You can never have too much pitching

We went to the Blue Jays game on Saturday – part of a group deal with the Waterdown Minor Baseball Association, where Ryan plays. It was Nicholas’ first ever baseball game, Ryan’s third, and Gail’s first in about 6 years. I’ve gone to a couple of games with my dad since the kids were born – before that, Gail and I would go to at least 7 or 8 games a year, sometimes more, and usually including the home opener. Ah, how times change.

Anyway, Nicholas had no interest in the game whatsoever. He was interested in his grilled cheese sandwich, ketchup flavoured chips (“they spice my tongue!”), popcorn, and the books we brought, but mainly he was interested in the flip-down chairs. Ryan watched a bit of the game here and there, but was fascinated by the Jumbotron. Later in the game, he also found the books we brought and was so enthralled by one of them that when Troy Glaus hit a home run, Ryan didn’t even look up. Gail watched the game but didn’t really pay attention to it; she was focussed on making sure the boys kept themselves occupied. I actually watched the game, which the Jays lost 5-3. Ted Lilly, who I’ve never been a big fan of, pitched a great game. He only allowed three hits in 8 2/3 innings, and struck out 12. Two of those three hits, however, were home runs – the first with 2 walks aboard, and the second right after a Shea Hillenbrand error, so it was 5-0 after 4 innings. Lyle Overbay and Troy Glaus both homered to make it close, but the Jays offence just couldn’t get anything going. I think Vernon Wells and Alex Rios each grounded to third base three or four times.

The Jays are doing pretty well this year – I read today that they are leading the league in batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage, and are one of only two teams since 1969 to have a team batting average over .300 more than 60 games into the season. They’re only a couple of games out of first in the East, but they’ve had an amazing nine opportunities this year to sweep a series, and have yet to do so. They could really use one of those 10 or 12 game winning streaks to boost their confidence.

You wouldn’t have thought this going into the season, but I guess pitching is their weakness this year. Their starting pitching has been decent, but not great. Lilly has been fine, but not the all-star he was a couple of years ago. Chacin and Towers are all performing below where they were last year; Towers has been just dreadful for all but one start, and the mighty expensive A.J. Burnett has pitched all of a game and a half. On the upside, Roy Halladay has been his usual amazing self, and rookie Casey Janssen has been a welcome addition – an ERA of just over 3.00 and 5 wins in 9 starts. The bullpen has been… well, let’s just say that calling them “spotty” is being kind. B.J. Ryan, who was also expensive, has been worth every penny so far (15 saves in 16 opportunities, an ERA of 0.61, and a WHIP of 0.67), but looking down the rest of the pitching stats, Justin Speier is the only reliever with an ERA under 5.00. That’s nasty.

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