Covering the Bases: Game 26
Marcum’s last win came against the White Sox on Sept. 11, 2008 — shortly before he underwent reconstructive elbow surgery that cost him all of last season.
This year, Marcum had been solid through his first five outings for Toronto, but whether it was due to a lack of run support or a shaky bullpen, he simply was not able to pick up any wins. Not until Ben Sheets absolutely imploded for the A’s on Sunday, allowing the Jays to run out to a 9-1 lead after four innings.
Marcum worked 6 1/3 innings, scattered six hits, struck out six and walked four. He allowed just the one run in the 105-pitch effort. True to his character, Marcum downplayed finally getting a win and instead said it was just great that the team found the win colum. Good on him.
Also, good on the crowd for its stading ovation as Marcum headed off the hill in the seventh. Those used to be reserved for a certain ace, but Marcum — now in Doc’s old slot in the rotation — was the recipient this time around. Much like the good doctor did for years, too, Marcum gave a quick tip of the hat in response.
SECOND: The Blue Jays scored nine runs combined over Marcum’s past three starts. So nine runs on 13 hits was much appreciated by Marcum this time (even though he wouldn’t admit it). But, this was more about the ineffectiveness of Sheets than the awesomeness of the Blue Jays’ offense.
Sheets faced 22 batters and this is what happened: 10 outs, 10 hits at a cost of $10 million for the A’s. The Jays drew two walks, pounded out two singles, four doubles, one triple and three home runs against the righty. Over his past two starts, Sheets has allowed 17 runs across a grand total of 7 1/3 innings.
Every Blue Jay in the lineup had at least one hit with the exception of Adam Lind and Jose Bautista. Fred Lewis launched a two run homer in the fourth that actually bounced up when it hit the seats in the second deck. He and Aaron Hill went back-to-back, and Hill finished a triple shy of the cycle. Alez Gonzalez hit his eighth homer (two-run shot in the first) and John McDonald (!) went 2-for-4 with a double and a triple.
Sheets? Boom! Roasted.
THIRD: Beyond all the guys mentioned above, how about that John Buck? A few days after launching a trio of home runs, Bucky put a few dents (see what I did there?) in the wall in left with three doubles against the A’s. Since manager Cito Gaston and hitting coach Dwayne Murphy held a sťance to revive Buck’s bat, the catcher has gone 8-for-12 at the plate with three homers, three doubles and seven RBIs.
HOME: In the first edition of “You Know It’s Getaway Day When…” let’s take a look at one telling stat from Sunday’s tilt in Toronto. After running out to a 9-1 lead through four innings, exactly ZERO Jays hitters looked at a called strike. The final 15 Toronto batters gripped it and ripped it, bringing a speedy end to the contest. The last player to take a strike was Gonzalez during the final at-bat of the fourth inning. Consider that seven of the first 13 Jays hitters and 10 of the first 24 took at least one called strike. In the first inning, six of seven hitters took a called strike on the first pitch.
NOTE: I will not be in Cleveland for the upcoming series between the Blue Jays and Indians. I will be tweeting and blogging again about your Jays from U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, beginning on Thursday.