This is the year it all went south. Sure we had a winning record and some outstanding players but the key here is J.P. Ricciardi may know talent but developing that talent was something lacking in the organization. For this reason we get Scott Rolen or David Eckstein, great players at one point but not the future cornerstones you would be hoping to be developed. Key players such as Alex Ríos, Vernon Wells, Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan needed to stay healthy and continue to grow as players rather than stagnate. Halladay held his own but the others regressed or got hurt or generally were a let down.
Sometimes good teammates and good people are not the same thing. There was no one to rally around. Scott Rolen would have been the best choice as a leader but from the moment he got here, even though he was a true pro and played hard, he didn’t want to be here. A lot of players in MLB thought the same. We were turning into the place to sign when your first choices are gone. The fans deserved better than a professional team. Sure they won more than they lost but winning in 4th place is still losing. For our Home Opener we had to face a very strong and determined Boston Red Sox team. Perennial playoff contenders. How would the 2008 Jays stack up? For this game ans actually the 3 game series…pretty good.
Date: April 4, 2008
Location: Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
Game: Boston Red Sox vs. YOUR Toronto Blue Jays
Weather: Check an Almanac…it’s dry inside and that’s what matters…
Shaun Marcum got the call after the Jays returned home from a 1-2 start in Yankee Stadium. The pitcher for this game would be the knucklehead, Tim Wakefield. The Jays have never been that great against knuckleballers but for this day at least they were on top of that bouncy pitch. Wakefield almost had a quality start with 6 innings and 3 runs given up. Marcum went 7 innings giving up 3 as well. It came down to the bullpens. David Aardsma, Javier Lopez and Manny Delcarmen each gave up a run in an inning of work while the duo of Brian Tallet and Jeremy Accardo threw up goose eggs. The result was a 6-3 Jays win. The first of a sweep they would lay on the Red Sox. The hitting star was really no one in particular. Most Jays had 1 hit (Lyle Overbay had 2). The only Jay to get more than 1 RBI was Frank Thomas with 2. A very well rounded team win.
We would be relegated again to cheer on individual performances. My favourite is one I literally discovered while researching this article. Halladay became the first pitcher to have a 5–0 record against the Yankees in a season, since Luis Tiant accomplished the feat in 1974. I was 1 (grumble grumble)!!! He also became the second Jay to have two 20 win seasons (Clemens in ’97 & ’98). Still…we finished fourth. Dammit. Perhaps 2009 will do us better…