The Blue Jays (25-18) toyed with an early lead in each of a pair of contests against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field, only the second time it came back to burn them. After nearly coughing up a 3-0 lead en route to a 3-2 win in the “series” opener on Wednesday, Kevin Gregg could not hold a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning of yesterday’s game and suffered his second blown save of the season in a 4-3 loss.
A perplexing offence
Either the Blue Jays are currently benefitting from a strange offensive trend that likely won’t continue, or they have agreed as a team to forego singles in favour of extra-base hits and long balls. To laud Toronto’s offence might be overstating things, considering they only managed 11 hits in two games against the Mariners and currently rank 22nd in the league in hits (355) and 25th in team average (.242). Yet they continue to get it done where it counts – in the runs scoring department. The team currently sits sixth in the league with 218 runs, thanks largely to a league-leading 674 total bases stemming from a surprising collection of power bats. Hey, whatever works!
Hurt by free passes
It was Ken Griffey Jr. in the spotlight yesterday with his walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth, but he would not have been in that position if not for a pair of ill-timed base on balls during the game. Ricky Romero walked Josh Bard in the third before seeing him come around to score. Gregg let control problems get the best of him in the ninth when he allowed walks to Milton Bradley and Casey Kotchman, the second of which came with the bases loaded.
There’s no ‘O’ in Seattle Mariners
Yes, they strung together a few runs to triumph yesterday, but one look through the M’s line-up makes it pretty clear how they rank last in the AL in runs scored. Those who predicted them to be a surprise team this season with a two-headed rotation monster of Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee clearly hadn’t taken a close enough look at their hitters. Aside from the always-dangerous Ichiro Suzuki, Chone Figgins finds himself below the Mendoza Line and Franklin Gutierrez and Mike Sweeney aren’t striking fear into anyone as the 3-4 hitters.
So long, Randy
The release of Randy Ruiz probably isn’t worth much ink as far as newsworthiness is concerned, but it is a curious decision given positional depth. The Jays are now left with no viable back-up to struggling first baseman Lyle Overbay. It remains to be seen which positional player among Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and, maybe, Jeremy Reed will see time at first.
It’s interleague time, as the Blue Jays make just their second visit to Arizona (18-24) in franchise history. Dan Haren gets the call for the Diamondbacks in the opener, while Brandon Morrow will be seeking his first career hit (granted, he’s only had three at-bats) as he goes to the mound for the Jays.
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Written by Ben Fisher