Well, I posted earlier about the Jays' many rotation options and you'll notice that I didn't say very much about Matt Clement. Today, Clement put forth the best explanation of why that was with an ugly performance and the Jays dropped the game, 11-6.
Clement was awful, walking 7 hitters over 4 1/3 innings, many of them guys like Nick Punto and Denard Span who do not need to be pitched around. Clement has never had a great feel for the strike zone and while that is sometime forgiveable when you can come back with consistent strikeouts, it won't work with the type of pitcher Matt will need to be now if he is to pitch effectively in the majors. And it didn't work, Clement gave up 9 runs, 1 of which was unearned (it was Clement's error) and just generally didn't at all look like the type of pitcher you want to have pitching for you in the major leagues, let alone the AL East. Jerry, Wilner, and Alan all pretty much agreed that Clement pitched his way out of the rotation picture (at least, insofar as the start of the season is concerned) with his performance and I can't say I disagree. Obviously you can't judge everything by one appearance, but it's not as if this is the first time this spring that Clement has struggled to throw strikes.
Scott Richmond had the unenviable task of warming up quickly and coming in the middle of a monster inning for the Twins, and he got off to a shaky start, giving up some solid hits and 2 additional runs before getting out of the inning. Richmond had an interesting outing - he gave up 9 hits in his 3 2/3 innings, many of them well-hit, but managed 3 scoreless innings after that first inning. Richmond was helped by the fact that he didn't walk anyone and struck out 5 over his 3 2/3 innings. Not a command performance, but with Clement exploding, Richmond seems very likely to make the rotation and I don't think he did anything at all today to hurt his chances. I do have a little bit of a Towers-like feeling about him, though, especially after today's outing - that he's a little too hittable and his good-looking K/BB ratio will always belie that fact - anyone else get that feeling? - but, Towers had some success with the Jays before falling apart so you never know.
Offensively, there were some good performances. Adam Lind continues to heat up; he was 2-3 today with an RBI double. Michael Barrett had 2 more hits, including a very nice piece of hitting to come up with a 2-out RBI single. And some of the kids also showed what they could do: Brad Emaus had an RBI double; Scott Campbell had an RBI single to plate the Jays' first run, hit the ball squarely all day, and made what sounded like a great diving play at third base; Justin Jackson took advantage of some playing time to go 2-4 with a very well hit double and two runs scored; and Moses Sierra was 2-2 with a double and an RBI. David Cooper also doubled in his only plate appearance.
Ricky Romero, who, yes, is still in camp and who Cito says still has a chance of making the team, will make the start tomorrow against the Reds. Mike Wilner had a short interview with Romero after the game and he is very soft-spoken. He has reportedly pitched well in B and minor-league games after having some control problems in a couple of Grapefruit League appearances, so he hopes to let his pitching speak for him tomorrow afternoon.