Posted by: Jeremy | June 6, 2010

Scott Downs still trying to remember how to pitch


"I used to be good," said Scott Downs, "but now I suck." "That's funny," responded Jose Bautista. "I'm the exact opposite."

Two years ago, Scotty Downs was the greatest guy in the world. Nowadays, he’s just another guy that can’t get an out with runners on base to save his life. Downs, with a bit of help from partner-in-crime Jason Frasor, wasted a strong outing from a Jays starter for the third time in the last five games this afternoon, blowing a 2-0 eighth inning lead against the Yankees in what turned into a 4-3 loss. Too bad, because Brandon Morrow was even sharper than his last time out against the Rays, striking out eight and giving up just four hits and a run in seven innings.

Vernon Wells hit a two-run homer — Toronto’s first of just three hits in the game — in the sixth to make it 2-0, but it all started crumbling when Morrow grazed Yankee catcher Francisco Cervelli with a 2-2 fastball to lead off the eighth. Downs replaced him and promptly hit Brett Gardner in the hand, and Derek Jeter followed with a double down the line to chase Downs and cut it to 2-1. Frasor came in, struck out Nick Swisher, intentionally walked Mark Teixeira and had Alex Rodriguez behind in the count before a block-able wild pitch sent Jose Molina somersaulting after the ball while Gardner scored the tying run. A-Rod struck out, but Frasor coughed up a two-run double to Robinson Cano to make it 4-2.

The Jays actually had a shot at evening it when Molina singled and Fred Lewis singled him home to start the bottom half, but Aaron Hill hit into a double play to kill the threat after a failed sac bunt attempt on the first pitch. Sure, conventional baseball wisdom would’ve called for him to stick to the bunt and play for the tie at home, but with a senile old man named Cito at the helm, the Jays ditched conventional wisdom a long time ago.

The loss wraps the homestand at 6-3, though it easily could’ve been 9-0 if the Jays had even one reliable guy in the bullpen that they can count on to get the job done. Apologies to Downs, Frasor and Kevin Gregg, but none of you are that guy, evidently. Shawn Camp, maybe, but he was either misused or unused in each of the three losses.

Anyway, I’m kind of glad tomorrow’s a day off after a tough one like this. The Jays are back in action Tuesday in Tampa Bay, with Brian Tallet (1-1, 4.63) and Jeff Niemann (5-0, 2.79) renewing acquaintances after meeting last Tuesday in Toronto.

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Responses

  1. Shout out to the player of the game Javy Vazquez. Completely dominated the blue jays today with 1 hit and 9k’s all swinging. And Girardi had every right to argue the last k involving swisher. What a terrible call. That umpire should be fired immediately as of this moment I am writing this comment. Anyways, check it out: http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=8740727.

  2. If you listen to the thump on the hit on Gardner, it sounds like he wasn’t hit… it was the end of the bat. AND WATCH THE REPLAY….GARDNER LEANED INTO IT!!!! The umpire shouldn’t have let him have first. And both Gardner, and Cervelli (Gazoo, as in the Flintstones alien. That’s what his team-mates call him.) were on top of the plate, and got it intentionally. Only Gazoo got it too close.
    Scotty was a victim of circumstances. Overbay wasn’t on the line (even with a runner on)….maybe because the defence wasn’t playing the no-doubles defence. Nothing over your head in the OF, and guard the lines. I’m not grinding Overbay’s nuts in a chainsaw, but it was a case of that’s how it goes.
    You got to be careful picking off Hank Aaron’s old room-mate… you might get the Wilner!!! That’s going to be interesting to watch un-fold for the next while. Wilner is a confrontational asshole, that likes to belittle the moronic callers after the game. He’s always right, and everyone else is stupid. Maybe he tried that in the after game scrum on Wednesday to the old guy to see if the old guy was paying attention.
    Playing small ball is a thing that isn’t normal for the Jays. Maybe another manager would’ve tried again but Hill’s hitting the ball like crazy….HUH?? Pushing Lewis along with a bunt would’ve made sense, and get Snider and Wells (HR) up to the plate.

  3. Excuses, excuses for Downs. He’s been horrible this season in important situations, and today was no exception. That said, he’s been a good pitcher in this league for a few years now, so he’ll figure it out eventually. I’m just hoping it’s sooner rather than later.

    As for Wilner, the guy knows his stuff. Personally, I think he should take Cito up on his offer to walk in his shoes — I think he could do a much better job. How tempting would it be to cover the team and not be critical of Gaston, anyway? Wilner does it and isn’t afraid to face the music, so credit to him…

  4. Hey Jeremy well done on getting out of the way on the Jeter Double: http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=8738327

  5. That Jeter ball was a shot…I had to abandon my normal route and do a little run-around to avoid it. What you didn’t see or hear in the video was me cursing Downs while getting out of the way of it.

  6. Then let Wilner take Cito’s spot on the bench for the All-Star game with Girardi?????!!!!!

    That would be funny!!!

  7. the Jays bullpen is utterly schizophrenic this year – it’s painful to keep losing them like this.


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