After winning their first four games against AL East opposition, the Blue Jays (10-12) have now dropped their past five, including three tough home losses to the Red Sox. With the three losses at home, the Jays are just 4-9 at Rogers Centre this year. Fortunately, no one’s been there to witness their poor showing.
- The bullpen is getting the bulk of the blame for the team’s recent woes in spite of strong starting pitching, but Toronto’s hot-and-cold offence isn’t exactly getting the job done either. Setting aside Monday night’s slugfest, the Jays have collected just one run and 13 hits over the past three games. The team’s offence has the potential to be potent, as evidenced by Monday’s 13-12 loss in which they shelled Josh Beckett for eight runs over 3.0 innings, but they’ve too often been confounded by opposing starters with a wide array of pitches, such as Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester.
- Poor Shaun Marcum. It isn’t easy to pitch as well as he has – 34.0 innings pitched and a 3.44 ERA through five starts – without recording a single win. In fact, he is the only winless starter among the MLB’s top 10 in innings pitched. The lack of support he’s received continued on Saturday, when the same Jays team that had collected 12 runs the previous day could not help Marcum out even as he pitched seven innings while allowing only one run and four hits. One inning later, Scott Downs coughed up what would be the winning run in a 2-1 loss.
- Speaking of hard-luck starts to the season, it appears that 2010 hasn’t been much better than 2009 was to Jeremy Accardo. After a tumultuous year which included a wedding cancelled at the last minute and a surprising July demotion in favour of Josh Roenicke, things were looking up for the reliever when he made the team out of training camp. However, an awful start to the 2010 campaign (0-1 with an 8.10 ERA) has led to yet another demotion in favour of Roenicke, although this one he should have seen coming. Rommie Lewis was also called up for his big league debut (a one-inning appearance yesterday in which he allowed one hit and struck out Mike Lowell), while Merkin Valdez was sent down.
- So what was the deal with that 12-run outburst (albeit in a losing effort) on Monday? Beckett deserves much of the ‘credit’ for having next to no movement on his pitches while perplexingly leaving the ball high in the strike zone, but it goes to show how getting on base and scoring runs can be contagious. Each of the first five guys in the Jays’ line-up on Monday – Fred Lewis, Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay – got on base and scored at least twice.
- The only guy in the Jays’ line-up who failed to get a hit on Monday? Travis Snider, whom the team had hoped to see a breakthrough from now that he’s been given a full-time starting gig. While no one with the team will admit to it, you have to figure they are concerned by a tough start that has seen him hit .125, manage just two home runs through 64 at-bats and incur twice as many strikeouts (17) as hits (8).
The homestand continues (whether the Jays want it to or not), with the Oakland A’s (12-10) coming to town for a four-game set. Ricky Romero goes to the hill tonight against A’s ace Justin Duchscherer.
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Written by Ben Fisher