Jeff Blair thwipped earlier today that "if you don't like the Jays, you don't like baseball". He is right, this team is just fun to watch. Yeah I know, we might not make the playoffs, but we are just exciting. Tones more fun than watching the Yankees or Red Sox.
Tonight? Brandon Morrow was just terrific. Despite a strike zone that was, well interesting is the polite word, he faced the minimum number of batters through 5 innings. Gave up his first hit in the 6th. He pitched 7 complete, walking just 2 and giving up 3 hits. Amazingly enough, he only struck out 1 batter, but he pounded the strike zone all night long. Occasionally he didn't get the calls. Joe West, at the plate, seemed to have real troubles calling strike three tonight. Brandon didn't let it bother him...he just kept throwing strikes.
Morrow gave up a single to lead off the 8th and Cito took him out of the game. He had only thrown 91 pitches, but our bullpen has been great, I thought it was a good idea. Take him out while he could be happy with the job he had done. Don't take the chance that something bad might happen and have him thinking about that, instead of all the great pitching.
Scott Downs came in and got a strike out then gave up a triple to the right field wall. The ball was hit hard but I thought Bautista could have made a better play. The outfielder is supposed to go to the wall then look to make the play but Jose chased the ball there and didn't make the play. Tough one. Shawn Camp came in, giving up a single to score the run but getting the last two outs.
Kevin Gregg went in for the 9th and the save. Strikeout. Then triple to right, just to make life interesting for us Jay fans. Again I thought Jose could have made a better play and held Longoria to a double, especially with his arm. Gregg didn't get a couple of close calls with Carlos Pena at the plate so pitched around him, to give them runners on the corners with one out. Infield in, ground ball to Alex Gonzalez, throw home, tag at the plate. Two down. Gonzalez might have been able to turn that into a DP but you can't chance it. Then Gregg gets another ground out to end the game. Never in doubt.
Offensively, we got a couple of runs off Matt Garza in the first. Adam Lind hit the 2 run homer. We could/should have scored more, Wells singled and Bautista walked after the homer, but such is life. In the 5th Fred Lewis doubled, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on a Aaron Hill pop fly single.
We had 11 hits on the night. 3 for Hill. 2 each for Lewis and Wells. One for all the other starters excepting Gonzalez (who took a walk) and Jose Molina.
Jays of the Day are Morrow (.327 WPA), Gregg (,167) and Lind (.129). Gregg pitched very well, even the triple was a good pitch that Longoria got a great swing on. No suckage Jays, Overbay came closest at -.090.
It is very nice to beat the Rays. And even better watching Morrow do it. Morrow really was Doctastic. Tomorrow Brian Tallet is activated to start game two of the series. Josh Roenicke is being sent back to Vegas to make room. I'm surprised it is Roenicke. Figuring (hoping?) that Tallet will be going to the pen after the start tomorrow, we have a bunch of lefty relievers. But Roenicke hasn't looked good.
The game thread was great fun tonight.