WP: Mike Fiers – 7.0IP, 2H, 1ER, 1BB 6K
LP: J.A. Happ – 3.1IP, 6H, 4ER, 2BB, 3K
The Toronto Blue Jays continued their losing ways on Tuesday night in Milwaukee, falling 6-1 to the Brewers in an effort that really should not be referred to as an effort. Starter J.A. Happ was hit consistently hard in his outing, but yet again, the pitching performance was a secondary problem behind a nearly non-existent offence.
J.A. Happ allowed doubles on 5 out of 6 hits against Milwaukee, with many of his recorded outs also being off well hit balls. An inability to get ahead in counts and shaky control left Happ to be just plain hittable. Dustin McGowan followed Happ out of the bullpen in the 4th inning before giving way to Todd Redmond in the 5th, where the reliable righty struggled for his second appearance in a row. Thankfully for the Blue Jays, Kyle Drabek was there to mop up as he returned to the Majors to pitch a clean 8th and 9th. I think the Roy Halladay deal can now be chalked up as a “W”.
Toronto’s only offence came off the bat of a Munenori Kawasaki ground out in the 2nd inning, which in itself explains how enjoyable this game was for Blue Jays fans. The at-bat prior to Kawasaki’s, however, by Juan Francisco, encapsulated the real frustrations of this game for the Toronto Blue Jays. With runners on 2nd and 3rd with none out, Francisco came to the dish and proceeded to watch a couple of fastballs. With the count at 1-2, Francisco was thrown a curveball and let loose a swing that would dislocate both shoulders on the average Canadian male. This swing-for-the-fences mentality when all you need is a well placed chopper will continue to sink the Blue Jays, and should continue to push Big Juan even further out of the Blue Jays plans.
The Milwaukee Brewers bats were hot early, driving the ball from foul line to foul line. Both Aramis Ramirez and Jonathan Lucroy tallied 2 doubles and an RBI, with Rickie Weeks chipping in an RBI single and Ryan Braun adding his 70th RBI with an enhanced performance of his own.
“Must-win” games, in their literal sense, should be reserved for games that would end a season or playoff run entirely if lost. However, tonight’s finale of the two game series is as close as it gets, with the victory-starved Blue Jays heading into another off day tomorrow. The Blue Jays now sit 9 games back in the AL East, which should considered almost out of reach by this point, but remain an achievable 4.5 games out of the 2nd Wild Card spot currently co-owned by Seattle and Detroit.
MVJ: KYLE DRABEK. That’s right, check what year it is. The former top prospect made a successful comeback to the Major Leagues on Tuesday, pitching 2.0IP while allowing just 1H and striking out 3. After finding more success at the AAA level as a reliever, Drabek may have an opportunity to salvage his one-promising career. He may not remain with the big club for the remainder of the season, but Drabek provided a bright spot in the darkness last night, and for that, we say ‘thank you’.
Tomorrow’s Probable Starters:
TOR: R.A. Dickey (9-12, 3.95ERA)
MIL: Jimmy Nelson (2-3, 3.86ERA)