Three games in New York, three frustrating losses for the Toronto Blue Jays. Really, the only word for it is RARHHAHHAGGGHHH. Someone contact Webster's and update the dictionary.
These divisional games are where the contenders and pretenders are separated. This series has looked like the Jays have been playing Make Believe in the Bronx.
The games haven't been completely uncompetitive either. They've been close and the Jays have had their shots at winning them. Why haven't they then?
There could be plenty of answers given. I've got four.
So many walks.
Over the last seven days the Jays have given up 36 bases on balls. That's good for second in Major League Baseball.
The Jays WHIP is 1.57 and their strikeout to walk ratio is 1.31. That's not something to be proud of. Especially when the only team that's consistently done worse is the Washington Nationals. For the oblivious fan, that's the team that may be the only one already eliminated from playoff contention.
These games are hard enough to win without conceding first base in a ballpark where home runs are being hit at an alarming rate.
Today's game was a perfect example. In the bottom of the fifth, Melky Cabrera walked to start the inning. He was driven in two batters later when Derek Jeter hit a home run, giving the Yankees the lead.
Johnny Damon then walked only to be doubled in by Jorge Posada a batter later. This solidified the Yankees lead, which was one they would not relinquish.
Toronto has given up 19 free passes while in New York; the Yankees have given up eight. Not good.
Where has the control gone?
The whole year Toronto has managed to pound the strikezone. They've only given up 266 BB's the whole season (22 in MLB) and have been competitive while on the mound. This past stretch against the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays has seen free passes being given out too easily.
Has the pressure gotten to the Jays, or are other issues lingering that fans are unaware of? Are Jays pitchers allergic to the strikezone?
These are big, divisional, games that are establishing the hierarchy in the AL East. The Jays are slowly walking the opposition to the top of the totem pole.
Roy Halladay's working out issues after his hiatus from a groin injury, yet eerily enough he still has a shockingly low 17 walks while taking on the heaviest workload for Toronto. Still, his last two starts since returning from the DL have yielded five bases on balls, or almost 30 percent of his total walks on the season.
Brian Tallet has walked 49 batters, making him the biggest culprit among Blue Jays pitchers. When his changeup isn't being chased, batters are taking their base. Scott Richmond has 30 walks and Ricky Romero—tomorrow's starter—has 24. Brett Cecil walked five batters in only 3.2 innings against the Yankees today.
Opposing batters are neglecting to pay the toll in order to get on base. They're cruising right past the arm blocking the road, and ignoring all traffic laws.
I like a little suspense built while I watch baseball, but my defibrilator's batteries are running out of juice. The last time Jays fans have seen this many walks was when the Rogers Center started letting the elderly take their early morning strolls there instead of the mall.
That may not have happened, but the Jays control issues actually exist. They need to reign in this disastrous tendency promptly.
Or else this season will be walking out the door.
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