Blue Jays Asleep at the Wheel: Lose Opener to Orioles


WP:  Bud Norris  –  5.1IP, 7H, 2ER, 2BB, 6K

LP:  Mark Buehrle  –  4.0IP, 10H, 4ER, 3BB, 3K

The Toronto Blue Jays failed to rise to the occasion on Tuesday night, falling 9-3 to the Baltimore Orioles despite countless opportunities to score.  Starter Mark Buehrle struggled yet again to miss bats, and Blue Jays batters stranded 10 base runners on the night, producing just 3 runs from their 12 hits and 4 walks during the whimpered return of Brett Lawrie.

Mark Buehrle loaded the bases in the first inning but was fortunate to escape the jam with a clutch double-play.  However, in allowing 13 base runners while recording just 12 outs, Buehrle failed to gain control of the game for the Blue Jays at any point in his short outing.  Trailing 1-0 in the 4th inning, Buehrle surrendered back-to-back solo home runs to the Orioles’ Caleb Joseph and Jonathan Schoop.

Aaron Sanchez followed Mark Buehrle out of the bullpen for the Blue Jays, allowing 2 earned runs over 2 innings to stretch the Blue Jays deficit at the time to 6-2.  Sanchez had the strikeout pitch working early, and reached 99mph on the radar gun several times, but was victimized by a Chris Davis home run and poor control.  The Sanchize would give way to Brett Cecil, Dustin McGowan (who should have stayed home last night), Aaron Loup and Chad Jenkins.  For the first game of the Blue Jays’ most pivotal series of the season, that’s too many names on the pitching box score.  Their pitch total? 203.

Offensively, a two-run blast by Colby Rasmus in the 4th inning was the closest the Blue Jays came in this game.  Despite their 12 hits, the Blue Jays failed to stack those hits on top of one another when needed.  A perfect example of this came in the 7th inning, with the Blue Jays down 6-2 and the bases loaded with no outs.  Following singles by Ryan Goins, Jose Reyes, and Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista flied out deep to centre field to bring in the first run.  A couple of pitches later, Dioner Navarro grounded into a routine double play.  The Blue Jays did not lose due to a lack of opportunity, they lost due to a blatant lack of execution.

Brett Lawrie’s return had inspired excitement around the Blue Jays entering this series, but that lasted only until the 4th inning.  Lawrie left the game for precautionary reasons with lower back tightness, and will be having an MRI done this morning.  These injuries to Lawrie have frustrated Blue Jays fans, and are beginning to raise questions on how able the young third baseman will be to play a full season.  Whether he is running, fielding, or batting, Lawrie’s style involves a fully-tensed body moving at maximum speed in many directions.  I’m still three credits shy of my Medical License, but this can’t be good for muscle injuries such as this one.

The Blue Jays will take the field Wednesday night hoping that Drew Hutchison can right the ship, and protect a reeling bullpen.  A quick start will be critical for the Blue Jays, who have struggled greatly to play from behind as of late.  Now 5.0 games behind the Orioles in the AL East, the Blue Jays will look to put two wins together and finish the series within 3.0.   Time to stop pretending, and start contending.

MVJ:  Jose Reyes.  Much like Dioner Navarro or Ryan Goins, Reyes has quietly elevated his play over the past weeks, but had little results to show for it in the win column.  A 3-4 night with a double and a walk set the table for the Blue Jays all night long.  Unfortunately, the rest of the club chose not to sit down and eat.

Tomorrow’s Probable Starters:

TOR:  Drew Hutchison  (7-9, 4.62 ERA)

BAL:  Wei-Yin Chen  (12-3, 3.76 ERA)