Covering the Bases: Game 21

Thumbnail image for GreggWalk.jpgFIRST: It was only a matter of time before the infectious disease that’s making its way through the Jays’ bullpen got to Kevin Gregg.

Before Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Red Sox, Gregg had sidestepped much damage this year, aside from one run allowed in an April 17 appearance against the Angels.

On Tuesday, Gregg was brought in with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning to face Mike Lowell. Slider. Slider. Fastball. Fastball. Ball four. Take your base.

The bases-loaded walk forced in the decisive run. Not exactly great timing for Gregg’s first walk of the season. And it marked the first inherited runner to score of the seven he’s worked with this year. That hung a run on Scott Downs’ line and resulted in a third loss in the past five Jays’ defeats for the lefty.

For those keeping track at home, the Jays’ bullpen has now surrendered 18 runs over its last 11 innings. The group now has a 5.65 ERA this season. This from a bullpen billed as the club’s strength going into the year.

SECOND: Not that it was the bullpen’s fault, since he was already out of the game in a 1-1 contest, but Shaun Marcum once again walked away without a win. His last victory for the Jays? Try Sept. 11, 2008.

He’s made five starts — five solid starts this year — and has one loss and four no-decisions to show for it. In those four NDs, Marcum has posted a 2.89 ERA. There’s been a lack of run support, a shaky ‘pen and some bad luck along the way.

Against the Red Sox, he allowed one run in the second inning and blanked Boston the rest of the way. He worked seven innings and scattered four hits and wanted to keep pitching. With his count up to 103 pitches, though, Gaston didn’t want to run him out for an eighth inning.

“I told him I had more left, but he’s the manager,” Marcum said. “That’s his call. Either way, I would’ve been fine wiht it. Being a competitor, you want to go out there and pitch as much as you can, especially on a day like today where the bullpen has been getting used a lot lately.”

THIRD: Complain all you want about the lack of offense, or about the 0-for-3s turned in by Lyle Overbay and Travis Snider, or about the Jays going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position after Wells’ RBI double in the first. But also give some credit to that guy named Clay Buchholz. He pitched a heckuva ballgame here tonight.

HOME: Times have certainly changed, haven’t they? In that decisive eighth inning, with the game on the line and Gregg on the mound with the bases jacked, the Red Sox pulled David “Big Papi” Ortiz back to the bench and sent Lowell up to the plate as a pinch hitter. It’s the second time Papi has been removed for a pinch hitter in a tight situation this season.



  1. portobello

    You’ve got to love Cito Gaston and his inability to manage.

    1)Leave Marcum in for the 8th , bring in Gregg for the 9th

    1)Use the bench , Buck should not have been allowed to hit in the 9th.

  2. dt005

    gs, I agree with the catching situation. The Buck era is wearing thin on me really quick. It might not have mattered in the end, but that ball 4 from Gregg was pretty close to the corner and Buck totally missed it. He has to frame it. Even if it was a strike the umps are not going to call it if the catcher doesn’t catch it, its sort of a unwritten rule (at least for borderline pitches). Hopefully within a month or so if Arencibia keeps it up we will have a solution. I like Molina as a backup, but I would be tempted to give him more playing time untill Arencibia is ready due to his defence. Its not like Buck is exactly tearing the cover off the ball either.

  3. gsjays

    Cito was right to pull Marcum when he did. He is after all still recovering from TJ surgery, had thrown over 100 pitches in a tight game. There is no need to over use any starters, we have lots of experience of what happens when that’s done, and it would be really nice if we weren’t the TJ Doctor’s best client again this year.

    Yes, maybe Buck should have been pulled in the 9th, but frankly, I’m more of an opinion that Buck shouldn’t be the number one catcher-Molina should be. Molina appears to be much better calling games, blocks pitches better and of course has a much better arm. Neither of them can hit their way out of a wet paper bag, but at least Molina makes up for it with his stellar defense.
    The real answer for this position is to bring up J.P. Arencibia as quickly as possible and get him settled in because he is the solution when he’s ready….It does appear his patience has improved dramatically this year with a line of .309/.387/.527 with 3 home runs, 3 doubles and 11 rbi’s in 15 games this year, so I guess it does actually help to see the ball…

    On the other hand, as I’ve posted before, I’m not all that concerned about particular wins or losses, I’m only concerned about growing our core of good young players this year. If by the end of year our core group has grown to Hill, Lind, Snider, Romero, Rzep (or one of our other prospects), Wallace and Arencibia and they’re all adjusted to mlb play, we draft well and more growth is seen in the minor league system, I will call it a very successful year.

    That being said, there is something quite positive to be taken from this series and the TB series and that is, the Jays compete with the best which no one though they would at the start of the season. Yes, we’ve had some bullpen issues,some poor risp hitting, BUT these guys compete each night and play hard till the last pitch in the 9th inning, gotta like that.
    Although, on a game by game basis, these little issues become huge, the fact is, we 10-11, tied with the Sox for 3rd place,4.5 games up on Baltimore and we really haven’t started to hit yet nor has our pen performed up to expectations……Back in March, who would have thought we’d be where we are, and we should only get better from here on in.

  4. gsjays

    We did have some outstanding performances in the minors yesterday so Shaun Marcum wasn’t the only pitcher throwing up zeros.

    In Lansing Chat Jenkins, our number one draftee from 2009, had his best start of his career to date going 8 innings giving up 6 hits,1 bb, 9k’s and no runs.

    In Dunedin, unheralded prospect Joel Carreno went 6 innings, gave up 5 hits, 1 bb, 1 run and struck out 10 of a very strong Tampa Bay Yank team.

    In New Hampshire Zack Stewart had his best outing of the year to date going 5 innings, gave up 1 hit, 0bb and struck out 5…Tiny Tim (Ward) Collins pitched the 9th and gave up no runs for the win while Danny (Henke) Farquhar pitched the 10th for the save….Collins and Farquhar are definitely making a habit of these quality outings, hence the nicknames.


    When are they going to pull Snider out of right field and get either McCoy in the outfield or let Lind give up the DH spot for Ruiz. Something has to give…

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