Well, OK, he doesn’t really suck. He had an off night is all. But if he’d had an on night, the Jays would have tied the team record for the longest winning streak in team history at 11 games! Who’d have guessed that Doc would be the pitcher to end the streak? And even with Halladay
sucking not pitching his best, they came this close to doing it anyway.
I only saw the last three or four innings of the game, but the Jays were down 5-0 and simply weren’t in the game at all. Then in the 8th inning, Mark Buehrle walked Bautista and Ozzie Guillen inexplicably took Buehrle out. Buehrle looked kind of amused by this, but then Octavio Dotel gave up a 2-run homer to Alex Rios, which I’m sure took some of Buehrle’s fun away. Dotel got out of that inning, and then Chicago scored what turned out to be a critical run in the bottom of the 8th. Toronto came up in the top of the 9th, down 6-2, and facing one of the tougher closers in the AL in Bobby Jenks. Zaun struck out, then Inglett singled, Rolen walked, and Overbay singled Inglett in. Scutaro (what an awesome pick-up he was) then doubled in Rolen, and Bautista grounded out scoring Overbay. Now it’s 6-5 with 2 out and the tying run at 3rd base, and your best hitters coming up in Rios and Wells. Rios struck out (on a third strike that I’m not convinced was a strike) to end the game, but if you can ever be happy about a loss, especially one that ends a 10-game winning streak, this is one of those times. The Jays went from not being in the game at all to needing a base hit to tie it in less than two innings. That says something about this team.
There’s been a lot of talk about this streak and whether is means anything at all. I’m not sure that it does, since the Jays are basically out of the playoff race anyway. They’re 7½ games back of Boston for the wild card with less than three weeks left in the season, so unless they go on another phenomenal streak and Boston loses a bunch and Minnesota loses a bunch too, it ain’t happening. It looks like the end of any one of the last few Leafs’ seasons — wait until there’s no chance of making the playoffs and then start playing really well. Can the Jays simply not perform under pressure, or was it just bad timing that they all got healthy and hot at the wrong time?
Worst of all, does the streak mean that J.P. Ricciardi will still have his GM job next season? After all, if you put together a team that is good enough to win 10 straight games, all against very good teams, you shouldn’t be getting fired, should you? Or is it more fair to say that if you put together a team that good and yet they aren’t contending for a playoff spot, that you should be fired?
Is this streak an anomaly, or are the Jays really this good? Hard to say. We found out this year thanks to Tampa that a team not expected to do anything can be a serious contender, so there’s always hope.