Mission ’13, Game 50: Jays win 6-5

It falls to Chad Jenkins to keep the Jays from falling even further behind. Despite scoring 21 runs in the first three games of the series, the Jays are in danger of losing three of four against a divisional rival that came into town struggling.

Melky’s May Meter


30 hits

Melky had a slow day. He was 0-3, occasionally with runners on base, but he did have a pair of walks. He continues to get on base regularly. As the Jays’ season is going, he’s the perfect lead off hitter:he’s hitting and walking his way in base, but he’s playing with hurtin’ hammies. This limits his effectiveness on the base paths, but the Jays are scoring regularly with him at the top of the order. Why mess with success, even if the success is relative to their disastrous April?

Jenkins was in and out of trouble but settled in nicely, giving up 2 earned runs in 5 IP. He was helped by his defense on several occasions, as he should be. The Orioles threatened regularly, but Jenkins continued to work out of difficulties despite not having his best stuff. He gave the Jays a decent start, and also gave his teammates every opportunity to get back into the game.

His opponent on the mound, Miguel Gonzalez, is the latest Cy Young candidate to face the Jays. Gonzalez has talent enough, but he’s nothing special (4.48 career FIP). That he shut down the Jays through 5 innings is nothing special, though. The woefully-inconsistent Jays have made a number of mediocre-to-poor pitchers look pretty good this season.

Recent waiver-wire pick-up Thad Weber relieved Jenkins and gave up a screaming double into the right-center alley to the first batter he faced. He recorded an out before a walk and a single loaded the bases. Manny Machado hitting into a 6-4-3 DP was fortuitous, but welcome all the same.

Aaron Loup relieved Thad Weber and promptly ensured that Adam Jones homered again, making the score 3-1. As with Jones’s homer against Dickey, this one is likely to be meaningful. Adam Jones was 6-17, with a single, double, and 4 solo home runs in the series. The Jays’ inability to get the Orioles big hitters out on a regular basis was part of their undoing.

The Jays struggled in their 3 at bats today with the bases loaded. In a close game, the Jays popped out, grounded to first, and grounded back to the pitcher. In the first 2 instances, Lind and Melky swung at the first pitch they saw. Miguel Gonzalez and Tommy Hunter encapsulate their difficulties today. The Jays did nothing substantial against Gonzalez, who pitched okay. Tommy Hunter was a different story, though. He gave up four hits and a walk in 1.1 IP, but only one run. The O’s lead 3-2.

Steve Delabar, relieving Aaron Loup, loaded the bases in the top of the ninth immediately after the Jays scored one to get within one. JJ Hardy popped out on the first pitch but Wieters doubled into the right field corner to extend the led to 5-2. This is yet another issue for the Jays: their inability to hold a game close. All-too-often they give up the back-breaking run or hit.

A ninth-inning rally by the Jays produced a heated exchange between John Gibbons and Brett Lawrie. Lawrie swung at the first pitch he saw to record th first out of the inning with runners on the corners and a run in already. Lawrie was obviously miffed at 3B coach Luis Rivera for not sending Adam Lind to the plate. That’s right, Adam Lind. Markakis would have thrown him out easily. Following Lawrie’s poor AB (and poor attitude), Gose walked to load the bases for the third time in 3 innings. Mark DeRosa grounded to short for a fielder’s choice, making it 5-4. A hard slide by Gose made a DP difficult. Incredibly, a Kawasaki liner into the gap in left-center plated two runs for the win.

This is a good Orioles’ team. They hit well, they field well, they pitch well, and they’re well managed. Any thought of overtaking a team that exceeds the Jays’ level of play by this much, is a thought that is both misguided and misplaced. The Jays’ brief hot streak is alive, but barely, as the Jays are 11-12 this month.

I imposed an end-of-May turnaround timetable for the Jays this year. It’s a long season, but their improvements have been slow. What value does my self-imposed timetable actually have? Not much, I suppose, but it’s based on several considerations. First, they’re about one-third of the way through the season: April-May are almost done; June-Sept remain. Second, they’ve dug themselves a deep hole. After today’s game, they’re 8 games below .500. Getting into the playoffs is likely to require at least 90 wins. They need 69 wins in their remaining 112 games to reach 90 wins. As much as I want it to happen, going 69-43 is highly unlikely. Third, the top 3 teams in the division—NY, BOS, and BAL—all beat the Jays like a drum. Fourth, coming into today those same 3 teams are on pace for 101, 97, and 89 wins, respectively.

They have 5 more games this month against 2 teams with better records. They play a 4-game series against Atlanta at The Rog starting tomorrow. Atlanta is currently a .500+ team on the road, meaning the Jays are in tough. The San Diego Padres, who are a sub-.500 team, follow the Braves into town or a 3-game set. The Jays have their work cut out for them in more ways than one.

Wes Kepstro


9 Responses to “Mission ’13, Game 50: Jays win 6-5”

  1. 1 Kyle February 4, 2014 at 7:40 am

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  2. 2 @ALEastbound May 26, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    What a game. I went to the range as I was fed up and the weather was nice and I came home to see a 6-5 boxscore?? Mune with a walk-off 2-run double??!

    • 3 Wes Kepstro May 26, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      They just won’t let me throw in the towel on the season. This team is one thing that I didn’t expect at all: they’re scrappy.

      • 4 @ALEastbound May 26, 2013 at 6:28 pm

        They have been a cruel cruel mistress this year…

      • 5 Wes Kepstro May 26, 2013 at 6:37 pm

        I made a mistake earlier this year. Because of his good ABs, I believed Kawasaki would make a good 1-2 hitter. He’s actually the perfect #9 hitter.

        So, here’s the question: what do you do with him when Jose Reyes returns? He’s arguably more valuable than Izturis, but less valuable than Bonifacio. Can he play 2B?

      • 6 @ALEastbound May 26, 2013 at 7:03 pm

        I think Boni has to be the 4th OFer and Mune sticks as a utility guy. I like his approach so maybe the 2B? Even though his BA and SLG will never be great he is a guy who WORKS the pitcher. You’re right, the #9 batter is almost a perfect spot.

      • 7 Vlad May 26, 2013 at 7:09 pm

        Before Reyes comes back, I wouldn’t mind seeing Kawasaki get a start or 2 at second base. He played there a few games last year for the Mariners.

      • 8 @ALEastbound May 26, 2013 at 7:11 pm

        I think they’d at least give him a look (at 2b). We need to lose the high K% guys littered through the lineup.

      • 9 Wes Kepstro May 26, 2013 at 9:08 pm

        I like the idea of putting him at 2B for a couple of games, just to see how it goes. A couple of things, though. I looked at Munenori’s NPB record and he has no history of utility play (0 games at 2B).

        The other thing that I discovered is that from ’07-’11, the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks middle infield was Munenori Kawasaki and Yuichi Honda. They had a teammate who worked out of the ‘pen named Justin Germano. You can’t make this stuff up.

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