I talked glowingly of Ricky Romero’s return start against the Mariners, and thinking that he was on the right track. Well, about that,
maybe I was wrong. His start in Tampa on Wednesday night was a major setback. He didn’t get out of the first inning. He got one out allowed a bunch of hits and couldn’t command the strike zone. It was also his shortest start in his career. The Jays sent him to their Triple A team in Buffalo to work himself out.
Romero got his first start as a Bison and it went badly, Romero only pitched 2.2 innings allowing 6 runs on 10 hits walked 5 and didn’t strike out a batter and was charged with a balk for good measure.
It’s apparent to me that Romero should never have left Dunedin until he had put together three of four good starts and then get moved up through the ranks untill he had shown he was ready. I know the Jays called him up because of Josh Johnson’s injury but at the time a lot of Jays fans and observers said the move reeked of desperation, and now sadly they were right.
I’ve said from the start the issue with Romero is mental, the guy need’s a good shrink, anytime something bad seems to happen to him he self implodes and that is not a physical thing it’s a mental thing, not sure how he will overcome it either. Lot’s of pro athlete’s have had the mental part of the game fall apart on them. Rick Ankiel comes to mind, in 2000 he had a great regular season, but come pressure time in the playoffs he developed a case of the yips and was never the same again, he was out of the game within a few years. Fortunately for Ankiel he was a good hitter and has re emerged as an outfielder in the big leagues.
As for Romero until he gets his head straightened around, if ever, he won’t be pitching in Toronto anytime soon.
Well, Ricky Romero made his 2012 debut Friday night and for 3 innings looked liked the Ricky of old came out in the fourth inning allowing 3 runs and struggling to throw strikes. Romero’s night was done after four innings, but believe it or not I think it was a turn in the right direction. If Ricky can pitch consistenly like he did the first three innings Friday then he should be close to the form he showed in 2011.
Maybe, just maybe, Saturday’s 8-1 pounding to the Mariners might just be the “rock bottom” moment in this 2013 season. The Jays had plenty of chances to score early or take control of the game, but once again the Jays inabilty to hit with runners in scoring position came back to haunt them yet again. After the game Jays pitcher R A Dickey was qouted calling the Jays dysfunctional on the field. Manager John Gibbons didn’t completely agree with Dickey’s assesment of the club, Gibbons described it more as a team really struggling.
Then Sunday the Jays bats came to life scoring 10 runs on a season high 15 hits, and Brandon Morrow was the first Blue Jays pitcher to go 8 innings in a start. Morrow was excellent for the first four innings, he ran into trouble in the fifth when the Mariners scored a pair of runs. Morrow bounced back and finished strong over the final 3 innings of his day to record his first win of 2013. Melky Cabrera belted his first home run as a Jay in the bottom of the fifth and Mark DeRosa put the outcome of the game in the Jays favor when he belted a 3 run homer as well in the fifth inning.
It was the kind of offensive out put that fans have been waiting for all season, the batters looked like they were up there with a plan every at bat, something that looked like it had been lacking most of the homestand.
Yes it is only one game but if it carries over into the Tampa series then well maybe this is the turnaround fans have been waiting for. We can hope, right?
Well, as if things couldn’t get much worse for the Toronto Blue Jays they squandered any kind of momentum they had from Tuesday night’s 9-8 win over the Red Sox by dropping the last 2 games of the series by a combined score of 13-2. Yep, it’s gotten that bad. The offence didn’t manage to score a run untill the eighth inning on Wednesday night when it was already 10-0. Tonight they led off the bottom of the first with a Brett Lawrie home run but could do little else the rest of the night. The Jays had several chances to score but couldn’t cash in on a bases loaded one out situation in the third. It was that kind of night.
The offence has been lousy, they can’t get on base and when they do get on their hitting with runners in scoring position is atrocious. Rajai Davis leads the team with a 274 batting average, Arencibia and Rasmus are close behind hovering around the .250 mark. The Jays desperately need the big bats in this lineup to wake up out og their slump. Bautista cant languish around the 200 mark all year, Encarnacion has been on a tear lately but he can’t carry the weight of the team on his back.
The other issue that has hurt the offence is the woeful bench the Jays have, Mark DeRosa and Henry Blanco shouldn’t be on this team, and after watching Emilio Bonifacio at the plate for the first month he wouldn’t be too far on my list of guys the Jays should find a way to rid themselves off. The fascination od Munenori Kawasaki has even ended for most Jays fans, Kawasaki has speed and a decent arm but is a below average shortstop and can’t hit. If you want to be a succesful team you must have a competent bench and unfortunately for the Jays that seems to be the case so far this season.
In other news, Josh Johnson was placed on the DL with a triceps strain, and his replacement in the rotation is, wait for it, Ricky Romero who hopefully has found himself in the minors and is ready to contribute to a rotation that sorely needs someone to step up and throw some innings to save an already overworked bullpen that could use the rest. If Romero is close to what he was in 2011 I’d take that, hell it might be the turning point in a season that has started really really poorly.
News slowly broke Thursday afternoon, that two Blue Jays Broadcasters Jack Morris on the TV side and Dirk Hayhurt on the radio end of things accused Boston pitchers Clay Buchholtz and Junichi Tazawa of loading up the ball and throwing spitballs, The Sportsnet camera’s were watching as Tazawa kept wiping his hand on left arm which according to Morris was loaded up with some sort of subtance. Hayhurst came out today pointing out that there was video of Buchholtz doing the same thing during the game Wednesday night. Funny thing is if they were loading up no one on the Jays made notice of it. So Maybe it’s nothing. But it did rile up Dennis Eckersly one of the Boston analysts who took a shot at Jack Morris and the fact that he still hasn’t been voted in to Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Hey Eck, thats alright poke fun at Jack not being in the Hall of Fame, Jack got more World Series rings in his career than you ever did and in the end I’m sure he’s quite happy with his championships. And if all else fails, maybe this will ratchet up the rivalry between the two teams a little more.
So last night I tweeted out the Jays record for April in John Gibbons previous tenure as Jays Manager and comparing it to their final record at the end of the year. The numbers were interesting. Lets have a look at the numbers, maybe some will find hope that all is not lost on the Jays awful start.
In 2008 which turned out to be Gibby’s last the Jays started out 11-17, that team won 86 games. However it should be mentioned that the 08 Jays had a horrible offence and Gibby didn’t survive the month of June before Cito Gaston replaced him.
In 2007 the Jays went 13-12 in April and finished with 83 wins.
In 2006 the Jays went 12-11 in April and went on to win 86 games. The 06 team it should be noted also loaded up in the previous offseason loading up on Lyle Overbay, Scott Rolen and B.J Ryan.
In 2005 which was Gibby’s first April managing the team the Jays went 13-12 and ended up winning 80 games.
April doesn’t always make or break a season, everyone remember 2009 when the Jays won 27 of their first 41 and then flopped to 74 wins the rest of the way. But it does make it harder to dig out of a hole and many a team in September that has fallen a few games short laments a lousy start in April.
And the way this year has started for the Jays the only way to go is up……right?
It’s not always the managers fault either, Gibby has given the team a chance, it’s up to the players to own up to this lousy start, time for some of the players to change the approach at the plate, take pitches, work the count, hit the ball the other way and for the love of god quit swinging at the first pitch. I know that hitting coach Chad Mattolla works with the hitters on a daily basis, one would think he would be preaching this kind of stuff to the guys.
Anyone taking bets on whether Mattolla’s leash keeps tightening as long as the offence looks as listless as it has?
At somepoint someone will be looked at to be held accountable and to be Mattolla would be the first name on my list.
Well, finally a Blue Jays analyst has pubicly hit the panic on the Jays putrid 9-16 start. Dirk Hayhurst’s post on sportsnet.ca finally comes out and throws aside the whole it’s early thing and that it’s time to maybe panic.
It’s refreshing to see someone other than Grumpy ole Jeff Blair start to discuss the panic button.
One small problem is that neither Hayhurst or Blair have suggested anyway to turn this around. The Jays have looked like they are slowly turning the tide and coming out of it but the losses are still mounting. A quick look at the schedule tells you this isn’t about to get much easier. The Red Sox are in Toronto for 3 starting Tuesday night, then the Mariners and Rays are on the schedule and come the middle of the month the defending champs San Francisco comes to town.
One could also argue that the Jays have been hit with bad luck during this stretch, the Reyes injury was bad luck, hitters in slumps and trying to do to much is just bad hitting. Pitchers getting hit hard isn’t bad luck, it’s bad pitching. However the pitching for the most part has gotten better.
The hitting looks like it may be finally coming out of it. Encarnacion is starting to hit again, Bautista is hitting bombs again and Lawrie’s timing is coming around and could soon be inserted into the leadoff spot. Now if only Chad Mattolla could get Colby Rasmus to shorten his swing and quit striking out so much and get some of the other struggling hitters to quit trying to hit a 10 run homerun every time up then maybe this team has hope. Or well as long as the defence gets their act together.
I don’t know if Hayhurst is right to say it’s completely panic time yet. There is plenty of room for concern and it’s time that some of the media, here’s looking at you Wilner, admit there is concerns and quit the pie in the sky shit, the fans aren’t that stupid.
Ricky Romero finally got into some game action Saturday night, albeit against Single A batters but I guess you’ve gotta start somewhere. He worked 7 innings allowing 1 run on 5 hits striking out 4 and not walking anyone. Sounded like he had a solid effort and was able to have a consistent motion which is a good thing at this point. It’s going to take time for Romero but if he keeps this progress going there is a possibility that he’s back with the Jays sooner than later.
Anyone that has listened to Jays games on radio has probably has listened to Jays talk hosted by Mike Wilner. There is no doubt the guy knows his baseball, he’s been apart of the broadcast team since 2002. The problem with Wilner and it’s been going on for years, He’s an eternal optimist. Last year when three fifths of the rotation went down in less than a week there was Wilner saying things will be ok the Jays would still be in the hunt come September. Well we know how that turned out as the second half turned into one hell of a shit show as the Jays threw the equivalent of a triple A team out there.
And now he’s at it again this season. With each loss Wilner keeps throwing out it’s early and in his blog post yesterday on Sportsnet.ca he explained it’s early and then went on to document stretches of the season that were similar or worse than what the Jays start has been. The only thing with that is that on the night’s where the Jays lose and play like shit Wilner has a real hard time criticizing the team. Whether his lack of criticizing the team has to do with his infamous run in with then Manager Cito Gaston back in 2010 and Rogers slapping his wrist then, or the fact that he wants to be an optimist regardless of how things go.
There has been some that say that Wilner is a Rogers employee and they own the team and that has something to do with it. I don’t buy that for a minute, listen to the Jays flagship station The Fan 590 out of Toronto, every one of the on air guys like Greg Brady, Jeff Blair, Dirk Hayhurst, Tim and Sid and Bob McCown have no problems being critical of the Jays, Hayhurst and Blair being the hardest on the team.
As much as i enjoy listening to Wilner, when he’s not on the post game show, It makes one long for the early 90′s when Scott Ferguson, who is now at TSN 1050 in Toronto, used to do the post game show for Telemedia when they held the broadcasting rights. Ferguson wasn’t afraid to call a spade a spade. He called out Jack Morris in 93 when he went out pretty much every start and stunk out the joint.
Is it wrong to want to beable to hear an objective host on a post game show and not have to hear the it’s early line. At some point when does it’s early turn into maybe it’s too late?
I don’t think any Jays fan could have invisioned a start thru the first 18 games that the Jays have mustered so far.
The offence so far this season is looking alot like the offence in the second half of last season, sure the loss of Jose Reyes has hurt the team but the rest of the lineup has to pick up the slack. Maybe it’s time for hitting coach Chad Mattolla to start telling the hitters to quit swinging for the fences, start working the count and quit swinging at the first pitch, I’m looking at you Rajai Davis. The offence did get a lift when Brett Lawrie made his return Tuesday night although it’s going to take time for Lawrie to get in the groove at the plate since he didn’t get a whole lot of at bats in Spring.
The starting pitching, which looked gawd awful a week ago, had a good week sas Brandon Morrow’s brutal effort Friday night. With the pitching looking to be a strength of the team right now.
The defence has at times been good, but overall it’s been pretty brutal. Emilio Bonifacio has proven that he is pretty much Rajai Davis without the power that Davis has, which isn’t much. Maicer Izturis has shown that he isn’t anything more than a second baseman with a below average arm. Kawasaki has been a nice replacement for Reyes but in the end of it Kawasaki is a short term solution untill Alex Anthopolous can make a move to bring in help at short.
Sergio Santos went on the DL with a with a triceps strain this week. Jose Bautista missed the White Sox series with Back Spasms and R A Dickey was forced to leave his start Thursday night with neck/back spasms, however according to Dickey and manager John Gibbons they expect him to make his next start on Tuesday in Baltimore. Here is hoping that the injury bug the Jays went thru last year doesn’t rear it’s ugly head this season.
Listening to the post game shows after losses gets pretty amusing with the amount of the sky is falling type calls that host Mike Wilner has to deal with. I like Wilner as a broadcaster, I just find that sometimes he is to much of an eternal optimist. Maybe it’s needed with that type of a job. Lets look realistically though it is early and every team goes thru a rough stretch of 20 games, the Jays just happened to have their stretch in April.
Here is another food for thought moment. The 89 Jays were 12-24, and went on to win the AL East. Being patient sucks sometimes but in the end it can be worth it.
April 20 1993
Kansas City 8 Toronto 2
The Jays were out of this one by the time the third inning as the Royals roared out to a 5-0 lead off of Jays starter Todd Stottlemyre. Stottlemyre would allow six runs in six innings of work. The Royals Kevin Appier threw a complete game 3 hitter.
The Jays record would fall to 7-6.
We continue our lookout of the 1993 Jays Season
April 19 1993
Toronto 7 Cleveland 1
Juan Guzman would pitch 7 innings of 1 run ball to pick up his first win of the season. Turner Ward drove in 3 runs and John OLerud would drive in 2 runs to pace the Toronto offence.