Jays closed the gap right away as Edwin found his power stroke again and belted a 2 run homer in the top of the fourth, then had some luck in the 5th inning with two out. Rajai Davis popped up a pretty routine fly ball to short, but Rosales lost the ball in the sun, allowing Davis to reach. The Jays capitalized as Gose (with his second hit in a row) double Rajai to third, and Edwin loaded the bases with an intentional pass. Yunel then hit a two run single to put the Jays out in front 5-4. Kelly Johnson then hit a single to plate Edwin. The Jays ended the top of the 5th up 6-4.

Laffey ended up pitching 6, giving up 6 runs, 4 runs (all earned), throwing 95 pitches, 67 of them strikes -- a decent outing. Brandon Lyon came on in the 7th and gave up a run on a double-double combination, striking out the side. With a 1 run lead, Loup and Delabar pitched the 8th and KC Janssen closed out the game, with Loup and Janssen each giving up a walk.

So, the Jays end up splitting the series with Oakland.

A few things happened with the roster behind the scenes. Chavez was sent back down and Chad Jenkins was called up from AA New Hampshire. Chad Jenkins, 25, over two years with the Fisher-Cats, is 10-16 with 36 starts with an ERA around 4.5 and WHIP around 1.4. He is a starter, but I am thinking that his role is a long reliever to replace Chavez. Villanueva, scheduled to start on Tuesday has a personal issue, so we will see JA Happ pitch against Tampa on Tuesday. There is setback with Bautista who felt more discomfort in his hands while swinging, which means that he'll need to rest his hands more and have rehab starts before he is back. Frasor is slowly working towards his return.

And finally, Farrell expects to see Lawrie and Rasmus playing in Tampa on Tuesday. Hechavarria will remain with the team.

For the hopelessly optimistic, the Jays are 5 back of the last wild card spot (Oakland) with 54 to play. At this point in time the wild card winner will have 88 wins. The Jays will need to pass (and have better records) Boston, Tampa, Baltimore, the Angels, and one of Detroit or Oakland to make the playoffs. That means the Jays will have to go 35-19 and pass 5 teams to make the wild card.

The Jays will face Shields, Cobb, and Matt Moore during the three game series. Matt Moore is running a streak of 17 scoreless innings, while Alex Cobb has had 2 good starts. I am thinking that the Jays will take 1 of 3 and it would be great to see them take 2 of three to have a fairly successful road trip.

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