It was a very merry Tyler Moore at Rogers Centre, the rookie belting the first two homers and notching the first five RBIs of his major league career to lead the Nationals to a road sweep, knocking the Blue Jays under the .500 mark for the first time this season — they’re 31-32.
Not only did the Blue Jays get swept by the ghost of the Montreal Expos (who just happen to have the second-best record in the major leagues), but they lost a starting pitcher for the second time in three games.
Kyle Drabek felt a pop in the back of his right elbow delivering a 1-0 pitch to Michael Morse in the top of the fifth inning and had to leave the game. Drabek hadn’t been great to that point, allowing four runs on seven hits — including a two-run double and a two-run home run, each by Moore — but at least he’d only walked two.
The good news is that Drabek had full strength in his right arm in tests done after his exit, that he wasn’t in any pain after the game, and that the feeling he experienced wasn’t similar to what he felt five years ago, when he wound up having to undergo Tommy John surgery. Further tests will have to be done to determine the extent of the injury, if there even is one, but right now it’s difficult to imagine that Drabek will be unaffected enough by this to not have to miss at least one start, which means the Blue Jays are now looking for two replacements in the rotation. Jesse Chavez is likely to be one — he pitches for Las Vegas Wednesday night and would be able to slip right into the Jays’ rotation on Monday, with Henderson Alvarez pushed back to Sunday afternoon (which would be his regular day). The question is, who pitches Tuesday? The answer — if it isn’t Drabek — is either Brett Cecil or Joel Carreno.
The bad news is that, along with the pitching injuries, the Blue Jays now have a losing record, they’ve dropped six of seven and they’re not hitting (seven runs on 17 hits in the three games against Washington.) In the appearance of free-fall, Blue Jays fans are jumping off the bandwagon as though it’s on fire.
I feel as though I have had to spend most of my time talking fans off the ledge this season, and that’s really too bad. I’m not sure when sports became less of an escape from everyday life for the purpose of sheer enjoyment and more of an activity over which to fret to the point of driving oneself to a seemingly permanent state of anger and frustration. That’s not what this is supposed to be.
A baseball season is 162 games long, as difficult as that may be to accept. There are ebbs and flows of good play and bad over those 162 games — especially when you’re following a team that has five everyday players who are 26 years old and younger and whose oldest starting pitcher is 27. Even though it feels as though there’s been far more bad than good for the Blue Jays over the first 63 games of the season, that’s simply not the case. They have lost ONE more game than they have won.
I hear complaints about the Blue Jays popgun offense, and yet they currently sit fifth in the major leagues in runs scored. I hear about them kicking the ball all over the field, and yet they currently sit third in the major leagues in defensive efficiency — which means there are only two teams better than the Jays at turning batted balls into outs.
The Blue Jays are most certainly not a bad team, but they’re not great, either. It’s a team that should be expected to hang out around the .500 mark most of the season, usually above it, and be in the race for the second wild card spot though likely winding up falling short. Lo and behold, that’s what’s gone on so far this season.
I understand that things look bleak right now, but how often do things not look bleak when a team has lost six out of seven games? How bleak did they look all the way back on June 7th when the Blue Jays woke up having won seven of their last nine games? Perspective is important, and while it’s difficult to maintain, if you drive yourself to the boiling point so often, it makes it that much tougher to enjoy the good times — heck, I had people calling into The BlueJaysTalk to complain after they beat the Braves 12-4 on Sunday!
I’m almost thankful we didn’t have The BlueJaysTalk today, it being a weekday day game and all. I have a feeling the negativity would have been overwhelming.
The Blue Jays have a day off to gather their thoughts and redouble their efforts towards breaking out of their current funk, and they’ll welcome the last-place Philadelphia Phillies for a three-game series that begins Friday night with Drew Hutchison taking on Vance Worley. Going into their game Wednesday night in Minnesota, the five-time defending N.L. East champions had won one of their last 10, falling seven games in the standings over that span. We’ll be on the air at 7:00 p.m. ET for a 7:07 first pitch. Alan Ashby will spend that series (and the next one in Milwaukee) hanging out in the TV booth with Pat Tabler, so I’ll get to continue the dream come true of doing play-by-play, though I’m hoping for a better series. Don’t tell anybody, but the Blue Jays are 1-5 in the games I’ve called so far in June, and have been outscored 15-6 in my innings in those games. I did a lot better in May, though.