Last night the Toronto Blue Jays lost 6-2 to the defending American League Pennant winners, the Detroit Tigers. Errors contributed to the problem as the Tigers scored five unearned runs off the Blue Jays. Josh Johnson picked up the loss, while Max Scherzer improved to 13-0 this season.
The problem for the Blue Jays started in the 2nd Inning again. Prince Fielder hit an infield single off Johnson’s glove, which should have been an easy play for him to make. Victor Martinez then stepped up to the plate and hit a routine ground ball right through Emilio Bonifacio’s legs at 2nd base. Bonifacio was charged with an error and left runners at 1st and 2nd with no one out. Jhonny Peralta then hit a single, scoring Prince Fielder.
After Johnson got Andy Dirks to strikeout and Omar Infante to fly out, Alex Avila hit a three run homerun to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead.
The 3rd Inning was no better. Johnson committed errors on routine ground balls to Torii Hunter and Andy Dirks. Hunter would scored the fifth unearned run of the game on a Victor Martinez single. Johnson would go on to give up his only earned run in the fifth on a homerun by Martinez. Manager John Gibbons would go to the bullpen in the 6th Inning, calling on Todd Redmond (in his first big league game of the year) to pitch three scoreless innings, before Dustin McGowan struck out all three batters he faced in the 9th Inning.
The Blue Jays offence looked terrible for most of the game. There were only two hits through five innings, a double by José Bautista in the 1st inning, and Mark DeRosa’s first triple since 2009 in the 2nd Inning. The Blue Jays were unable to get a run off either hit. The 6th Inning proved better – José Reyes and Bautista both singled to start the inning. After Adam Lind struck out, Colby Rasmus hit an RBI single to score Reyes. Maicer Izturis then hit a single, and Bautista made a great slid into home to score the second Blue Jays run.
Omar Infante was taken out of the game in the bottom of the 4th Inning after Rasmus collided with him at 2nd base while the Tigers were trying to turn a double play. It was announced later that Infante had a left leg injury. Neither skipper John Gibbons nor Colby Rasmus would comment on the play after the game. While it appeared to be a clean play, the Tigers questioned the play after the game.
In the 6th Inning, Redmond hit Hunter, causing both benches, and the bullpens, to clear. While the situation was calmed down without a fight, both benches were given a warning – meaning that if another batter was hit, the pitcher would be ejected from the game. The Tigers were already upset by the play at 2nd base that removed Infante, and this pitch did not help.
Should Rasmus be suspended or at least reprimanded? While the Tigers think so, I saw the play live, and then later on replay later and it looked like very aggressive running and with the Blue Jays down 5-0, the Blue Jays had to play aggressively. There did not seem to be anything overly deliberate with the base running of Rasmus, although perhaps he should have shown that there was no intent to hurt Infante on the play by showing concern when at the time when Infante was obviously in pain after the play rather than running off the field. Also, both Rasmus and Gibbons should have apologized after the game and state that is was not intentional.
This game was another terrible start for Josh Johnson, and was the fifth time in his 10 starts this year that he failed to get passed the 5th Inning. The Blue Jays already have enough problems with their starting rotation, and Johnson is not helping with this. Something has to change, and fast.
The Blue Jays are now 40-42 on the season. Things are not looking as bright as they were at the beginning of the season. Let’s hope things change soon.