Didn't See That Coming
If there was one game where a win seemed inevitable for the Blue Jays, it was on Thursday night.
Out for the Red Sox: David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek, Wily Mo Pena, Trot Nixon, Alex Gonzalez, Jon Lester and Tim Wakefield. Starting for Boston? David Wells — oh wait, he was traded to San Diego before the game. So the Red Sox turned to a handful of relievers. On the mound for Toronto? American League Cy Young candidate (still?) Roy Halladay. The cards were definitely stacked in the Blue Jays’ favor.
While everything was going wrong off the field for Boston, though, Toronto couldn’t get anything going on the field. Capping off tailspin was right fielder Alex Rios’ gaffe that led to an unlikely home run by Alex Cora. The ball Cora hit bounced off Rios’ glove, then off his right hand and into the stands for the game-winning homer. Ouch.
Anyone think of the 1993 Jose Canseco incident when you saw that? Halladay did.
"Obviously, the ball off Canseco’s head comes to mind," Halladay said. "That’s why you play the game. It’s never a given. Things like that happen. That’s always going to be the case. You do the best you can to deal with it."
Basically, this was a loss that I — and I’m sure the Jays — didn’t anticipate. That’s happened during two straight Halladay starts, too. Last time out, he turned in arguably his best performance of the year, but lost to the Royals and Runelvys Hernandez. I don’t know which defeat was more unpredictable.
Toronto wants to leapfrog Boston in the AL East standings, but I think the Jays just need to make sure they finish above .500 at this point. In order to finish 81-81, Toronto needs to post a 12-16 record in its final 28 games, including 19 left combined against the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers and Angels. In Toronto’s last 28 games? Well, the club has gone 12-16, including a 7-8 mark against the Orioles, Devil Rays, Royals and Indians. Double ouch.
–Today marks the first day for September callups. Toronto plans on bringing up five players. Those likely called up are Adam Lind, Josh Towers, Dustin McGowan, Francisco Rosario, and Kevin Barker. They all won’t be up at once. The Jays will probably bring up two right away and then the other three after the weekend.
–Justin Speier is scheduled to throw his in his second bullpen session today — this time with sliders mixed in with fastballs. After that, the injured right-hander has a pair of simulated games left before he says he can rejoin the team.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "What, should I fight him?" — Toronto manager John Gibbons, joking around after one Toronto reporter asked him if he was concerned about the recent mistakes Lyle Overbay has made.
REGARDING THIS WEEK’S POLL:
What has been the club’s single-best performance thus far?
May 13: Roy Halladay throws 89-pitch CG
May 30: Vernon Wells hits three homers
June 27: A.J. Burnett throws CG shutout
July 1: B.J. Ryan strikes out five in save
Aug. 7: Lyle Overbay collects five RBIs
I only could pick five and I wanted to have five different players represented if possible. Otherwise, Overbay’s five RBI game and Ryan’s save might not have made the cut. I also might have included Wells’ game-winning blast against Mariano Rivera or the game in Baltimore, where Troy Glaus went 4-for-5 with two homers, including the game-winner. Feel free to debate other moments that should have been included. There were plenty more than the five I picked. Blame me if you don’t like the list.