Series Recap: Orioles @ Blue Jays, Aug. 7 - 9

Joe Carter and co. decided to pick a lonely weekend in mid-August to celebrate the 16th and 17th anniversaries of the good old days: '92 and '93 back-to-back world series victories. It was a time when the Blue Jays were a force not to be reckoned with; a time when ownership had one thing on their minds: winning. Kudos has to be given to Pat Gillick who was the architect of the championship teams. While talking to Sam Cosentino, I heard Gillick mention something completely fascinating: Between the '92 and '93, 13 players were different on the roster. Amazing. Lose Winfield, go out and get Molitor, and so on.

Those were the days; it was a time when August, September and October meant something to Jays fans. In spite of all the nostalgia of the weekend, there was also a baseball series taking place.

Game 1:
Baltimore 7, Toronto 5

Romero was pretty solid on the mound through 5; he had a no-no going until Melvin Mora hit a liner up the middle with two outs in the 5th inning. You could definitely tell he had the no-hitter on his mind. Once Mora's liner squeaked between Scoots and Hill into the outfield for a hit, Romero looked pretty frustrated. Really Rickey? In the 5th inning? This showed his youthful inexperience: A veteran pitcher would have simply moved on.

Things started to fall apart in the 6th for the kid. The inning started with a walk to Wieters the number 8 batter. Izturis then singled, which brought about the top of the order. Bing, bang boom, he gave up 4 runs and the Jays were down 4-3. Taking a close look at Romero's pitching, we see that he had trouble commanding the strike-zone:

Romero Pitch Location
Let's look at his pitching in the 6th inning, when things started to fall apart:

The last plot separates his pitches for the first 5 innings of work and those in his 6th inning of work. There are a lot of red dots out of the zone, and more importantly a lot up in the zone. In this inning, he gave up a few hard hit balls to the outfield; players were able to get on top of the ball and drive it.

Romero Pitch Movement
Rickey had good velocity on his 4-seamer. I think what pitch/fx labels as a slider is actually a sinker of some sort, judging by its lack of horizontal movement and relative sink compared to the straighter 4-seam fastball.

Carlson came out in relief followed by League. This season, League has show zero consistency; when he's on, he's really on, but when he's off, God help us. Brandon League was off and it took three runs before Cito gave him the hook. Accardo saw a little action to finish off the 8th and Camp camp out to stop the bleeding in the 9th; Camp continued to pitch well.

The shock of the season came in the second inning when Wells and Rios had back-to-back jacks. Might as well start hitting when the team is well out of the post-season hunt. "Big" Joe Inglett also had a good day at the plate, going 2 for 4 with a run and a double.

In the end, the team couldn't pull one out for Cito who was playing in front of a lot of old time friends and greats.

Game 2:
Toronto 3, Baltimore 2 - 10 innings

Cecil started the game, but left in the 4th inning after trying to make a fancy play on a ball hit toward first base. The initial prognosis was a strained MCL. Apparently, this had been bothering Cecil for a while and he aggravated the sore ligament on the play at first; he had soreness pushing off the mound—should he have been playing? My first reaction to the strained MCL was "uh oh, not good." Apparently he had an MRI and everything seems to be okay; he should only miss one start in the rotation. We'll just have to wait and see.

Has Cecil had Tommy John yet?

Until the injury, Cecil was having a satisfactory outing: he gave up 5 hits on 19 total batters faced, with 4 Ks, 2 BB and gave up 2 ER. Brain Tallet came in in long relief, pitching 5 scoreless innings. Good to have a guy like him in the pen. Edwin "E5" Encarnacion tried to do his best Scott Rolen impression, barehanding a softly hit grounder which he then threw wildly to first base.

The offense wasn't stacked at the top of the order like it had been in many recent games. Everyone was in the party: everyone in the lineup had a hit—expect Vdub, of course. Rios hit a home run in back-to-back games—maybe he should be perpetually placed on waivers?—in the second inning to put the Jays up 2-0. Adam Lind finally gave the Jays an extra inning victory with a one out double to left scoring Scoots.

The Jays have their first walk-off victory in 83 games.

Game 3:
Toronto 7, Baltimore 3

This game featured the battle of veteran vs. rookie on the mound: Halladay against Matusz. Veteran prevailed. In his 7 starts since coming back from a groin injury on June 29, Halladay has gone 1-4. Over these games, the Jays have only given him an average of 2.43 runs—pathetic offensive numbers. Halladay pitched a good one, and the Jays backed this effect with solid offensive play. 70% of balls hit in play against Halladay were on the ground and he threw only 26% of his pitched for balls. The Jays got to Matusz early and he was given the hook in the bottom of the third. Frasor came in to shut the Orioles down in the 9th. Frasor has been the Jays most effective reliever and has shown intestinal fortitude when being put into closer situations.

Kevin Millar; clean up hitter. FUCK. And he hits a home run. What an asshole. And he went 3 for 3. What a dick. Who the hell does Millar think he is? VDub continued with a good series at the plate with another home run; this one with men on base. The last time he hit one with runners on was in May. Scoots was a monster at the plate; he went 4 for 5 with a home run.

The highlight of the broadcast for me was in the top of the 4th when Kevin Weekes joined Campbell and the Tabby Cat from the TD Canada Trust Comfort Zone. You could just tell that Campbell was praying for a quick close to top of 4th which seems to drag on and on. Kevin Keekes?

Thumbs up goes to...

Vernon Wells. He went 4 for 11 in the series with 2 HR, 5 RBI and a wOBA of .475. He also lead the team with a WPA of .298.

Alex Rios. He was 4 for 10 at the plate with 2 HR, 4 RBI and a .535 wOBA.

Marco Scutaro. He went 5 for 13 for the series.

Brian Tallet. Accepting of his spot back in the pen, Tallet came out in an emergency situation and pitched 5 solid innings.

Jason Frasor. Frasor saw action in game 2 and 3. He faced a total of 6 batters and gave up no hits.

Thumbs down goes to...

Kevin Millar. I don't care that he was 3 for 3 with a home run and a wOBA of 1.000 in his only game played. Fuck Kevin Millar.

Rod Barajas. He was 0 for 8.

Adam Lind. He was 1 for 12

Brandon League. On 7 batters faced he gave up 4 hits and 3 runs.

The Blue Jays (53-57) take on the Yankees (69-42) starting today in New York. The probables are Marc Rzepczynski(1-3, 3.74) vs. Sergio Mitre (1-0, 7.50), Scott Richmond (6-6, 3.97) vs. Joba Chamberlain, (8-2, 3.73) and Ricky Romero (10-5, 3.66) vs. A.J. Burnett (10-5, 3.67).

Who would have thought Romero and Burnett would have the same record at this point in the season? Go Jays Go.


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