Covering the Bases: Game 21
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.