They're the faces we've seen all too often this season; the patented Jesse Carlson facepalm and the Brandon League look of disbelief. The struggles of both of these young hurlers have been well documented this season and were evident once again today in the Blue Jays 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Once integral parts of the best bullpen in baseball in 2008, Carlson and League have fallen from grace and have become the two worst relievers on the club. First off, let's start with Brandon League; or as I'd like to call him for this example, Mr. Inconsistency. His Jekyll/Hyde act has been evident since Opening Day and it seems like every time Brandon League appears to have turned things around, he reverts back to his sub 5.00 ERA.
Then of course we have Jesse Carlson, who is showing all the signs and symptoms of a sophomore slump. As a rookie reliever in 2008, Carlson turned many heads by posting a 2.25 ERA through 69 appearances with the Blue Jays. This year has not been so kind to Captain Facepalm and just like Brandon League, Carlson has struggled to keep his ERA below the 5.00 for the most part of this season.
Out of both of these pitchers, the most frustrating to watch is Brandon League. As you can see above, Jesse Carlson's troubles have plagued him most of the season, whereas League flips between moments of sheer brilliance and then complete and utter frustration.
With a surplus of talented young relief pitchers on the Blue Jays staff and in the minor league system, I find it difficult to see a spot on the roster in 2010 for Jesse Carlson. But Cito Gaston's mancrush on Carlson has kept him on the team while pitchers like Jeremy Accardo and Dirk Hayhurst are banished to Las Vegas for no good reason.
I realize that it's very easy for relievers ERA's to fluctuate from game to game, but you can see that the struggles of Brandon League and Jesse Carlson have not been isolated incidents. Unfortunately, their lackluster performances have not brought them down on the totem pole in the bullpen and Cito Gaston continues to turn to League and Carlson in high leverage situations.
For the time being, I will continue to refer to them as Mr. Inconsistency and Captain Facepalm because that is what Brandon League and Jesse Carlson have done the best this season; be inconsistent and sit in the dugout and hang their heads in shame.