The Day I Lost AND Regained Hope in the Blue Jays

A terrible game. Just awful.

I’ve seen the Jays play terrible games before. I’ve seen them thumped by double digits. I’ve seen them get no-hit. I’ve seen them blow big leads time and again.

But yesterday’s game was different. Yesterday stung. Really, really stung.

Sure all losses hurt. But at first glance it seems odd that one would hurt more than another. An early August game between a third and fourth place team? Doesn’t seem like a big game.

But this is why it hurt: deep, deep down, I still had faith in this team. I still believed that the Jays were capable of stringing together a bunch of wins and making a move. I still believed that they could claw back in the Wild Card

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chase and make September really mean something.

It all looked good. Take two of three from Tampa and then being a stretch of games against the weaklings of the AL. When Bautista crushed the game tying blast in the eighth, it seemed like it was really going to happen. You had the feeling that they would prevail.

Yet somehow the Jays snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

So that’s why yesterday hurt so much. It hurt because I no longer have any hope in this club competing for a playoff spot this season. Not with this bullpen. Not with relievers who blow two saves in one game – two saves in two innings! Not with relievers who have combined for 19 blown saves this year. Let me say that again – 19 BLOWN SAVES!! I know the blown save stat can be a little misleading, but still…19 blown saves is a lot. Not when the guys you pay to finish games (Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco) are arguably your worst and most inconsistent pitchers.

At about 4:30 PM yesterday I came to the sad, stark realization that the Toronto Blue Jays of 2011 are done. Finished. Toast.

Then, suddenly, about 10 minutes after the game ended, things changed. Suddenly, hope returned. Faith was restored.

Not so much for this season. A playoff spot in 2011 remains a pipe dream. But with the callup of Brett Lawrie, a Wild Card birth in 2012 might not seem like such a wild idea. With two months of major league seasoning, Lawrie might be ready to explode in 2012. With (hopefully) the return of Snider, the Jays will have a potent offense lead by Bautista, Lawrie, Snider, Rasmus, Lind, Escobar, and Arencibia. With Romero leading the rotation, and Morrow, Cecil, Mills, Litsch, and Drabek behind him, the starters look good.

If they can only fix that damn bullpen, hope might spring eternal.

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