The Jays’ first two games of the second half really have been a tale of two teams; one with solid pitching, but no offense, and one with explosive offense and considerably shaky pitching.
On Friday night, Ricky Romero showed that he’s getting a lot closer to being the Romero of old. Although be missed up in the strike zone more than a handful of times, his only mistake was the lone run of the game, a homerun to Travis Hafner in the top of the second. The offense, meanwhile, couldn’t help Romero out, only mustering five hits against Cleveland pitching and leaving four men on base.
Flip to Saturday and Toronto’s hitters showed why they were considered to be a force to be reckoned with heading into the 2012 season. Adam Lind started the scoring in the bottom of the first, taking Ubaldo Jimenez deep to right field for a two run double. The Jays would then send 13 men to the plate in the bottom of the third, scoring a season high eight runs in an inning. Edwin Encarnacion and Yunel Escobar both homered in the inning that saw the Jays get eight hits and two walks. The Jays would score another run in the fifth inning on Encarnacion’s second homerun of the day and 25th of the season. The solo is probably the most impressive homerun hit by a Toronto batter this season, as it landed in Sightlines restaurant in right-centre field, more than 400ft away from home plate.
Toronto starter Aaron Laffey wasn’t the sharpest on the mound, especially after his team staked him to a 10-2 lead, but he managed to pitch five innings, while only giving up four earned runs on eight hits. Recent call-up Aaron Loup made his major league debut, throwing two three-up-three-down innings. Jesse Chavez and Drew Carpenter were unable to hold the Indians down in the eighth inning, as both pitchers combined for five earned runs, forcing manager John Farrell to bring in closer Casey Janssen. Janssen managed to get the final four outs of the game to get his 13th save and bring the Jays’ back to .500.
Sunday’s rubber match will be an important game for Toronto, as after they head out to play in New York, for the first time this season, followed by a weekend series in Boston. These will be the first of over 40 games the Jays have left to play in the AL East before the end of the season. It would be a much different picture heading on the road a game over .500, instead of a game under. The trouble is there’s no way of knowing which version of the Jays will show up to the park; pitching or hitting.
Game time on Sunday is set for 1:07pm. Carlos Villanueva looks to win the series for the Jays, as Derek Lowe will try to win in for the Tribe.
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.