06 September 2006

Jays Bullpen in Need of Serious Relief

My dislike of Toronto-based sports teams does not extend to the Blue Jays at all. I still remember where I was when they won in 1992 and when Joe Carter hit the World Series winning homer in '93. I don't watch a lot of baseball outside of the playoffs, but I've watched a good number of Jays games this year (when there's nothing else worth watching, which is pretty often) and I do enjoy the team.
On a number of occasions this year I've seen the bullpen cost the team games, collapsing and giving up a lead with the final result being a lopsided loss. Last night, as he so often does, Roy Halladay pitched a gem of a performance, holding the Cleveland Indians to 1 run and 4 hits in 7 innings. The offense even put him in position for his 17th win of the season after taking the lead in the bottom of the 7th. Cue the bullpen. Final result: 7-2 Cleveland.
While there are issues across the spectrum that need to be addressed (i.e. the future of Vernon Wells), I hope that a good portion of the beefed-up payroll for next season is dedicated to getting some middle relief and set-up pitchers. The starting five are decent-to-great, but once they're taken out of the game it's a total crap shoot whether they can make it to the 9th with a lead intact. Offence wins games, but pitching can lose them, and that's happened to the Jays far too many times this season and effectively removed them from the wild card race. The team hasn't even been close to the playoffs (in no small part due to playing in the toughest division in the Majors) since 1993; with only one team left for Canadians to call their own, it's been a long haul for us up here. Get Wells re-signed, but definitely go out and pick up some middle relievers to carry the load after Halladay, Burnett, and Lilly put in their time.

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