Good pitching beats good hitting.
That’s the best way to describe what happened to the Blue Jays on Tuesday night against the Oakland Athletics. After setting a season high in hits on Sunday with 18, the Jays were held to two runs on eight hits. Oakland starter Trevor Blackley put in a strong seven innings, giving a good example of why the A’s have found ways to win of late; their pitching.
Toronto knew coming into the series that the Oakland pitching would be quite the matchup against their offence. The Jays’ only runs of the game came from solo shots by Travis Snider in the third and J.P. Arencibia in the ninth. For Snider it was his second homerun in four games, both of which have been hit off of left-handed pitchers. His production and defense so far bode well for his staying with the big club, much to many fans’ delight.
Brett Cecil put in a solid performance going six innings. He gave up five hits, two earned runs and struck out a season high eight batters, while only walking one. Cecil’s command down in the zone got better as the game went on, with his only mistake being the pitch A’s catcher Derek Norris hit for a two run shot in the second.
The biggest issue in the game for the Jays’ was the middle inning relief. Both Chad Beck and J.A. Happ were unable to keep Oakland from scoring, giving up two and three runs, respectively.
It’s been a difficult area for the team all season. For most of the past two months, pitching after the starter left was problematic because the bullpen staff had been so overtaxed and the team was having difficulty finding effective arms. Now, as the rotation seems to have settled, the bullpen rested post-All-Star break and a bolstering shot of arms (via trade and call-up), the problem seems to be the lack of a shut-down kind of guy. With Jason Frasor on the DL, manager John Farrell has to find another way to get to Darren Oliver in the eighth.
As long as the Jays can continue playing solid defense, have their starters make quality starts and have the offence clicking (for the most part), there’s a good chance the team can remain in contention until Jose Bautista and Brandon Morrow come back. It could be a long shot, especially with the bullpen issues, but it’s no impossible.
Ricky Romero will take the mound on Wednesday and try again to find his elusive fastball control. First pitch is 7:07pm EST. A.J. Griffin is scheduled to pitch for the Athletics.
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.