It's always been my understanding that a game is a competition between two or more parties for purposes of either their amusement or for the amusement of the spectators. With that in mind, I'd like to petition for this result to be stripped from the standings, because that wasn't a game at all.
- The Chris Jakubauskas Experience has gone a lot like the Hey I'm Tripping On Acid Experience, right up to the part where you think you're Space Pegasus so you dive from your Olympian roof to the galaxy driveway. In Jakubauskas' first start, he was able to work his way through a decent lineup by pounding strike after strike, but tonight the Ostrich left his command in the petting zoo, and the results were exactly what you'd expect from a guy who barely has Major League stuff. Outside of one majestic curveball he threw to BJ Upton for a swinging strike, it was an evening to forget. He threw first-pitch strikes to just ten of 22 hitters, with three of them going for hits, 41% of his pitches were balls, and he allowed a symmetrical 6/6/6 GB/FB/LD ball in play distribution before finally getting the hook. He didn't have it. He wasn't ever close to having it. And unlike Felix, Jakubauskas isn't a guy who can survive on a night when he doesn't have a good feel for his pitches.
As bad as six runs in 3.1 innings looks in the box score, it was very nearly a whole hell of a lot worse than that too. Already down 3-0, Jakubauskas loaded the bases with two out in the first and then threw a high-inside fastball to Jason Bartlett that Bartlett turned around and almost put over the left field fence. In almost any other ballpark, or even had this been a day game, that fly ball is a world of trouble, and it's probably 7-0 Rays before we get first ups. Kudos to Safeco for helping keep this at least somewhat respectable.
So, a rough outing. The good news for Jakubauskas is that he's still in line to get at least a couple more starts, but the bad news is that tonight the Rays exposed him as a guy who has to be nearly perfect to succeed. Not that we didn't kind of know that already, but downsides tend to be more unpleasant once you actually experience them in person. I'm not real thrilled that his curveball command took a step back, since I'm not exactly enamored with his fastball frequency or effectiveness, but whatever, I guess it's all part of seeing who he is and watching him try to learn on the fly. I'm still rooting for him. I don't care how mediocre he is. Mediocrity hasn't kept me from rooting for our Australian Adonis.
- The Phillies only managed to score one run today against the Brewers. I only bring this up as an example that sometimes even the best units can have their bad days. Tonight, our team defense fell flat on its face. They didn't do anything egregious or commit anything particularly .gif-worthy, but here's the game log, according to my notes:
-Mike Sweeney muffs grounder in the first
-slow grounder rolls right by Yuni in the second
-foul pop-up lands right in the middle of Beltre, Jakubauskas, and Johnson in the second
-grounder rolls right under Ronny Cedeno's glove in the third
-high chopper bounces off of Cedeno's glove in the fourth
-Cedeno makes a wide relay home in the fourth
-Yuni gets eaten up by a grounder in the fifth
-Beltre makes a throwing error in the ninth
-Beltre then hesitates and double-pumps a throw in the next at bat
That's nine plays right there, and if a few of the early ones go the other way, this game might've ended up pretty different. Franklin Gutierrez, for what it's worth, was able to distance himself from this pack of losers by launching a pretty sweet assist to get Carl Crawford at second base. So that's something. Cedeno, meanwhile, had a miserable night. I'll give him some benefit of the doubt since he wasn't supposed to play, but a guy like him always needs to be ready for action, and tonight he screwed up. While Cedeno may want to get an opportunity to play more at short, he's not going to get it looking like this.
- One of the biggest problems with CERA is that, while a catcher can call whatever he wants wherever he wants, he has absolutely zero control over how well the pitcher throws the pitch, and how well he's able to locate it. For all we know, Rob Johnson called a perfect game tonight, but given the way Jakubauskas and the bullpen were throwing, nothing he could've done would've been able to in any significant way change the outcome. It's like using Stephen Hawking to explain astrophysics to a fish.
- Based on the instant replay, Mike Sweeney didn't injure himself swinging. He injured himself when he was finished swinging. God, he's old. His body, anyway. I don't care how young he thinks he is in his head, because his heart still sneaks off every afternoon to check out the early bird special at Sizzler.
- Adrian Beltre lined out to Carl Crawford in the bottom of the second today. For me it's gone beyond the point of coincidental bad luck and I'm beginning to think that the entire league has secretly pooled its scouting resources together to try and get their defenders positioned perfectly against him every time as part of some Truman Show-esque effort to fuck with his head.
- Dave mentioned it the other day, but if you remembered Sean White from his first time up here and kind of shrugged off his promotion, you might want to give him a second chance. Where he used to hang out around 89-91 with laughable command, now he's using a power sinker in the 93-95 range to attack the lower half of the strike zone and force hitters to pound the ball into the grass. That's quite a bit better. He still can't locate all that well, and his secondary stuff might as well not exist, but he's not the guy he used to be. Should Roy Corcoran go ahead and pitch himself off the roster, we may not have to go very far to replace his groundballs.
Felix Day tomorrow. In more ways than one.