The scores aside, one of three in Tampa Bay is something I can live with. After dropping the first two games of their series against the Rays 9-0 and 10-1, the Jays saved face with a 3-2 win in the finale last night behind another rock-solid start from 2010 Cy Young Award winner Brett Cecil. Cecil gave up just three hits and a run in six-and-two-thirds to win his fifth straight start and run his record to 7-2 since his call-up on April 23.
Like last Friday’s win over A.J. Burnett and the Yankees, Cecil’s outing helped snap a Jays two-game losing streak. He’s given up just six runs in his last five starts, and aside from his previous start — a no-decision in which he gave up eight earned runs in two innings against Texas (in a 16-10 Jays win) — he’s sporting a nifty 2.17 ERA in 62 1/3 innings. The bad one taken into account, he’s still 7-2 with a 3.22 ERA and 0.99 WHIP (third best in the American League). Impressive stuff from a guy that was lit up pretty good toward the end of his rookie season.
Alex Gonzalez hit his 13th homer of the year for Toronto and added a sac fly in the eighth to make it 3-1 and set up another nervous ninth, featuring the infamous Kevin Gregg. In his first save situation since imploding to the tune of five walks against Tampa Bay last week at Rogers Centre, Gregg opened by coughing up a homer to Sean Rodriguez and eventually let another two Rays reach before striking out Hank Blalock to end it. In the end, no real harm, but you still get the feeling that something has to be done to fix this bullpen mess. Gregg really, really blows.
So, the Jays leave Tampa Bay 34-27 and head to Colorado for some interleague play starting tonight. The Rockies, losers of three straight, send the untouchable Ubaldo Jimenez — owner of the first of the 172 no-hitters thrown this year in baseball — to the mound, and the numbers aren’t too pretty (if you’re a Jays fan, which you are): He’s 11-1 with a 0.93 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and has surrendered just 52 hits in 87 1/3 innings. To put his ERA in even better perspective, he’s given up just nine runs in 12 starts in 2010. So he’s due to get shelled, is what I’m saying. The Jays counter with a capable young starter of their own, as Ricky Romero (5-2, 3.06) gets the ball in search of his third straight quality start.