Blue Jays 8, (Devil) Rays 10
Well that was ugly. Fortunately for me I was at the movies last night (Life, kind of like the original Alien but boring, dumb and not scary) and didn’t have to watch most of it. I did check the score just as the trailers were beginning and the Jays were up two runs in the first half of the first inning. All right! So then I watch this terrible movie and check the score again and…yikes!
I guess I should get the obvious out of the way: Liriano was not good. In fact, that was just about as bad as Liriano has ever been, posting the shortest outing of his major league career (at least according to Buck Martinez as heard on the Blue Jays in 30). But even without that little nugget from Buck, it’s pretty obvious from the line just how horrific the night was…five runs on three hits and FOUR walks while managing a single out. Ick. He did get Souza Jr to strike out to lead off the inning so, that’s good…
But it wasn’t just Liriano who kind of sucked on the mound for the Jays. Nope, Howell was also his own brand of awful. I was home from the movies just in time to see him give up two more runs on two walks, two hits (without managing a single out) with just fifteen pitches which will happen when twelve of them are balls.
As all this was going on I was pondering whether or not Gibby had made the right choice in starting Saltalamacchia with Liriano pitching, given all the Pittsburgh-Pitcher-Whisperer stuff I kept reading and hearing about all spring about Martin’s “special touch” with him. This was kind of reinforced when I watched the Blue Jays in 30 recap and they showed Gibby going down to talk to Russell just before taking Liriano out of the game. But then I read this tweet from the redoubtable Andrew Stoeten:
So, well, OK then, good point, I did not know that. My apologies Gibby. For the record, I was also not so sure about the wisdom of having Smoak, Carrerra and Salty all in the lineup on the same day, but then darned if the Jays didn’t go out and score eight runs which, if you forget about the final score for a moment, is kind of awesome.
In fact, there was quite a bit of awesome in the game. Tulo showed some real signs of life with a double and a homer; Leone and Tepera were fine in relief, keeping the game in reach; Smith looked really good; and (am I really about to type this?) Loup looked really good too. I remember hearing something on the At The Letters podcast about Loup playing hurt most of last season and that he was feeling better this year…Arden Zwelling (which is a name I’ve always just wanted to type, almost as much as Saltalamacchia) and Ben Nicholson-Smith seemed pretty confident that he would be pitching better which would be huge and, well…so far so good, I guess.
Oh, and Donaldson got his first dinger, and Travis and Bautista got hits, and Pillar continues his incredible transformation into an actual hitter at the plate, and best of all they only struck out seven times which is just half as many times as the Rays. The Jays did leave sixteen men on base (to the Rays’ whopping twenty-four) but that’s more a function of having so many baserunners, which is a good thing. Yes, I sure would have liked it if more of those guys had been driven in, but it’s pretty hard to complain about a team’s offensive outing when they score eight runs…and besides, this loss is entirely on the pitching which was, like I said at the outset, pretty bad.
Not quite so bad as Life, but still, not good. What’s even better, while Life will always be a terrible movie, Liriano will have at least another thirty chances to get it right this summer.
Ran across this Tweet from Hazel Mae:
So, also unlike the movie, Liriano apparently feels remorse for being so bad and wants to improve. The only way to go from here is up, right?