Covering the Bases: Game 34

So it’s back to the drawing board for Blue Jays pitcher Brandon Morrow. Or at least it’s back to the original drawing board.

Morrow turned in an “embarrassing start” — six walks (five in one frame) and six runs allowed in 1 2/3 innings — against the Red Sox in a 7-6 loss on Monday night and said much of it dealt with poor mechanics.

The fact that the Jays lowered his arm slot earlier this season has been well documented. That worked beautifully from the start. One of the only issues was that Morrow felt better out of the stretch than the wind-up.

So over the past week, Morrow and pitching coach Bruce Walton tried to work on changes that would hopefully create a similar feeling out of the wind-up as from the stretch.

 “It all starts, I think, with my leg kick a little bit,” Morrow explained. “I was collapsing on my back side, meaning my leg was dropping and I was spinning off real bad. I was just a mess really. We’re going to erase this whole week pretty much and go back to what I was doing the last four.

“We know what we were working on prior to that. We know what we worked on this last week and we know what didn’t work. We’re going to wipe that out and try to keep going forward.”

SECOND: All hail the Bullpen Fox. After Morrow’s performance, and one run allowed in 2 1/3 innings by Josh Roenicke, lefty Rommie Lewis entered for the Blue Jays and was sharp. Lewis held Boston off the board for three innings, giving Toronto’s offense time to hopefully mount a comeback. The Jays fell one run short, but Lewis’ effort in this one should not go unnoticed.

THIRD: The Jays nearly escaped the disastrous second inning with a 4-3 lead. As manager Cito Gaston said after the loss, though, there were a whole lot of “ifs” in this one. “If” second baseman Aaron Hill did not make the uncharacteristic throwing error he made in the second, who knows how that might have altered the course of the game.

With one out and the bases loaded, Morrow got Boston’s Victor Martinez to chop a pitch to shortstop Alex Gonzalez. After gloving the ground, Gonzalez flipped it to Hill at second base (one out) and Hill fired it to first to complete the would-be double play. The throw sailed wide, two runs scored and the rest is history.

Hill also went 0-for-4, making him just 2-for-his-last-29, or 10-for-51, dating back to April 28. Gaston was quick to point out that Hill had a good seven-pitch at-bat with Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. Down 0-2, with a foul ball to left that nearly served as a game-tying homer, before working the count full prior to a groundout.

“Hopefully he’ll take that home and not the other things tonight,” Gaston said of the at-bat.

HOME: The Blue Jays also lost their first home run review of the season, and the first at Fenway Park this year. In the second inning, Gonzalez belted a pitch from John Lackey over the Green Monster in left for what was ruled a double. Gaston came out to argue and the umps reviewed the hit. The ruling stood, because the ball hit the red line on the wall, according to Gaston. He was told it has to hit the green above the line to be a home run. Gaston said there were a lot of angles on the play, some where the ball appeared to hit above and others where it looked like it hit the line. “Inconclusive, I guess,” Gaston said with a shrug.


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