In the past two weeks, pitching has been the undercurrent and backing theme to everything the Jays do. While Toronto has gone through plans A, B, C and D when it comes to their pitching staff this season, what’s left is a patchwork attempt at getting guys to eat up innings, while hopefully giving the offense a chance to win the game. Luckily enough, the Jays’ batters have stepped up and carried the team to a 6-4 record over their last ten games, including the loss to the Red Sox on Tuesday night.
Aaron Laffey was impressive in his first start this season for the Jays, and his first in the majors since 2010. In six innings, he walked two, struck out two and gave up three hits. He managed two keep a potent Boston lineup quiet and allowed the Jays to ride the run scored by Brett Lawrie in the first inning to stand as the only score until the bottom of the seventh.
Unfortunately, the five members of the bullpen that followed Laffey weren’t able to hold the Red Sox down for the last three innings of the game. Jarrod Saltalamacchia tied the game with a solo homerun to the Green Monster seats in the bottom of the seventh off Jason Frasor. Boston would score two more in that inning add two more runs in the bottom of the eighth. The Jays went in order in the top of the ninth as Red Sox reliever Alfredo Aceves got a fly-out and two pop-outs.
Tuesday night’s game was a good example of why team play nine innings, or at least eight and a half. Fortunes can change with every pitch or swing of the bat. The game story for the first six innings would be all about the effectiveness of the Jays’ pitching and that they’ve managed to play so well amidst the issues facing their pitching depth. The latter part of the game story would focus on the reality of a pitching staff; they’ve been taxed, the offensive showing has covered their ineffectiveness, and what once could have been a great strength for the Jays, now wavers at being a daily liability.
The Jays find themselves between a rock and a hard place in terms of the injuries and thinning depth of their pitching. If you’re general manager Alex Anthopoulos or his staff, how much of the organization’s future do you mortgage to fix the problems now? How much of what you’ve built over the past two and a half years, in terms of overall depth, can you afford to part with to help the team now?
In truth, those questions plagued Anthopoulos’ before three of his five starters went down, and realistically, before the 2012 season even began. There’s no easy, overnight answer and meanwhile, the daily baseball schedule continues as the Jays’ try to make the best of what they’ve got.
About the Author
Written by Amanda Tallon
Self-professed baseball nerd, blogger, writer, tweeter, learning addict and once colour commentator. Celebrating over twenty years of love with the Toronto Blue Jays and the beautiful game of baseball. I also contribute to thegalsgotgame.com, a sports website for business women by women.