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Towers, Defense, Let Jays Down

The Whole Sad Story
The Jays were unable to make it four in a row on a cold Tuesday night at Rogers Centre, dropping an ugly game to the Kansas City Royals, 6-3.

Josh Towers struck out 6 and walked none, but was hittable, giving up 10 hits in his 5 2/3 innings. Towers was pitching fairly well through the first 5, giving up 2 runs and trailing only 2-1. But in the 6th, Mike Sweeney reached as a result of a hurried, errant Glaus throw, and Alex Gordon broke his duck with a line drive HR down the right field line. Jason LaRue doubled and Tony Pena Jr (who somehow has 4 triples already) tripled him in. Downs came in and surrendered an unlucky single that Rios trapped, scoring Pena, but then Downs and Marcum pitched effectively, surrendering no runs for the rest of the game and combining for 4 K's and 0 BB's for 3 1/3 innings.

As a result of the Glaus error (only 1 of 4 errors on the day, and that doesn't begin to describe the lousy defense), only 3 of Towers' 6 runs were earned. I think Towers showed enough that he won't be replaced this week or anything, but he doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

The Jays runs scored on a Rios RBI single (Rios looked a bit better at the plate, one of a few positives for the Jays) and a Zaun pinch-hit HR. Oh yeah, the ump was a real piece of work, acting on every strikeout as if the fine folks at the Rogers Centre paid to watch him emote. I can't even get into how much we hated those umps back in my playing days.

Clayton Watch : Clayton did not play. His replacement, Jason Smith, was 1-3 with a 2B and run scored, but also made an error and did not look strong in the field.

Waxing Gibbons/Waning Gibbons :
This is a new feature that breaks down a Gibbons decision. Yes, I know how to spell gibbous.

I'm going to have to go Waning Gibbons for today. I understand wanting to get Stairs and Smith, the lefties, in against a tough righty like Greinke (and he was tough). But if Towers is going to have any success, he's going to need good, steady defense behind him. He just doesn't have the stuff to have much margain for error, and extra baserunners are really going to hurt him. It could have actually been much worse today with the errors (only 1 occurred in an inning when KC scored), but the errors are just the beginning of it. Two runs could be attributed to fly balls that Stairs couldn't come up with (not for lack of trying) but that I think Sparky surely comes up with. I know the unearned runs came on the Glaus error, but I would make sure to have the good three in the outfield and Clayton at SS when Towers is on the mound (unless Smith shows himself to be better than he was today). If the Jays are facing a tough righty and you really want Smith in the game, why not at 3rd, since Glaus will need a day off from time to time anyway. With Towers' flyball tendencies (5-6 GB/FB today), the outfield is especially crucial - you need Sparky/Wells/Rios. And then we gave up a lot of the offense anyway by starting Phillips against a righty. Not JG's best work. I also think Gibbons was a little slow to yank Towers, but maybe that's just me.

Jays of the Day
Marcum and Downs for keeping the Jays in it, Zaunie for the HR. Honorable Mention to Rios, who hopefully is turning it around (although he has yet to walk and looked lousy in RF tonight). And congrats to Alex Gordon for breaking his duck. Always great to see new talent in the bigs, and this kid's got a sweet swing.