Covering the Bases: Game 52

There is an easy way to see just how good of an afternoon Ricky Romero was having for the Blue Jays during a 6-1 win over the Orioles.

There is the “9” that appears in the second inning of my scorebook and then the “7” in the eighth inning. Two fly outs to the outfield. That’s it. Basically, Vernon Wells got the day off from running around too much in center.

Kind of a boring day for the outfielders.

“Any boring day where they only score one run is a good day,” right fielder Jose Bautista said with a smile.

Romero allowed one run in the first inning, but then settled in and cruised, finishing the second complete game of his career. Nine innings, one run allowed on six hits with two walks, seven strikeouts and 17 outs on grounders (4 on double plays).

This outing came one start after Romero’s worst showing of the season and one day after Roy Halladay — ever hear of him? — threw a perfect game for the Phillies. Why do I drag Halladay’s name into this? One, Romero’s performance was much like many Doc has turned in for the Jays. Two, here’s what Romero said when asked about his complete game…

“It’s a good feeling. That’s what you aim for every time you’re out there. There was a guy here that did it really, really well and you try to learn from that.”

SECOND: The Blue Jays went five innings without launching a home run in Sunday’s win. Quite the drought. Fortunately, Toronto didn’t let the power outage persist, slugging out three homers before the game was through.

Was manager Cito Gaston expecting the long balls to come at some point?

“I wish I could say that,” Gaston said with a laugh. “Home runs are hard to come by, but it seems to be easy this month for us.”

Sure does seem that way…

The Blue Jays now have 53 homers in May, setting a new club record for any one month. The last team to belt 50+ in one month was the Indians with 51 in September 2005. Toronto would need five homers on Monday to match the single-month record by any club. The Mariners launched 58 in May 1999 and the Orioles did the same in May 1987.

Your latest Home Run Heroes included Lyle Overbay (three in the past two games), Jose Bautista (leads the Majors with 16 this year) and Alex Gonzalez (his 11 are the most he’s had in one year since belting 16 in 2007). Bautista also has 12 in May, matching the club record for one month (Jose Cruz Jr., August 2001; Carlos Delgado, August 1999).

THIRD: Some in the pressbox were joking that this three-game sweep of the Orioles deserved an asterisk since Baltimore has been playing so poorly. A sweep is a sweep, though, and a common trait of any good team is the ability to defeat the teams they are supposed to defeat. Here’s a look at the sweep by the numbers: Jays hit .274 with nine home runs, 16 runs scored on offense; went 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA, 25 strikeouts, four walks and a .207 opponents’ batting average as a pitching staff.

HOME: Now comes a big test for the Blue Jays. Up to this point, the Blue Jays have played 34 games against the Central and West, going 21-13 in those contests. Against the East, Toronto is 8-7, but six of those wins are against last-place Baltimore. The Jays have gone 2-7 combined against the Rays and Red Sox so far. Now comes a stretch of 24 games in a row against teams with records above .500. The next nine are versus the Rays and Yankees — both above the Jays in the East standings. Then comes Interleague Play, which has not been Toronto’s favorite time of year for the last few seasons.

This is when we find out if this Blue Jays team is for real…



  1. welikeroywelikeroy

    Hard to pick between Marcum, Cecil and Romero? Who is the consensus favourite? They’ve all been pretty darn impressive this year. I don’t know who establishes themself as our ace long-term out of these guys? If any of them? (Drabek, Alvarez?? long-term) Marcum had the role given to him out of spring training, but it was never set in stone.

    My choice is Marcum. I love the way he commands and keeps hitters off balance. He has picked up right where he left off after the injury last season. This isn’t a logical choice, just based on personal favouritism.

  2. yerouttaheah

    Yeah, welikeroy, but how about a rotation where Marcum pitches third? Not out of the question with guys like Morrow, Drabek, Jenkins, Alvarez, and Stewart, among others coming along.

  3. aaaincny

    While I appreciate the excitement about the pitching situation (who knew coming into the season?), the real test will be the next 24 games. Remember last year and that 0-9 or 0-10 road trip about this time in the season? Could it happen again with this pitching staff? I hope folks keep things in perspective. If we could end up 12-12 in a few weeks, then even I would get excited about this year!

  4. yerouttaheah

    The Jay’s pitching staff is better this year than last, in that they have Marcum back, and everyone else is more experienced. I think the pitching will for the most part will keep them in the games, as they have done so far. My concern is that they will be facing some good pitching in return, and I am wondering how well they will score runs. Good pitching will shut down good hitting every time, and manufacturing runs against the better teams has been a problem so far. It’s going to be fun.

  5. welikeroywelikeroy

    That road trip was horrible. I remember it well, however, this Jays team is playing good baseball all around! You really can’t expect that kind of thing to happen, although many non-Blue Jays fans are. How many times do you hear, “The Jays will fold, they always do,” from the Yankee or Red Sox faithful. My big concern this season is starting pitching, and that hasn’t changed since the pre-season. We have a bunch of hitters performing far above what they have done before (i.e. Buck, Bautista, Lewis and Gonzalez), but I believe that the Jays have enough balance throughout their order to even that out. Lind and Hill will start hitting again at some point, and Snider will back to provide more balance.

    I’m hoping that Marcum, Cecil and Romero can create a formidible 3 in our rotation, while relative back-end help from Morrow and Tallet, Rzepcynski, trade … whoever? It is going to be a real test for those 3 … no doubt about it. Can they keep it up? If they do, I like our chances!

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