An Adam Lind walk-off home run on Sunday gave the Jays a thrilling 5-4 comeback win over Tampa Bay and helped them end week 23 (Sept. 6 – 12) on a good note. The win snapped a four-game losing streak (all at home), and enabled the Jays to finish the week with a 3-4 record.
But the losing record means that the club now sits just three games above the .500 mark with 19 games remaining. The good news is that six of those games are against the Orioles, a team Toronto has spanked this year (12-0). The bad news? Baltimore has gone 21-14 since Buck Showalter took over, 3rd best in baseball. Finishing with a winning record may still yet prove to be difficult.
Here are three things that came out of week 23 in Blue Jay land:
1. So Long Tampa
Yesterday’s win was Toronto’s final meeting with the Rays in 2010. I think I speak for Jays fans everywhere when I say good riddance.
Though the Jays didn’t have a terrible record against Tampa this season (8-10, compared to 4-14 last year), they didn’t play well against them. At all. Toronto was outscored by 33 runs (108-75), and had an ERA of 5.71 against the Rays – higher than against any club in the AL.
Other than Brandon Morrow, Josh Roenicke, Shaw Camp, and Brian Tallet (yes, Tallet), every Blue Jay pitcher struggled against Tampa:
Brett Cecil – 4.60 ERA
Shawn Marcum – 5.55 ERA
Ricky Romero – 5.89 ERA
Kevin Gregg – 7.71 ERA
David Purcey – 7.20 ERA
Brad Mills, Jason Frasor, Casey Janssen, Scott Downs, and Rommie Lewis – all higher than 10.00
2. Kevin Gregg + Tie Game = Disaster
It has long been said in baseball that a closer loses effectiveness when pitching in non-save situations. They lack the motivation when a save is not on the line. Kevin Gregg proves that point this season.
Cito has called on Gregg on four separate occasions to start an inning in a tie game, including twice last week (Friday and Sunday). Three times he has allowed a run. Twice the Jays have lost the game. Only Adam Lind’s HR yesterday prevented a third loss.
In his four appearances, Gregg has pitched 4 innings, allowed 3 runs (2 earned), 4 walks, and 5 hits for a 4.50 ERA and a 2.25 WHIP.
Cito – use somebody else in a tie game from now on. Thank you.
3. The Future Starts Now
Actually, the future starts Wednesday to be exact. After New Hampshire was eliminated sooner than expected in the double-A playoffs, Toronto called up Kyle Drabek to start Wednesday in Baltimore. The plan is for the jewel of our farm system to make three starts in September, giving the Jays front office an opportunity to gauge his stuff at the major league level.
The kid dominated the minors this year, so his promotion was well deserved. He went 14-9 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 132 K’s in 162 IP, and a no-hitter on his way to winning the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year award. There is a very real chance that he puts himself in contention for a spot in the 2011 rotation with a solid stint.