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Blue Jays vs Orioles official thread


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
TORONTO -- When Casey Janssen stepped off the mound and headed for Toronto's clubhouse, he was walking into unfamiliar territory. The rookie hit the showers faster than he had in any other start of his young career.
Janssen's inability to pitch beyond the fourth inning in the Blue Jays' 6-4 loss to the Orioles on Monday may have been an unexpected turn for the pitcher, but it followed a recent trend that continues to take a toll on Toronto. The poor outing also spoiled Alex Rios' first multi-homer game of his career.

For the sixth time out of 11 games this month, a Jays starter lasted fewer than six innings. It's been a problem that has worn down a bullpen that's logged nearly as many innings (16 1/3) as the rotation (20) in the last four games. That's including the 8 2/3 innings that Ted Lilly turned in for the Jays (34-29) on Saturday.

The difference was that, during the last month, Janssen hadn't slipped in the same manner as some of the other starters. Entering Monday's outing, the right-hander was 4-0 with a 2.30 ERA in his last five trips to the hill and he hadn't picked up a loss since May 12.

Against the Orioles, who have claimed three of Janssen's four losses, he exited the game after just 3 1/3 innings -- the shortest outing of his career. The five runs and eight hits Janssen allowed both equaled career highs also reached on May 2 against Baltimore. The 24-year-old hurler also threw a season-low 76 pitches.

"It was a struggle. I left a lot of pitches up and they hammered them," said Janssen, who has started against Baltimore four times this year. "It'd be nice to finally face another team."

His problems began in the third inning, when Baltimore center fielder Corey Patterson reached first on a questionable infield single. Patterson chopped a grounder to first baseman Lyle Overbay, who bobbled the ball before stepping on the bag.

TV replays showed that Overbay beat Patterson to first base by a step, but umpire Ed Hickox ruled the runner safe. Three batters and one out later, Brian Roberts pulled a pitch from Janssen into the right-center-field gap for a two-run triple that put the Orioles ahead, 2-1.

"You hate to see the umpires make a call that results in two runs, but that's what happened," Overbay said. "I guess when things are going bad it just keeps going bad. That play kind of changed the game and put [Janssen] in a situation that he shouldn't have been in."

While Overbay felt the close play at first was the turning point in Janssen's outing, the pitcher felt the following frame was more at fault.

"That was big," said Janssen, referring to the play at first. "But that one didn't cost us the game. The next inning, when I was struggling, was crucial."

In the fourth, Janssen (5-4) gave up three consecutive singles to lead off the inning. With the bases loaded, the righty hit Kevin Millar with a pitch to bring one run home. Then, Janssen gave up a two-run double to Nick Markakis.

After Janssen loaded the bases a second time, Toronto manager John Gibbons had seen enough. For the second day in a row, Gibbons was forced to pull a rookie starter before the sixth inning. On Sunday, Ty Taubenheim lasted just 4 2/3 innings for the Jays.

"Casey's pitched so good for us. We'll let that one go," Gibbons said. "But it was a tough lead to overcome."

Tough, but not impossible.

For the remainder of the game, Toronto's bullpen held the Orioles (30-35) in check -- allowing only one run in 5 2/3 innings and giving the Jays' offense time to mount a rally. The only damage came on a home run that Baltimore catcher Ramon Hernandez hit off reliever Scott Schoeneweis.

Rios, who belted his second leadoff homer of the season in the first inning, sent a second offering from Baltimore starter Kris Benson into the second deck in left field for a two-run shot in the fifth. That blast was Rios' 14th of the year and it pulled Toronto with two.

The problem was that Rios was the only Toronto hitter to solve Benson (7-5), who allowed three runs on five hits in six innings. Benson has posted a 3.16 ERA in four starts -- all against Janssen -- versus the Blue Jays this year.

Although Janssen was outdueled by Benson once again, the Blue Jays didn't seem worried that his part in the recent trend wasn't going to be a continuous problem. Even the worn down relievers that followed him didn't sound too concerned.

"Casey's been great for us, so no fault to him," said reliever Brian Tallet, who took over for Janssen in the fourth. "He just didn't have his best stuff. It was important for us to hold the game and keep it in check and give ourselves a chance to win at the end."

courtesy of bluejays.com


Registered Member
Lol dude all I got to say is Halladay is a beast.


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
TORONTO -- There was a reason that Toronto's relievers looked quite comfortable perched in their seats overlooking the left-field wall. The group hasn't received much work on days when Roy Halladay takes the mound for the Blue Jays.
There Halladay was again -- as he has been all season long -- handcuffing Baltimore's hitters and paving the way for an easy 7-1 victory for Toronto on Tuesday night. While the relief pitchers leaned back in their chairs, they watched as Halladay extended his personal winning streak to seven games with his third complete-game of the year.

"Those guys obviously needed a break," Halladay said. "To be able to have them take a day off was nice."

Continuing a streak that's quickly resembling the one he turned in during 2003, when he won the American League Cy Young Award, has been even better. Toronto manager John Gibbons agreed -- even though in 10 of the Jays' last 17 games, the club's starter has failed to pitch beyond the fifth inning.

"The win always takes precedent," Gibbons said. "If you win and beat up your bullpen, you don't mind that."

In his last 11 starts, Halladay (8-1) has gone 7-0 with a 2.48 ERA with three complete games. The Blue Jays (35-29) have gone 10-1 in the games that the right-hander has taken the hill during that span. In 2003, Halladay won 15 straight decisions in a stretch of 18 outings. Through the first 11, he went 11-0 with a 2.88 ERA with one complete game.

Despite the similarities, Gibbons wasn't ready to compare the two campaigns.

"To do what he did in '03, that's tough to do," Gibbons said. "But let's face it, he's arguably the top pitcher out there. Every time he goes out there, he's capable of shutting the other team down. It doesn't matter how good they are."

The winning streak in 2003 and the one Halladay is currently in do have their differences, though. In the first 15 games of that stretch three years ago, he pitched at least seven innings in every start.

This time around, Halladay has pitched fewer than seven innings in four of the 11 outings. Part of the reason behind that is the fact that he was overcoming a right forearm injury at the end of April, when the winning streak began. Halladay didn't last longer than 5 1/3 in either of the first two of his seven consecutive victories.

"It's really tough to compare the two," Halladay said. "There's different hurdles -- different things you go through each time. I think the time before, I was more consistent game to game.

"This year, there's been some games in there where I've had a little bit more of a battle," he added. "But you learn from those things and they make you a little better."

Over the last two seasons, Halladay has gone 20-5 with a 2.55 ERA in a stretch of 32 starts. In that same span, he's appeared in 15 games after a Toronto loss. That included his outing against Baltimore on Tuesday, when he improved the team's record to 14-1 in that situation and snapped the Jays' skid at three games.

"Those guys are stoppers. They stop big losing streaks," Gibbons said. "What'd we lose? Three in a row? He put a halt to that. That's what those guys do for you."

The only damage that Baltimore (30-36) could do against Halladay came in the third inning, when Miguel Tejada sent the first pitch he saw from the right-hander off the top of the wall in left-center field for a solo home run. After that blast -- Tejada's 16th of the year -- Halladay retired the next 11 batters he faced.

The only other serious scoring opportunity that the Orioles had on Halladay came in the second inning. He gave up consecutive singles to Jay Gibbons and Ramon Hernandez and later loaded the bases when Kevin Millar drew a walk -- the first free pass Halladay issued in 31 2/3 innings.

Halladay then struck out Nick Markakis to end the threat. He finished the day with three strikeouts and allowed six hits, including five singles.

"When he's on, he's the toughest in the big leagues. Period," Millar said. "If he's got command of that sinker [and] command of that cutter, you're in trouble."

Halladay received all the run support he would need in the first inning, when Vernon Wells belted an offering from Orioles starter Adam Loewen (0-1) into the left-field bullpen for a two-run homer -- his 16th of the year. Loewen, who is from Surrey, B.C., gave up two more runs in the second and three in the sixth to pick up the loss.

It was an outing by Toronto's ace that couldn't have come at a better time. On Wednesday, the Jays might benefit from having a fully-rested bullpen, considering reliever Scott Downs, who hasn't thrown more than 2 2/3 innings since April 7, will be stepping in as a starter for injured lefty Gustavo Chacin.

"After tonight, they're fine," said Gibbons, referring to the relievers. "He gave us what we needed."

courtesy of bluejays.com


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
TORONTO -- Blue Jays reliever Justin Speier was prepared to answer some questions during the postgame media scrum, when closer B.J. Ryan entered the Toronto clubhouse. The reporters and cameramen immediately headed in Ryan's direction, leaving Speier with a smile on his face.
"I don't have to answer any questions this year because B.J.'s in town," joked Speier.

Wednesday's 6-3 victory over the Orioles at the Rogers Centre, however, was a game where almost every member of the much-maligned Jays relief corps was a star. Six Toronto pitchers combined for a victory-by-committee over Baltimore, and the bullpen threw seven scoreless innings in relief of spot starter Scott Downs, who allowed two earned runs in two-plus frames.

"Downsy gave us all he had," said Ryan. "We kind of patched it up from there and picked up the win for us."

Before the game, Toronto manager John Gibbons said that it would likely be a short outing for Downs, who was starting in place of injured southpaw Gustavo Chacin. Downs' longest outing since throwing five innings in a spot start on April 7 was a 2 2/3-inning relief outing Friday.

"It worked out just right," said Gibbons. "Once we got through that third inning, we shut them down. The bullpen pitched great."

The Jays' relievers have had their share of problems this season. The bullpen's 4.65 ERA ranked 22nd in the Major Leagues, with some pointing to the bullpen's 213 innings pitched as a reason for its shaky performance. They've logged such a high amount of frames due to a starting rotation that's been plagued by injuries and inconsistency.

Left-hander Scott Schoeneweis, who threw one pitch to Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts that resulted in an inning-ending double play in the sixth, said that the number of innings wasn't the cause of the bullpen's problems.

"I can say that we're not a tired group," Schoeneweis said. "Mentally and physically, this is something that we have to get used to. That's what good teams do.

"It's something that we should take pride in," he added. "When you're called upon that much, obviously you have the confidence of the manager. If he didn't think we could do the job, he wouldn't put us in there."

Ryan agreed that fatigue wasn't a major factor, but noted the bullpen performed well after Jays ace Roy Halladay gave them some added rest by turning in a complete-game victory on Tuesday night.

"You get tired if you get run out there a lot," Ryan said, "but it gets blown out of proportion a bit. Guys are grinding and making pitches, but if you're out there two, three, four days in a row, it wears on you a little bit.

"Then you run a guy like [Halladay] out there every fifth day and you know he's trying to win, but in the back of his mind he's trying to pick us up a little bit, so it works out for everybody."

It was the closer's first appearance in the last five games, and the time off didn't appear to have an adverse effect on the big left-hander. Ryan threw two scoreless innings to pick up his 16th save in 17 chances this season.

Schoeneweis said Ryan's performance has been a "blessing" for the bullpen this season.

"It's just been fun to watch," Schoeneweis said. "We knew what we were getting, but he's been more than we bargained for. Two innings tonight -- he's pitched so many times more than has been required. It gives us a lot of confidence."

Alex Rios and Frank Catalanotto opened the game with back-to-back home runs to give the Jays (36-29) an early lead. It was the first time a Toronto leadoff duo had homered to start a game since Devon White and Roberto Alomar accomplished the feat on Aug. 18, 1991.

Baltimore (30-37) came back to tie the game, 3-3, in the top of the third, but right-handed reliever Vinnie Chulk (1-0) escaped the inning by striking out Corey Patterson with the bases loaded. Jays center fielder Vernon Wells then put Toronto ahead for good in the third, when he belted a 1-2 offering from Orioles starter Rodrigo Lopez (4-8) -- the outfielder's 17th homer of the season.

"We got out of that inning, 3-3, and it was just starting a new game at that point," Wells said. "We've had to go out and score some more runs and allow our bullpen to hold it for us, and they did that tonight."

Schoeneweis hopes that outings like Wednesday's become commonplace from the bullpen, and thinks the days of the Toronto relievers being considered the team's weak link are over.

"A game like tonight could be a turning point," he said. "We've had to log a lot of innings and had to log a whole lot of innings tonight. We came through and won the game. It could be something that we work from."

Then, just Ryan will have to face the media after the game.

"What do you want to talk to me for?" Schoeneweis joked. "I threw one pitch."

courtesy of bluejays.com


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
TORONTO -- There is a formula to a Ted Lilly start. The Toronto left-hander will throw a lot of pitches, usually won't last too deep into the game and will allow his share of walks. The key to victory is if Lilly doesn't let these mistakes come back to haunt him in the form of a bad inning or two.
In the Blue Jays' 4-2 win over the Orioles (30-38) on Thursday, Lilly navigated the tight rope and threw six shutout innings to earn his sixth victory of the season.

Things weren't easy for the lefty. Lilly allowed four hits and four walks in his six frames, but he managed to keep the Orioles from scoring in two particular "bad innings."

The first was in the fourth inning, when Baltimore catcher Javy Lopez belted a double that went just over Toronto center fielder Alex Rios' outstretched glove. Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar attempted to score from first base, but Rios relayed the ball to shortstop Aaron Hill, who threw to catcher Bengie Molina just in time for the catcher to tag Millar as he slid into home.

"Millar is running and he's got some good legs, but he's not a Brian Roberts or a Corey Patterson," Hill said. "I see that he's rounding second, right when it goes over [Rios'] head, and I said, 'OK, we've got a shot at this.'

"I just get it and wing it, and Bengie did a great job of catching it on the one-hop and tagging him," he added. "It worked out nice. That was a big rallying point for us."

Lilly squashed the next Baltimore rally on his own. With the bases loaded and Orioles slugger Miguel Tejada at the plate with two out in the fifth, Lilly threw a breaking ball that caught the corner of the plate to strike out the 2002 American League MVP.

The left-hander credited a visit to the mound from Molina as being helpful in getting him past the dangerous Tejada.

"Bengie wanted to make sure I didn't get in any way lazy with my [pitch]," Lilly said. "[Tejada is] pretty good at hitting soft breaking balls out over the middle of the plate. Any time you can get a hitter of that caliber out, you're pretty happy."

Lilly left the game after throwing 104 pitches, and then the Toronto offense put the game out of reach in the bottom of the sixth. Third baseman Shea Hillenbrand delivered a bases-loaded double in the sixth off Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera (4-3) to drive in Russ Adams and Reed Johnson with the eventual game-winning run.

The victory puts the Blue Jays (37-29) one game behind the Yankees in the AL East, and ends a personal slump for Lilly. The left-hander was 1-5 with a 6.08 ERA in his last six starts. One of those losses came on June 5 in Baltimore, but Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said the southpaw was much improved from that outing.

"He had a high pitch count, but I thought he threw the ball better than he has previously against us," Perlozzo said. "I thought his fastball was better and his breaking ball was better. He was locating real well and hitting the inside corner."

Lilly was happy to pick up the victory, but wasn't entirely satisfied with his own performance.

"I ended up walking four guys in six innings," Lilly said. "When you're doing that, you're putting a lot of baserunners on who didn't really earn their way on. There's times when you give up walks when guys foul off pitches or work the count, but I gave up a couple of those walks on four or five pitches."

Lilly's four walks in the game brings his season total to 43, which tied him for third in the American League. Though the free passes will seemingly always be a part of Lilly's game, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons doesn't mind if the walks are due to the left-hander challenging hitters.

"He was aggressive right from the first inning," Gibbons said. "He was turning it loose and it paid off for him. Ted's a big part of [our team] -- we've got to get some wins out of him this year if we're going to do anything. He deserved to win today."

courtesy of bluejays.com