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Bullpen Blues Subdue Red Letter Day In Toronto

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Today was an exciting one for Torontonians. It was Canada Day and folks in the city had a choice between going to the Pride parade, watching the Eurocup finals, or going to the Rogers Centre to see the Toronto Blue Jays face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Unfortunately, despite the dome being peeled back to reveal a gorgeous day, the excitement stirred by the Canada Day pre-game festivities outside the ballpark was neutralized by a poor on-field performance by the Blue Jays.

Starter Aaron Laffey was quite effective again today. He gave up an early earned run when Rajai Davis dropped the ball on the transfer, and was good until he was tagged for a 2-run homer by Alberto Collaspo in the 5th. He finished his outing with no walks, 4 strikeouts, and 4 hits given up in 6 innings. I think he has earned another few starts in the Jays' patchwork rotation.

The offense was blah for the first half of the game against Angels starter C.J. Wilson, being held to no runs through the first 5 frames. In the 6th with the bases loaded, All-Star Jose Bautista hit what looked like a double play grounder to Angels 2B Howie Kendrick, who booted it to allow Omar Vizquel and Brett Lawrie to score. I was at the game today so I didn't get to see a replay of Lawrie's aggressive slide home, but I'll be sure to catch it as soon as I get to a computer. Angels manager Mike Sciosia was tossed out after a long argument on that play. After a walk to Edwin Encarnacion to re-load the bases with nobody out, C.J. Wilson's afternoon was done. Unfortunately for the Jays, LaTroy Hawkins (yes, he's still pitching apparently) shut down the offense, getting out of the inning without further damage. He was helped with a questionable send by Brian Butterfield, who told Colby Rasmus to tag and go home on a shallow fly to RF Torii Hunter.

The 34,853 fans in Rogers Centre erupted when J.P. Arencibia hit a solo shot to tie the game at 3 in the bottom of the 7th. But that excitement was shortlived. Fan favourite reliever Francisco Cordero came in and promptly gave up a solo shot to Mike Trout to give the Angels the lead. Coco seemed to have been shaken up after a questionable ball was called on what looked like strike 3 to Trout.

Well, if he was shaken up against Trout, he went into full meltdown mode when he gave up a 2-run shot to Mark Trumbo, his 20th of the year. With the Angels ahead 6-3, it seemed that the entire stadium had deflated. Coco left to a chorus of boos, even louder than the ones given to Prime Minister Stephen Harper when he appeared on a video message earlier. As one tweeter noted: Francisco Cordero had ruined Canada Day.

The worst was still to come: Jesse Chavez made perhaps his last appearance in a Blue Jays uniform, giving up 4 runs in the 9th to put the game really out of hand. The now-blowout did give the fans (well, the 10% who were still there) a chance to see Canadian Scott Richmond pitch. He gave up a couple of run-scoring hits, but they belonged to Chavez. He wasn't effective at all but at least his ERA went down (optimism!).

Colby Rasmus hit a liner to right field for a three-run bomb to make the score 10-6, but that was it fron the offense. One great move the Angels' acting manager made was to bring in closer Ernesto Fieri to face the heart of the Jays lineup in the 8th rather than to leave him for the 9th. Now that's smart bullpen usage.

I am now going home sad, as is everyone else at the game. Now, I know that Cordero had been very effective, but when he is bad he blows up real good. Can he ever be trusted again with the ball in a tight game?