Mission ’13, Game 76: Rays win 5-1

The streak is over and the question is, ‘how good are the real Blue Jays?’ They were 10-21 on May 4 and 38-36 on June 24. Jose Reyes will be activated for game 3 of this series, meaning the Jays will be getting an All Star calibre player back at the top of the line up and in the middle infield. The pitching is better, but still not where it needs to be to navigate the troubled waters of the AL East. The defense is better, and is good enough to carry them through the rest of the season. The offense, while sputtering lately, is plenty good enough: it’s as good as everyone believed it would be. One thing is for sure: we all know that this team is capable of stinking up the joint for a stretch, but we also know that they’re capable of a long win streak. Time will tell, but patience isn’t very fun.

Chasing the 1930 Phillies

Game 76

PHI 27-49

TOR 38-38

The 1930 Philies played an ugly one against Burleigh Grimes and the St. Louis Cardinals in game 76. “Ol’ Stubblebeard” pitched just well enough to win in a game marred by errors and unearned runs. Right fielder Ray Blades made 2 errors for the Cards, leading to a pair of unearned runs. Monk Sherlock tightened up the middle infield but back-up catcher Tony Rensa also made 2 errors for the Phillies, leading to 3 unearned runs. Snipe Hansen’s 5 walks and 9 hits in 6.2 IP didn’t help the Phillies cause much, as they lost their fifth straight game, 7-6. It’s interesting to note that the only batter in the Cards’ line up hitting below .300 were “Sunny” Jim Bottomley and Burleigh Grimes, the starting pitcher. Lefty O’Doul (.408) and Chuck Klein (.398) both had a pair of hits as they continued to flirt with the .400 mark.  Check the boxscore here.

The Jays and Rays traded runs early in the game, as both pitchers struggled a little. Both teams continue to put runners on base. Has anyone else noticed how often Colby Rasmus and JP Arencibia have walked lately? The team as a whole is taking more pitches and showing greater patience at the plate, but it’s especially noticeable with the guys who usually have more trouble making contact or drawing walks. Rasmus and JPA are at the top of that particular list.

The pitchers did just enough to ensure that the game didn’t turn into a slugfest. The Jays loaded the bases in the 3rd inning, only to have Matt Moore strike out Rajai and Rasmus. Mark Buehrle put runners on the corners, but induced a pop up to 2B by James Loney. The pitchers combined to give up 7 hits and 7 walks through 3 innings, but the score was 1-1. Which pitcher will get into a groove first?

Unfortunately for the Jays, Buehrle got into a rut then got run over by a lumber truck. The Rays scored 3 runs on 1 hit, a HBP, an IBB, and a pair of sac flies to take the lead. It wasn’t pretty but it was effective. It might be all the Rays need to hold off the Jays and their faltering offense.

The Jays came completely unglued at the plate tonight. Matt Moore didn’t pitch well. Jose Molina called the pitch, set up behind the plate, positioned his glove, and Moore rarely came close to hitting it. Yet the Jays kept swinging, sometimes wildly. Colby Rasmus struck out on a curve ball that bounced several feet in front of the plate. Ironically, it was one of the few times that the pitch went right into the glove—a ‘curve ball bounce’ put a twist on it and Molina didn’t need to move his glove. This team looks alarmingly like the April Jays. They were undisciplined at the plate. Despite drawing 6 walks, they struck out 11 times against Moore.

Neil Wagner relieved the mostly-ineffective Mark Buehrle in the 6th inning. Moore struggled but always had the mid-90s heater to get him out of jams. Buehrle had no such go-to pitch. In 5 IP, he threw 99 pitches, walking four and giving up 8 hits. Pitch-to-contact guys and the AL East: it’s a recipe for __________ (1) success, (2) disaster, (3) jumbalaya.

Brett Cecil relieved Wagner in the 7th inning and had his worst outing in a month and a half. For the first time since May 10 against BOS, Cecil gave up more than one hit in an inning. A swinging bunt by Kelly Johnson scored a run to put the Rays ahead 5-1.

The Jays are now in danger of being swept. Two of the three pitchers who made surprising contributions to the win streak, Esmil Rogers and Chien-ming Wang, still pitch for the Jays.  Game 3 starter RA Dickey is still struggling to find consistency, too.  We saw what Rogers offered; we still don’t know what to expect from Wang (or Rogers, for that matter) on a game-to-game basis. Heading into Boston having lost the series to Tampa isn’t very encouraging.

The 2004 Tampa Bay Devil Rays also had a long win streak, but the month it happened was the only winning month they had that season. On the flip side of the coin, the 2002 A’s won 20 in a row and made the playoffs. Are the Jays more like the ’04 Rays or the ’02 A’s? Part of what frustrates me so much is that I can’t figure out the answer to that question. An 11-game win streak was a great way to resuscitate the season, but is this team consistent enough to make serious noise in their own division? The jury’s still out.

Wes Kepstro


1 Response to “Mission ’13, Game 76: Rays win 5-1”

  1. 1 ask March 23, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I like reading through an article that can make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

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