Saturday, July 4, 2009

Another starter bites the dust; Richmond to DL

Things just keeps getting better and better (or you know, um...worse) for the Blue Jays. Yet another starting pitcher bites the dust. Scott Richmond is the latest casualty, marking the 6th member of the Jays rotation going down this season, and that doesn't even include Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan, who were on the shelf before the campaign even started.

Richmond has been feeling the effects of shoulder tendinitis the past couple of weeks, first surfacing in his start against the Reds June 24th. He pitched through the pain and was decent against the Rays in his last outing, logging 7 innings. The American League rookie of the month in April couldn't shake the pain in his arm so he decided to heed the advice of the medical staff and rest his ailment.

Richmond has been a bright spot in the wake of the plethora of injuries to the pitching staff, posting a 6-5 record with a respectable 3.69 ERA. He was due to start the 3rd game of the series in the Bronx Sunday, but will give way to rookie Brett Cecil. Lefty Brad Mills has been called up to fill the void left by Richmond.

It truly is a wonder how the Jays are above .500 midway through a season that has seen Marcum and McGowan not throw a single pitch, Jesse Litsch lost for the season, Roy Halladay and Ricky Romero head to the disabled list, Casey Janssen and Robert Ray nursing injuries, and now the latest, Richmond, going down.

Camp left in too long; Jays lose in extras

What a tough loss after an otherwise outstanding performance by Shawn Camp. When he came back out in the 12th inning after already hurling 2 solid frames against the Yankees (where he struck out 4 without giving up a hit) my initial thought was "uh oh", and it proved correct.

With the score tied at 5, Cito Gaston sent Camp out for a 3rd frame despite the fact he had Jason Frasor, B.J. Ryan, Brett Cecil and Dirk Hayhurst at his disposal. I'm sure he wanted to hold onto Frasor in case of a save situation, had zero confidence in Ryan, was reluctant to put in Cecil because he's a rookie, and didn't entertain Hayhurst because he's more of a mop up pitcher.

In this case though, Ryan should have come in with mostly all left handers batters due up (other than A-Rod) It's tough because Blow Jay Ryan is, well, Blow Jay Ryan. Still, Camp should've been lifted for the former closer. The decision proved costly, as Mark Teixeira doubled to lead off the inning and eventually scored the winning run.

I've heard some Jays fans previously lament Cito Gaston's use of the bullpen. Almost every time, I've backed up Cito for sticking with pitchers who may be struggling or perhaps thrown too many pitches. Hindsight is 20-20, however there may be some merit to that argument.

Halladay inconsistent since return from DL

No one can blame Roy Halladay for showing signs of rust since coming off the DL. But when he's unable to locate his pitches, labouring through innings and allowing home runs, it's a pretty jarring experience. We aren't accustomed to this from our ace.

Halladay gave up 5 runs in 7 innings against the Yankees, serving up 3 home runs (the most Doc has given up since early April of last season) The timing of two of those dingers was key also, as he gave up game tying round trippers in two of those instances. He left a few pitches up in the strike zone, and the Yankees made his pay for it. This coming from a guy who is 16-5 career against the pin stripes.

Coupled with his first start since returning from his groin strain against Tampa, the Jays ace has yielded 4 long balls while surrendering 7 runs in 13 innings.

Knowing Roy, he'll bounce back in his next start and toss a complete game shutout.