|Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures|
Considering how badly Brandon Morrow's last outing went, I'd say that was a very successful bounce-back performance. Six innings of two-hit ball was more than enough to keep the bluebirds close going into the latter stages of the game.
When I look at what happened with the bullpen though, it's almost a carbon copy of what happened last Tuesday against the Yankees. Marc Rzepczynski gives up the tying run(s) and Frank Francisco allows the game-winning run to cross the plate.
Last week I was ready to defend Marc Rzepczyski and Frank Francisco, but I think it's safe to lay some blame on these guys for the loss last night. Zep came in to face three batters and only threw one strike! Three straight walks is just inexcusable.
Frank Francisco on the other hand, had no problem finding the strike zone, he was just nickel and dimed to death with three singles. In his past seven appearances, Francisco has allowed 16 baserunners and opponents are hitting .483 off him during that stretch (thanks to John Lott for the legwork on that one).
If it seems like Frankie always has somebody on base whenever he's on the mound, it's because he does. Sometimes those last three outs can be the toughest to get, but Francisco just cannot nail down those outs without either making it a nervous ninth or giving up the game-winner.
At this point, I'm not really sure what the solution is ... but like Mike Wilner suggested, hopefully things will eventually just even themselves out with Frank Francisco.
On the offensive side, both teams were equally lackluster as the Blue Jays were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and the Royals were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position. That one hit for the Royals ended up being the difference maker.
I wouldn't call this an especially deflating loss because this game never really felt like it was within the Blue Jays grasp anyway. Midway through, it was evident this one was going to be decided by a looping single anyway. And this time, it just so happened not to be off the bat of the Blue Jays.