We asked, yesterday, what your favorite game of the season was, so today we ask which was your least favorite? Which was the worst game, in your opinion, for the Jays?
There are many possibilities, if you weren't paying attention, we lost a number of games last year. Many in depressing fashion.
But for me one stands out in my memory as being particularly crushing. Back in the not so merry month of May, we had a 8 game losing streak going, we were in Baltimore and Roy Halladay was making the start. Halladay vs. the Orioles should have been the end of a losing streak. Should have. But not on May 27.
|Final - 5.27.2009||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||11||R||H||E|
|Toronto Blue Jays||1||0||0||6||0||1||0||0||0||0||2||10||12||0|
|WP: Danys Baez (4 - 1)
LP: Brian Wolfe (1 - 1)
Anyway you likely remember the game, we had a good, lively game thread. Through 7 innings life was good. Doc pitched well, but in the 7th it looked like he was tiring, he had thrown 103 pitches and we were up by 5 runs. A pretty safe time to pull the guy, you would think.
Cito called on Jesse Carlson, because, well he always calls Carlson first if we are ahead. Carlson had pitched 1.2 perfect innings the day before. Now my rule of thumb is if a reliever comes out for a second inning, he should get the next day off. More important than the number of pitches he has thrown is that he warmed up twice, once to come into the game and once to start the next inning. For me, that's enough to get him rest the next day. Cito....not so much. Cito picks the guys he likes in the bullpen and rides them. He is not the only manager to do this, Joe Torre was very successful in New York doing the same thing, to even a greater degree.
So Carlson's in, the Orioles have 3 lefties in the next 4 batters in the order and I'm thinking that for good or bad, Carlson will get the next 4 batters and someone else will come in. Even though, usual for a lefty, Carlson pitched better against righties last year. I'm not sure if Cito knew that or if he just chalked it up to small sample size. Anyway, single, single, walk and a pinch hitter. Carlson's got nothing. I'm sure Cito will go get him. Nope. Strikeout, yay, but still go get him. Hit batter. Go get him Cito. Nope. Single. Bases loaded, two runs in, Cito finally moves to get Carlson.
Downs comes in and isn't any better, 2 singles later and a great throw out at the plate and we are tied. We get through the 9th and 10th with good pitching from Jason Frasor. In the top of the 11th Aaron Hill hits a two run homer. Life is good again.
Bottom of the 11th, we just have to stop the Orioles from scoring 2 runs. In comes everyone's favorite $10 million per season closer B.J. Ryan (JP Riccardi folks, let's give him a hand). Ryan faces two lefties, gets one. Cito has Brian Wolfe and Brandon League up in the pen. Now anyone with even a passing interest in the Jays knows that League is a much better pitcher than Wolfe. Throw out the numbers and watch the two guys pitch. You can see it easy. Don't watch, listen to the sound the ball makes hitting the catcher's glove. If one of the two of them is coming into a game in an important moment, it has to be League, right? Wrong.
This is how I put it in the game recap:
Now League has been plenty wild at times this year, but he is a good reliever. Wolfe is ok I guess on occasion. Cito brings in Wolfe. How he decides Wolfe is a better choice than League I have no clue. Tying run at the plate. If League is wild we are 5 walks from a loss.
Wolfe gives up 2 singles and a homer and I'm going through the knife drawer looking for one sharp enough to cut my wrist. Luckily having the foresight of a long time Jay's fan, I replace all the knives with plastic spoons at the start of a season now. But I give it the old college try with a plastic spoon.
Brian Wolfe got the Suckage award with the highest negative WPA (I guess that should be lowest) I saw all year, -.889.
That was the start of a chain of bad events. Doc's next start he threw 133 pitches in a complete game win, Cito being afraid to pull him. The next start, another complete game. The next start he was injured. Cause and effect? We don't know but 133 pitches is a lot for anyone to throw, even Doc.
The next game we won against the Red Sox, ending our losing streak.