2013 just keeps getting harder for Blue Jays fans. After taking a 4-3 lead to the seventh inning in Tampa last night, the bullpen couldn’t hold it, leading to a 5-4 loss in extra innings. And while many will point the finger at Brad Lincoln for walking two straight hitters (including a bases loaded walk to lose), or John Gibbons for intentionally walking James Loney, neither of those moments was the real problem. Neither delivered the real sucker punch to the gut.
No, that came in the bottom of the seventh, when Steve Delabar gave up a leadoff home run to Yunel Escobar to knot the score at four.
The fact that the lead was gone on one pitch stings. But that fact that it was a former Jay sticking it to his old team makes it that much harder to take.
It feels like this has been happening a lot this year – a former member of our team wreaking havoc on this year’s version. It seems like every series a former Jay is coming up big to steal a win against his old club.
To see just how bad it has been, I decided to compile some numbers.
By my count, there have been 10 former Blue Jays to come to the plate against Toronto this year: Dewayne Wise and Alex Rios of the White Sox; Lyle Overbay, Jayson Nix, Vernon Wells, and Ben Francisco of the Yankees; and Jose Molina, Ryan Roberts, Yunel Escobar, and Kelly Johnson of the Rays.
As you can see from the above chart, it’s not just a figment of our imaginations – ex Jays actually ARE destroying us this year. With an OPS of .811, 8 HR, 17 RBI, and 27 runs scored, former Blue Jays are performing at an elite level when they play against us. And what hurts even more is that a lot of the big hits have been timely, such as Escobar last night, or Overbay against Dickey in New York, or Vernon Wells killing the Jays in the dome.
It can even be worse. If you really wanted to, you could technically add Mike Napoli’s name to the above chart. Though he never actually played a game with the Jays, he was a member of the team for a few days in January 2011. And judging by the way he has pounded Blue Jay pitching this year, he must have really hated the way he was treated between January 21 and January 25, 2011:
Mike Napoli vs. Toronto in 2013
27 AB, 7 Hits, 7 Runs Scored, 3 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, .259 AVG, .815 SLG, 1.101 OPS
Of course, we can even take it one step further and include John Farrell. The former manager bolted to the Red Sox over the winter, and has led his new team to a 4-2 record against the Jays, with all six games coming in Toronto.
In short, ex-Jays are killing us.
And if you think it will get easier, think again. In the next 11 games Toronto faces:
Boston (with Napoli and Farrell)
San Francisco (with Marco Scutaro and Guillermo Quiroz)
New York (Overbay, Nix, Wells, Francisco)
Tampa Bay (Roberts, Molina, Escobar, Johnson)