Today marks the official middle of the season for the Toronto Blue Jays. Eighty-one games in, the team has managed to remain in contention for the new second wild card, while dealing with well documented injuries to their pitching. And while they aren’t the only team to have injuries affect their starting rotation or bullpen, there is no team in either league that had to deal with so many pitchers going down in such a short amount of time. Where other teams had to reshuffle to replace one guy at a time, the Jays had to make up for three starters, an over-taxed bullpen and call-ups that just weren’t as effective as needed.
Luckily for the team, the well touted offense decided to start clicking just in time to support the team until the pitching got back to slightly more solid ground.
Game two against the Kansas City Royals was Brett Cecil’s fourth start since being re-called from Double A New Hampshire. After seeing ace Ricky Romero struggle in the loss the night before, Cecil knew he needed to focus on pitch execution and shutting down any developing big innings. Having his (for-the-moment) personal catcher Jeff Mathis guide him through the Royals’ lineup helped Cecil last one batter into the seventh inning, having allowed three runs on five hits, with three strikeouts and one walk. Cecil not only kept the Royals off the bases, but he allowed manager John Farrell to use his rested veteran relievers to finish out the win. Jason Frasor and Darren Oliver both pitched an inning, with Casey Janssen coming in to get his 10th save in 10 tries since being named the team’s closer in early May.
Adam Lind hit his third homerun since his return to the big club last week, knocking in three runs to top the Jays’ six-run bottom of the fourth. Both Colby Rasmus and Kelly Johnson laid down bunt singles to third during the game, taking advantage of how deep Royals’ third baseman Mike Moustakas was playing.
Although many watching the Jays would have believed they’d be more than one game over .500 at this point in the season, the team has showed time and again its resilience and adaptability in the different situations Toronto has faced so far this season. Granted there have been games that slipped away or ones that were given away, but the fact that the Jays’ are still well in contention bodes well for the second half of the season, when some of their injured players will be back.
The third game of the series is set for Wednesday night, with first pitch set for 7:07pm. Carlos Villanueva (2-0) will make his second start for Toronto since coming out of the bullpen. Luis Mendoza (3-4) will take the mound for the Royals.
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.