06/07/08 1:07 PM EDT
|Baltimore Orioles||Toronto Blue Jays|
|Brian Roberts - 2B||Shannon Stewart - LF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Marco Scutaro - 2B|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Alex Rios - CF|
|Aubrey Huff - 3B||Scott Rolen - 3B|
|Kevin Millar - 1B||Matt Stairs - DH|
|Luke Scott - DH||Lyle Overbay - 1B|
|Jay Payton - LF||Rod Barajas - C|
|Guillermo Quiroz - C||Brad Wilkerson - RF|
|Alex Cintron - SS||David Eckstein - SS|
Brutal game yesterday. The Jays put some runs on the board early for Shaun Marcum, but wasted yet another gutsy and fine outing from the young righthander. The bullpen, which had been so good for the first two months of the season, was again the culprit. This time the loss hangs on the shoulders of Brian Tallet (brutal), Armando Benitez (get him out of here already, or at least stop thinking he is better than Frasor) and Jesse Carlson (potentially the worst of the bunch yesterday). Those three "pitched" their way to a 6 run 8th inning for the Orioles, who are not exactly a high-powered offense (featuring Melvin Mora, Aubrey Huff, and Kevin Millar as your 3-4-5 guys is fairly brutal).
The Jays need to turn this around soon or they will be back under .500 and looking longingly back up at the pennant race soon. Luckily, there is help waiting for the bullpen should the Jays choose to call on it. Brian Wolfe is healthy and pitching in AAA, though he might have to wait a few days as he was just optioned. Brandon League had a bad start yesterday and hasn't been lights out for Syracuse, but has a K per inning and 3 times as many strikeouts as walks, which coupled with the excellent groundball rate he's showing suggests that he's ready to contribute. And Jeremy Accardo isn't too far off either.
Vernon Wells has been rehabbing at Dunedin and his coming back should energize the team as well. Unfortunately, what the Jays could really use is a power infusion, and there's some question as to when Wells, recovering from the power-sapping broken wrist, will be able to provide that. And count me one who believes that having MacDonald back could make a difference as well. When J-Mac had gotten hurt, the Jays were just starting to use him properly, as a crunch-time defensive replacement. His return could potentially help a bullpen that's looked more hittable lately.
So there are reasons to be looking up, but that's only necessary because the past three days have been such a downer. A.J. Burnett faces off against Jeremy Guthrie today in what should be a good game. Burnett has been quite good recently and the Jays have been able to put runs on the board most days, so the bullpen could well get a chance to redeem themselves.