Series Recap: Blue Jays @ Mariners, July 27-29.

The last series against the Mariners was about as disappointing as the last three. Seattle won the series 2-1. Both losses were by one run and one of the losses came in the bottom of the ninth; yet another blown save by Scott Downs in the past week. The Jays just couldn't put together a full game of baseball: When their bats were working in game one, pitching wasn't at it's greatest; when their pitching was somewhat decent in games two and three, the bats weren't there to provide any significant run support. This coupled with some good pitching for Seattle pretty much sealed the deal on any hopes of taking two or three games.

Game Recaps
Game 1: Toronto 11, Seattle 4

WP Romero (9-4), LP Hernandez (11-4)

The FanGraph win probability graph shows the game was fairly even until the 6th when the Jays started to poor it on. Alex Rios—of all people—tied the game at four with a liner to left that scored Wells. Amazing. Rios hit to score Wells. Somehow Rios and Wells combined to score a run. Barahas and Inglet had back to back singles to score a couple more. All this with two outs. Carlson came in in the 7th, Downs came in in the 8th and Hayhurst—yes Dirk got some action!—came in in the 9th to shut down the Mariners.

Wait a second? Downs came in in the 8th while the score was 11-4? Downs has been taking a serious read from the B.J. Ryan book of pitching since the All-Star break. I just don't think putting him into a game situation in the 8th when the game is all but done—yes, I'm trying not to think about the 8 run blown lead from last week—is worth anything. A closer is a closer; they work under high pressure situations.

Game 2: Seattle 4, Toronto 3

WP Aardsma (3-3), LP Downs (1-3)

What a fucking stinker of a game. I'm really getting sick and tired of these one run losses. Especially the slew of walk-off losses the Jays have endured this year (worst team in baseball in extra innings, what a joke).

Rzed is starting to come back down to earth. I've said this in every single one of my posts about his pitching: his control and efficiency is shit. It's starting to catch up with him. 41% of his pitches were balls. This number has to come down if he's going to be an effective starter. He's keeping the ball too high in the strike zone, which produced only 4GB out of 12 balls in play. He did record 8Ks, which keeps his K/9 very high, but he needs to be more consistent.

This game just plain sucked to watch. The top of the 8th brought on a good high: Scutaro gets on base with a lead off double, Hill doubles, and Rios double—Alex Rios with another clutch hit—to tie the game up at 3. Shaun Camp threw 2.2 great innings, facing 8 batters and giving up only one hit. He continues to be pretty rock solid when pitching under three innings of relief.

Then comes the bottom of the 9th, Scott Downs, and a gentleman simply known as Ichiro. He hit a good pitch to win the game—whatever. The PitchFX tool shows that it was a good pitch from Downs; Ichiro went way out of the strike-zone to get it and somehow muscled a blooper to win the game. I get it. It was a good pitch. The fact is that Downs is pitching like shit. He made a couple good pitches against Ichiro—okay. But, he started off the inning by giving up a single to Hannahan, he walked Johnson and he made an embarrassing attempt to field a bunt from Woodward—Chris fucking Woodward. Downs gave up that hit to Ichiro because he allowed Ichiro to come up to bat by not ending the game 2 batters before. Scott Downs is playing like shit.

Game 3: Seattle 3, Toronto 2

WP Rowland-Smith (1-1), S Aardsma (25), LP Halladay (11-4)

An uncharacteristic 11 hits over 7 innings by Halladay, a great pitching effort from Rowland-Smith—he had a no-no going into the 7thand a lack of any real offense from Jays and what can you say? Speculate all you want about trade rumours, but Halladay was gassed going into the 7th. He hadn't pitched a great game to that point. I have no idea why Cito kept him in. Camp did throw a bunch the game before, but Frasor, Accardo, Carlson and League were all easily available. I blame this loss on Cito.

The Jays now have a record of 49-53 and sit 13.5GB of the Yankees in the division.

Thumbs up goes to...

Alex Rios. He went 4 for 13, 1 2B, and 2RBI for the series. He also had a couple of clutch at bats in the first and second games of the series and had a 0.293 WPA, tops of all Jays hitters.

Marco Scutaro. He went 5 for 13 and had a wOBA of 0.346 for the series.

Joe Inglett. He went 3 for 6 in the series. He had a great first game of the series and game in as a pitch runner in the second game and got a key single in his at bat.

Aaron Hill. He made a couple very clutch hits and had the second best 0.239 WPA.

Shawn Camp. Great outing in game two.

Thumbs down goes to...

Scott Downs. Duh. Had an absolutely terrible game 2 and lost the game in the bottom of the 9th. During that outing, he gave up 3 hits, and a walk on 8 batters faced.

Kevin Millar. He went 0 for 4 in 6 plate appearances.

Jose Bautista. He went 0 for 5 in 7 plate appearances. It's hard to stay mad at him though; he did make a couple of great throws in the field.

Vernon Wells. He went 2 for 12 and couldn't put the bat to the ball when it counted. His -0.280 WPA was worst on the team over the series.

Next series starts tomorrow against the Athletics of Oakland. Probably pitchers are Richmond (6-5, 3.69) vs. Barden (7-9, 3.74), Romero (9-4, 3.59) vs. Cahill (6-9, 4.77) and TBA vs. Mazzaro (2-7, 5.16).

Richmond gets his first start back from rehab. The Jays are facing the bottom of the rotation. Hopefully they can pull out a couple of wins.