Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August 8: Jays 2, Rays 3

DVR Classic as Jays, fans fall asleep at 8pm

Part of the reason that I love summer nights is that although there is nothing to watch on TV (well, there is the Olympics), the Blue Jays are usually on, and the games are pretty entertaining.

But these games are not entertaining, at all, not because the Jays lose, but in the manner that they lose. Tampa's pitching looks great, but the Jays pitching before they reach bullpen is just good. That allows the opposing team to win with less than 5 runs. The offense for the Jays has evaporated. Jose is not getting better. Lind is faultering. Arencibia is out. Lawrie will probably go on the DL. Hope for this team has all but disappeared. But I'll get to that later. Here are the highlights of this one:

The Jays opened the scoring in the top of the 3rd with a sac fly from Edwin to knock in Rajai Davis, who went first to third on a Colby Rasmus single.

Carlos Villanueva then had a minor blowout in the bottom of the third, allowing the first three runners to reach in a double-double-single combination to Jennings, Upton, and Matt Joyce, plating one. Evan Longoria grounded into a nice double play to plate Upton. Then two walks and a single to plate Ben Zobrist. 3-1 Rays after three.

Villanueva then allowed a single, then retired 9 in a row in the the middle frames.

The Jays threatened in the top of the 7th. With a double by Johnston, Farrell elected to bunt Mathis in order to try to score Johnston. But you know, sacrificing an out for a base at this stage in the game, down by 2, doesn't make sense with me. Let Mathis hit away and hope that a single scores the run again. As it turned out, the bunt did move Johnston, but Cobb went ahead and struck out rookie Gose and Hechavarria to wrap up the inning. It was a dumb time to bunt.

Delabar and Lincoln pitched excellently in the 7th and 8th, allowing one hit in the two innings.

The Jays made it interesting in the 9th, as David Cooper bounced a 325 foot home run off the top of the 5 foot wall next to the line in LF. Jennings was there but didn't make a real attempt to catch it. Johnson and Mathis then hit balls in the air to the shortstop to end the game.

The Jays bullpen have pitched extremely well in the last 13 games, including tonight's game. Over 41.1 innings pitched, the bullpen has let in 6 runs for an ERA of 1.41. They sport a BA of .162, an OBP of .256, and a SLG of .223 for an OPS of .479. So, the bullpen has completely righted itself thanks to the AA acquisitions. Unfortunately, the Jays have absolutely no run support and the starters have been decent as well. Now the story for the Jays is the absolute outage at the plate.  

That doesn't mean I'm off the bandwagon - I'm being realistic. I still love this team, and the team has now I think got to focus on its youth. What does that mean?

For one, I think that the Jays need to come home and put the best players out there and try to eke out a series win against the Yankees. Once the fans have gone home from the weekend series, it's time to make some team changes. Maybe I'm being drastic...

First, Bench Rajai Davis and let Moises, Gose, and Rasmus play the outfield on a regular basis, get some ABs, and see how they progress. Rajai can come on and pinch hit or pinch run late in the game. Let Bautista heal. If Rasmus is playing with pain, let Gose play center. It's unlikely that Bautista will be back before September's callups anyway.

Second, I think you need to bench Escobar and put Hechavarria as the regular shortstop. Let the youth play at his natural position and see what he can do. Omar Visquel can finish his career at 3rd base until Lawrie comes back.

Third, leave David Cooper on first and let Edwin DH for the rest of the year.

Fourth, platoon Yan Gomes at catcher and let him learn the ropes at the MLB position.

Don't rush Brandon Morrow back to the majors. Let JA Happ pitch. Let Jenkins start. End Alvarez's year before he pitches too many innings and wears out his arm.

For the Jays fandoms, look for alot of losses, and the Jays will probably running 20-30 until the end of the season and finishing with 72-74 wins. But you know, that playing experience for the junior Jays will mean alot.

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