Covering the Bases: Game 8

RomeroNo.jpgFIRST: Is that the reaction of someone who just twirled a one-hit masterpiece?

Know that Ricky Romero was smiling more after Toronto’s 4-2 win over the White Sox on Tuesday night. He was understandably disappointed for a moment, though, considering he came very close to a no-hitter.

Six outs away. Then? Blam.

Alex Rios belted a changeup into the left field seats for a two-run homer with no outs in the eighth. It was an abrupt end to Romero’s bid at history. Dave Stieb still stands alone in the club’s record book.

Vernon Wells had a nice view from center field.

“Everything is moving,” Wells said. “His two-seamer was nasty. His changeup was nasty. He threw his curveball whenever he wanted to. Everything can be plus pitches. When you have that, and you throw them from the left side, it’s dangerous.”

Before the game, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said that Romero will only get better as he gets more experience. After the game…

“He didn’t prove me wrong tonight,” Gaston said. “He was oustanding. He made one bad pitch. What a game.”

Oh, and Romero struck out 12 hitters. Career high.

There’s always next time.

SECOND: Before the Rios home run, Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski reached on a phantom hit by pitch. Now, let it be known that there were some in the Jays clubhouse who did think Pierzynski was struck on the foot. Blue Jays catcher John Buck did not see it that way.

“I looked on film. No,” Buck said. “I guess the name of the game is to get on base and produce runs. Maybe he felt he didn’t have a chance to hit it so he just got on base any way he could. I think every single player has done that in a situation.”

It was the first pitch and Pierzynski high stepped to try to avoid the pitch as it appeared to strike the dirt. He then hopped up the first-base line as if he had been hit on the foot. Home plate ump Tim McClelland stopped A.J. for a moment, but the catcher was allowed to head to first after a brief meeting between all the umpires.

“I don’t know if I really fault him for it,” Buck said of Pierzynski. “I was just surprised he got away with it.”

Then again, Pierzynski has been in the middle of things like that before…

“Yeah. I think that’s why everybody was so unsure whether it was true or not,” Buck said. “He’s so good at selling that type of stuff. He’s a [heck] of an actor, I guess.”

Pierzynski might be best known for running to first on what appeared to be a strikeout in the 2005 ALCS against the Angels. Pierzynski treated it like a dropped third strike on a close call, and was allowed to reach. Sox won, and went on to win the World Series that year. There have been other incidents along the way, too.

“I didn’t think it hit him, but it is what it is,” Romero said. “A.J. usually is known for stuf like that. It’s cool. Whatever. It’s fun. I still had a chance at that point I still have a chance to get a groundball and get a double play, but it didnt happen like that.”

Paging Michael Barrett…

THIRD: Eight games. Eight save chances. A chance to be 8-0 if it weren’t for a pair of blown saves from Jason Frasor. On Tuesday, Gaston went with Kevin Gregg for the save, but said it had nothing to do with Monday’s outing from Frasor. Gaston said he simply wants to avoid using guys on back to back nights if possible. Gregg responded with a 1-2-3 inning, notching his third save, tying Frasor for the team lead. Who’s your closer?

HOME: There was a subtle play in the fifth inning that helped the Blue Jays to this victory. With one out and a runner on first base, Lyle Overbay grounded a pitch to first. It looked at the start like it might be an inning-ending double play. Instead, Overbay hustled down the line and beat out the relay throw back to first from Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez. From there, Buck doubled and so did Edwin Encarnacion. Two runs in. Jays up, 4-0. If Overbay is out, that Rios home ties the game and is even more costly.

~JB

7 Comments

Excellent, I’m so happy that you touched on the phantom hit by pitch. It was in the dirt, there should have been no question about it. That being said I thought he was hit the first time they showed it, and without instant replay I would have had to give him the base too.

What was most impressive was Romero’s hit count. He was deep into the game and under 75 pitches. This is even more amazing since he had 10Ks by that time. To become a true ace — he will need to keep working on pitching to contacta ala Doc Halladay — to keep himself in the game as long as possible. The strikeouts will come.

On a different note, Lyle finally got a hit/rbi. However, I still think that it is almost criminal that Cito has buried Ruiz on the bench. The guy can flat out hit and is 32 years old. Next year, it could be Wallace at first. If we are not going to use Ruiz, release him and allow him to have a go at having a major-league career with some other team. If he was younger, I could see making him wait until Lyle is released, but this is extremely unfair to a player at his age, IMO. What does this tell the three young back cathers and three young shortstops that we have in our organization that are all striving for one position? You will get buried based on contract, years of prior service, etc.? Cito got his chance as a manager at a time when many were against it, why not give Ruiz a chance?

Ricky has always had phenomenal stuff, but now each game he goes out there, he believes more and more in what he has. Last night was simply a glimpse as to what his future looks like-the premier left hander in baseball. He will get better and better as time goes on; truly is fun to watch an ace in the making.

There must be something the Blue Jays are putting in the water they give the pitchers. Last night not only was Ricky throwing a non no, Luis Perez in New Hampshire carried one into the 7th inning as well. The night before Henderson Alvarez took on into the 5th and ended up giving up just 2 hits over 7.
Vegas also leads the entire PCL league in team era at an astounding 1.50, giving up just 9 runs in total over the first 6 games. Please don’t anyone tell them it’s a hitter’s league. lol
Both Vegas and New Hampshire are now leading their divisions. I can’t remember if we ever had an AAA team lead a division, certainly not as long back as I can remember. It’s possible New Hampshire once lead their division, but again it’s a long time ago.

Hard to imagine the change in the entire organization Alex has delivered in under 6 months. There’s little doubt in my mind we’re returning to the glory days when the Blue Jays were the powerhouse of the AL East with the best team and the best minor league system…..It’s a great time to be a Blue Jays fan-keep up the great work Alex.

I think if Frasor can get his velocity back he should be the guy, if not then i’m ok with Gregg.

As for the Overbay play, they’re trying to sell hustle and heart on this site so i’m glad that they’re actually coming through with it so far.

First Star: Ricky Romero 8.0 IP 1 hit, 2 ER, 12 SO, 2 BB
Second Star: John Buck: Great fingers
Third star: Edwin Encarnacion: 2/4, 2 RBI 0 errors

What an amazing performance by Romero! In only one inning (the third or fourth, as I recall) he had more than 20 pitches. For the most part, he was in the 10-14 range which is just incredible, considering he was fanning two batters (ie: minimum six pitches) an inning. This should be a great season for this young hurler!

Frasor’s fastball is improving. He threw 93 last outing, compared to 90-91 his first outing. He should get back to 95 mph soon, but unless he can get his breaking balls working earlier in his outing, they will be sitting dead red, and his fastball won’t be fooling anybody.

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