|Manager John Farrell's expression says it all as Morrow leaves the game.|
When I turned on the radio to listen to last night’s game partway through the first inning, the Jays’ young phenom Drew Hutchison’s night had already ended after just 9 pitches. I thought for a moment I was listening to the wrong game. In Monday’s game, Morrow, the team’s best starter this season, went down 9 pitches into the first inning. Sandwiched in between was Kyle Drabek, the centerpiece of the Halliday trade with the Phillies, who bowed out in the 5th when something popped in his elbow. At least he’d thrown 85 pitches. Today when Romero toes the rubber, I think everyone is going to hold their breath until the game finishes. If he goes down, you’ll be certain the baseball gods have it in for the Toronto nine.
I’m sure every diehard Jays fan is feeling pretty glum this morning. Drabek is most likely gone for the season, probably a good part of next season, as well. We’ll find out more later today about Hutchison, but everyone is bracing for the worst. As for Morrow, he’s got one of those injuries (strained oblique muscle) that seems to take forever to heal – and you know the team isn’t going to rush him back. That would be really asking for arm trouble to happen.
All of this is in top of losing the new closer, Sergio Santos, as well as the continuing struggles of Dustin McGowan and Jesse Litsch. No report on when they’ll be back according to the most recent injury list.
Mostly, I’m now understanding what Boston has been going through. Currently they have an even dozen on the DL, including two of their starters. The Nationals have a baker’s dozen. Holy Cow! What is going on this year?
The difference between the Jays and Boston and Philly is that the latter two are fairly “old” teams. The Jays recent spate of injuries is to comparative youngsters. Sure you can say that they’re young arms. I’ve read commenters on various boards saying it’s the fault of management that they won’t sign veterans who, for some reason, these joker’s think have tougher arms. Other are blaming the pitching coach. I’m sure the Jays’ brain trust would love to know (as would the rest of us) what, if anything, is being done wrong, because you can be certain that it would be fixed in a heartbeat.
Regardless, it’s easy to imagine this whole season slipping away from the hometown team. Last night they showed a lot of character by putting together a shutout win against the Phillies. Perhaps today, Romero will come out, throw the way he can at his best and we’ll once again bury the Phillies. But what happens Sunday when Cecil takes the mound? And what about two games later? I don’t think Aaron Laffey is the answer. Bring up one of the young guns from the minors? Trade for a veteran? Burn out Carlos Villaneuva again?
Whatever they do, the Jays will signal by their actions in the next few days whether they’re going to just tough it out and mark time until next year, or do something dramatic to stay in the hunt for the post season. And we poor fans are just left watching whatever happens and trying to keep the faith.
It’s going to be tough.