Mission ’13, Game 45: Rays win 4-3

There have been a lot of rumblings around Blue Jay sites that Ramon Ortiz will only be so effective for so long, and that tonight will be the start of his slide. There’s some wisdom to the thought process, of course: he’s a retread who’s filling a gap. But the flip side of the coin is that there’s no way that anyone knows whether he’ll be mostly ineffective, or whether he will provide the same sort of innings-eating, veteran presence that Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon have given their teams for the last several years.

Perhaps those people are more intuitive than the average bear. Ramon Ortiz was ineffective against the Rays, who took advantage of Ortiz’s inability to locate his pitches to jump out to an early lead. Ortiz was relieved after 2.1 IP in which he gave up 6 hits and a walk. Two of those hits were home runs (Kelly Johnson; Desmond Jennings).

Alex Cobb, on the other hand, was very effective. Yet another of the seemingly inexhaustible stable of good young pitchers that the Rays trot out regularly, Cobb put his value on display in this game. He gave up a long, loud home run to Colby Rasmus, but only two other hits and two walks in 6.1 IP.

The Jays had heir opportunity against the Rays’ ‘pen in the 8th but, after loading the bases, Edwin struck out and JP Arencibia hit into a DP on the first pitch he saw. The set-up was eerily similar to their recent comeback win against Rodney and the Rays, but it was not to be repeated tonight. A wild pitch by Rodney in the 9th inning scored Colby Rasmus after Rasmus doubled and took 3rd on a ground out, making the final score 4-3.

Here’s something that I’ve been wanting to look into this season. The following table shows the offensive performance by former Jays against their old team this season:

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

K

R. Roberts

10

1

3

1

0

0

1

2

1

K. Johnson

19

6

8

2

0

2

4

1

5

Y. Escobar

21

3

4

0

0

2

3

0

0

V. Wells

37

5

12

0

0

3

6

1

4

L. Overbay

29

3

8

1

1

2

5

1

4

A. Rios

14

2

4

1

0

1

1

2

2

M. Scutaro

8

2

4

0

0

0

0

1

1

J. Molina

10

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

J. Nix

26

4

7

0

0

0

2

4

7

M. Napoli

38

9

10

4

0

5

12

2

15

Totals

212

40

60

9

1

15

34

15

36

This info was gleaned from www.baseball-reference.com

One sac fly and two HBP gives former Jays a .288/.335/.547 slash line against their old club this season. Mike Napoli is a little bit of a stretch to call a ‘former Blue Jay’ but his rights did belong to the club,albeit briefly. Undoubtedly I’ve forgotten some players but this is indicative. It’s surprising. Pay special attention to the number of at bats. In many cases, the AL East players have at least twice as many ABs against the Jays than they have against anyone else, including other AL East clubs.

Not all was lost tonight, though. John Gibbons’ early hook for Ramon Ortiz was a good move, allowing the Jays to stay close and get into the Rays’ ‘pen. To his credit, Ortiz stayed in the dugout with his teammates. Loup, Delabar, and Cecil pitched very well in relief.

The defense was also terrific. Ortiz (2.1 IP, 6 H, 1 BB) and, to a lesser extent, the ‘pen (6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 BB) put runners on base but the Jays turned a season-high 4 DPs to hold the Rays to 4 runs and give themselves a chance to get back into the game.

The Jays and Rays wrap up the series Wednesday afternoon: this time the Jays are looking to win the series. Game time is 4 pm.

Wes Kepstro

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