If you had to describe Toronto’s performance in the 11th week of the MLB season in one word, what would it be?
How about awful or disastrous, devastating or humiliating?
All would work equally well, but at the same time none work at all. It’s nearly impossible to put into words how disappointing last week was for the Jays. After only managing a four game split against a Royals team ripe for the picking, the team returned home to be utterly lambasted by the red hot Red Sox. It was a beating of epic proportions and the Jays reaction to it will be particularly interesting to watch.
Hopefully the young Jays take it for what it was – a learning experience against a contender.
Here are three things from week 11:
Week 11: June 6 – June 12
Record: 2 – 5
1. Rock Bottom
After a series win in Baltimore the Jays marched into Kansas City with a chance to get on a real roll. Before the opening game of the four game set, Kansas City had lost four straight and 17 of the past 22, averaging less than 3.5 runs scored per game in the process. But instead of getting on a roll, the Jays promptly blew Monday’s game, nearly gave away Tuesday and Wednesday, before dropping the finale on Thursday afternoon.
Then they returned home and it all hit the fan.
To say the Jays were routed by Boston would be an understatement. They were beaten worse than I can ever remember, thoroughly humiliated. The offense was terrible, the pitching was terrible, and the baserunning was terrible. Overall it was a weekend of ineptitude normally reserved for teams such as the Pirates.
The Jays lost all three games to the Red Sox by a combined score of 35 – 6. They never once had the lead. Saturday was the worst loss of the season in terms of runs that the team had experienced in all of 2011. Then they went out on Sunday and lost by more. It was horrible, and difficult to watch.
To say that the team has now hit rock bottom might not be far off. They have lost four straight, are a season high 7.5 games behind first, and sit only a half game ahead of the Orioles for last. 40% of the starting rotation is in shambles, the bullpen is a deadzone, Bautista has just one HR in June, top prospect Brett Lawrie is on the DL, and Encarnacion is still employed.
The only consolation? It can’t get any worse.
2. The Drabek Conundrum
John Farrell and Alex Anthopoulos promised to give Kyle Drabek all the time he needed in the rotation this year. Despite the inevitable bumps in the road that might pop up now and then, they would stick by him. Learning at the big league level is what’s best for him they said.
It will be interesting to see where they stand now, after two more more Drabek disasters last week. On Tuesday he lasted 5.1 IP in KC, surrendering 9 H, 3 BB, and 5 ER yet still picking up the win. On Sunday he was lit up by Boston to the tune of 7 H, 4 BB, and 8 ER in only 4 IP. In his past three starts Drabek has been nothing short of awful: 1-2 record, 15.30 ERA, 2.90 WHIP, 10 BB: 6 K in 10 IP. Opposing batters are hitting .404 against him with a 1.211 OPS.
Its no secret that lack of control is what’s killing the youngster. He leads all of baseball with 52 walks allowed, a ridiculous 6.4 BB/9. And what he is lacking in control he definitely is not making up for in composure, constantly appearing rattled, flustered, and frustrated on the mound between pitches and batters.
I am definitely not saying that he should be sent down to AAA Vegas or even AA New Hampshire. I’m not exactly sure that is the place for him either. All I know is that he has to learn how to harness his emotions. Doing that might lead to improved command and control.
Failure to do that might leave the bosses with no choice – the minors.
3. Bullpen Saviour?
Normally in a 16-4 blowout loss there is little entertainment value for the home fans, especially when the blowout loss is at the hands of the effin’ Red Sox. But the brave souls who stuck around on Saturday were treated to something special – an inning of relief from second baseman Mike McCoy.
According to Baseball-Reference, McCoy’s became the 478th position player (defined as a player with 5 times as many non-pitching games as pitching games, though most of those were in the 1800’s) to pitch in major league history. He became the fifth position player in franchise history to pitch in a game, the first since Frank Menechino in 2004.
Armed with fastballs and sliders in the low 70’s and high 60’s MPH, McCoy was surprisingly effective. He pitched only the second three-up three-down inning of the ballgame, getting Carl Crawford and Marco Scutaro to fly out and J.D. Drew to ground out. McCoy threw only 12 pitches in the inning – 9 of them (75%) for strikes.
Though having your second baseman pitch in a game is never a good sign, the 1-2-3 inning was a silver lining in an otherwise dreary weekend. And it also gives McCoy bragging rights.
Because barring something unexpected, he is likely to win the Toronto Blue Jay ERA title in 2011.