For the Blue Jays (40-36), interleague play came to its merciful conclusion for another year. Against Roy Halladay and the Phillies, the team’s homer-happy offence was exposed and Toronto found itself on the wrong end of a pair of nine-run losses. A strong outing by Shaun Marcum in Saturday’s 5-1 win salvaged an otherwise miserable G-20 “home” series.
There go the bats
It was bound to catch up to them eventually. Heck, not even teams with real power hitters (no, Alex Gonzalez, Jose Bautista and John Buck don’t count) can rely solely on the long ball. And yet, that’s exactly what has helped Toronto out to its surprising start, a run that may be on its last legs. The Jays still lead the majors in home runs by a large margin (115, compared to Boston’s second place total of 103), but that is of little consolation to a team that ranks 27th in hits, 28th in average and on-base percentage and find themselves fading quickly in the standings. The all-or-nothing approach proved to be the Jays’ undoing on Friday night, as Buck struck out while swinging for the fences with one out and runners on second and third in the bottom of the fifth of what went on to be a 9-0 loss.
Providing a cure for Doc?
Leading into his much-hyped Friday start against his former club, Halladay said all the right things about it being just like any other start. But you have to wonder whether there was a little more to it, especially in light of his seven scoreless innings against the Blue Birds in which he surrendered just six hits. To Jays fans, it simply looked like the ol’ Doc, but it was a Halladay who was coming off three losses and a pair of outings in which he allowed 19 combined hits. Whether or not facing Toronto meant anything to the team’s long-time ace, his first start against them may have helped him find his groove again. You’re welcome, Roy.
You know things aren’t going your way when the errors start piling up, and that is precisely what happened in Sunday’s 11-2 loss at the hands of Jamie Moyer and the Phillies. The typically sure-handed Jays infield struggled to make routine plays, with strong defenders Aaron Hill (two errors) and Gonzalez (one error) the main culprits in a four-error effort. Would Toronto have won without the miscues, which accounted for just two runs? Probably not, but it’s the sign of a team that has gotten untracked and needs to refocus.
Not exactly home sweet home
Perhaps I was naive for hoping that the game ops folks in Philadelphia would be willing to offer up some small gesture as a token of the three-game series at Citizen’s Bank Park officially being a Toronto home series. The home unis and walk-up music for Jays hitters was nice, but was the ‘dancing Mountie’ graphic really necessary? Seemed like a needless dig to me, especially while some of those RCMP officers were busy protecting their President.
For the record
Through 14 seasons of interleague play, the Blue Jays now own a 115-132 (.466) record after this season’s 7-11 campaign. They are one of just five AL teams (along with the Rays, Royals, Orioles and Indians) that boast a sub-.500 record against the National League since the junior and senior circuits began doing regular season battle in 1997.
The team will wrap up June and start July with a four-game set in Cleveland against theTribe. In the opener, Ricky Romero will be hoping for some run support as he takes to the mound against the Indians’ Jake Westbrook.
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Written by Ben Fisher