Friday night saw an old fashioned pitching duel between Ricky Romero and Justin Masterson. Romero was impressive in allowing 6 hits over 6 innings of work, while striking out 6. Jays fans will be quick to see this as the start of a turnaround for Romero, but bear in mind that Cleveland has posted a .668 OPS vs. left handed pitching in 2012. While no one would claim Romero dominates LHB (.881 OPS against), if a team were to make him look good, Cleveland would be that team.
Romero’s next start comes on Wednesday vs. Yankees.
On Saturday, Aaron Laffey squared off against the ghost of Ubaldo Jimenez. After an 8-run 3rd inning, it appeared that the game was all but over, but as the 2012 season has proven, no lead is safe. Laffey would surrender 4 runs over 5 innings, with most of the damage being done on a two run home run by Shelley Duncan.
Despite Jesse Chavez giving up 2 home runs, while failing to record an out, this game was highlighted by a 2-inning relief debut for the young Aaron Loup. Casey Janssen completed 1.1 IP for his 13th save of the season.
Janssen provides the hope for Jays fans with the news of Sergio Santos being shut down for the rest of 2012, and being scheduled for labrum surgery. Having a reliever who can succeed in high leverage situations is a wonderful luxury on a team that has seen many of their best arms go down to injury.
Sunday was the “Carlos Villanueva show” as he shut down the Indians offense by the tune of 6 shut out innings of 3-hit, 8 strikeout pitching. In his 3 starts (all at Rogers Centre) this season, Villanueva has yet to allow a home run, and in 17 IP has only allowed 4 extra base hits. It certainly appears that Villanueva will be an adequate starter for this team in the second half of the season.
One of the more impressive parts of the weekend series as well was the crowd. Total attendance was over 91,000 for the series. That’s better than 20,000 more attendees than for the Kansas City series before the All-Star Break.