A Strike At The Heart
So much for the bulletproof bullpen.
The Blue Jays relief staff had been, in the words of TV play-by-play man and former manager Buck Martinez, "lights out" in the first nine games of the season, but in the 10th, oh my, did they they get tuned.
In a defeat that goes beyond simply evening the young team's record at 5-5 on the season, a succession of Jays relievers squandered a seven-run lead earned against one of baseball's best pitchers, Felix Hernandez, then saw Shawn Camp allow a two-out, walkoff base hit to Luis Rodriguez lose 8-7 to the Seattle Mariners Monday night. Rodriguez had a fabulous at-bat, fighting off pitch after pitch, before beating Camp with a drive to right field.
Ugly, but worth staying up for if you've never seen a seven-run lead evaporate before. It was the third straight loss on the first part of this long road trip for the Jays, who have played one nailbiter after another this season. All kinds of things are happening, too, with Rajai Davis on the DL, Juan Rivera not hitting, Brandon Morrow still working his way back, the experiment of starting Edwin Encarnacion at third an apparent bust because of Encarnacion's wild throwing arm and now the bullpen bashed around in Seattle.
Now you really need staff ace Ricky Romero to come up big Tuesday against the Mariners and stop the bleeding, which is what you want your No. 1 starter to do.
Certainly no dull moments with these Blue Jays so far. Manager John Farrell has them playing a far more aggressive game on the basepaths these days, and there have been nights when the bats have been explosive. Monday night should have been the team's sixth win in 10 starts, but once David Purcey, and then Octavio Dotel, started walking Mariners, you started to get a feeling something ugly was in the works.
And it was.