When you consider all of the things the Jays may have needed at this point in the season, the #1 thing that could propel them to another level is great starting pitching. Well, Ricky Romero gave the Jays that and then some on Friday night.
The Ace Like Outing
He held the Twins without a hit through more than half of the game and only allowed 4 overall. His stuff was low, hard, and tight to the corners all game long as he induced ground-out after ground-out. The proof of his low effectiveness is provided in the fact that he induced 13 ground-outs and only 2 fly-outs. All-in-all, Ricky needed only 101 pitches to get through 8.2 innings and struck out 8 while walking 3. His ERA now sits at 3.35 on the year and he has provided the Jays with what will hopefully be one of many Ace type performances.
After 2 starts versus the Twins this season, Ricky has the following stats: 15 IP, 11 HA, 1 ER, 3 BB, and 15 Ks. I think it’s safe to say that Ricky Romero Aces the Twins.
The Score should have been much more favorable to the Jays. The Jays left 26 base runners on the base paths, that’s right 26, in this game. That, my friends, is some horrific situational hitting. J. P. Arencibia (6), Corey Patterson (5), and Aaron Hill (4) accounted for the majority of those left on base, but Juan Rivera, Edwin Encarnacion, and Rajai Davis also missed opportunities with 3 LOB a piece. If the Jays are going to go on any kind of winning streak, those woes have to end. When opportunities arise, Jays hitters need to capitalize on them.
On the good side, Edwin Encarnacion actually surprised me with some of his heads up base running that kept him safe at second on a well driven ball to L-CF.
On the bad side, it’s a good thing that Corey Patterson realized his mistake on the base paths made by stopping to see if the ball was caught when there was really no chance of that happening, and made up for it by speeding home, because the Jays absolutely needed that run to let Romero relax a little on the mound.
JBeasta Continues to Mash and Drive Himself In
Jose Bautista hammered a Joe Nathan offering and now has 12 HRs on the season. Of course it was a solo shot, as usual, and he now has 21 RBIs on the year. Wait a minute, 12 HRs = 21 RBIs? That’s ridiculous folks. Please oh please put someone on base in front of him guys! I don’t care who they put in the 1st and 2nd spots, just get someone on base! At this rate, Bautista could be the first 40 HR hitter to have fewer than 70 RBIs on the season.
Passed Balls and Game Calling
J. P. Arencibia didn’t just have a tough time at the plate, he also allowed his 3rd passed ball of the season. However, he also managed Ricky Romero’s game extremely well, so I’m guessing the Jays can live with the one pass. Having said that, JPA is now hitting .220 on the season and is 1 for 20 over his last 6 games. So, it’s a good thing that pitchers are successful with him behind the plate, because otherwise it could be Jose Molina catching 3 of 5 games, not JPA.
Francisco Gets the Call
The battle for the closing role is in full swing as the Jays begin to eye a Type A free agency for Frank Francisco and begin to offer him save opportunities as a result. I know it’s early, but that’s the feeling I get when I see him get the call ahead of Jon Rauch. If Franky gets a good amount of saves this season and walks thereafter, there’s no doubt that he’ll get picked up elsewhere and that the Jays will land at least 1 sandwich pick at a minimum (Type B), maybe even that and a 1st or 2nd rd pick (Type A). One thing’s for certain, neither he or Rauch has a strangle hold on the job at this point, as both have proven effective overall.
The Standings and Schedule
The Jays are no longer tied for last in the AL East as the honor of last place is now in the hands of Baltimore. Tampa Bay won as well, but the Jays and Red Sox did gain ground on the Yankees who lost to the Sox 5-4. This 3 game winning streak by the Jays is helping keep them well in range of the wild card – now only 3 GB of that spot held by the Yankees – and is a good place to be as the road trip continues. The Jays remain 5 GB of the AL East leading Rays, who they will meet twice when they’ve played 2 more vs the Twins and 2 vs the Tigers. The good news? The Jays should avoid Justin Verlander who is scheduled to pitch Wednesday after pitching last night, and will also avoid David Price who is scheduled to throw Monday against the Yankees. Talk about lucking out! Still, the Jays will likely be facing Jeremy Hellickson and Wade Davis vs the Rays, which is definitely no easy task but still gives them a chance to win – or a better chance than if Price was throwing.
The Jays are in a good place right now and could be getting some reinforcements soon in the shape of Jayson Nix. He played his first game in Dunedin yesterday, going 0 for 4 with 2 SO. Although not a great start to the rehab, at least he’s out there and getting some ABs in on his way back to the majors.