Wednesday night was certainly one time we really, truly recognized Osuna’s absence,” said Walker.
Osuna, considered one of the best closers in baseball despite a league leading 10 blown saves last season, was charged with assault by Toronto police on May 8 and put on administrative leave by MLB through May 28.
On Wednesday night at the Rogers Centre, the Jays held a 3 1 lead heading into the top of the ninth http://www.jaysfanaticsjersey.com/drew- ... -c-10.html, and for the second straight game Toronto manager John Gibbons gave the ball to Tyler Clippard. The lanky right hander was a closer at one time in his career but it’s not the job the Jays brought him in for this year. Clippard gave up four runs on two hits and three walks as the Jays lost 5 4 Wednesday.
It’s not hard to imagine more of that this season.
With Osuna gone, Gibbons and Walker have to fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to selecting a reliever to close games, not a good scenario for any team. In a perfect world, relief pitchers have a set role. But this point in Toronto, the closer job is a revolving door. The Jays are tied for fifth in blown saves in the AL this season with seven — Ryan Tepera has three T2 and Clippard two.
More and more every day, not having Osuna is hurting the Jays and nobody knows how long he’ll be gone, or even if he’ll be back this season.
“I mean, obviously we miss him,” said Walker. “It’s a big part of this team. He’s the hammer at the end of a game http://www.jaysfanaticsjersey.com/marcu ... -c-11.html, So without him it’s tough, but our bullpen has been good and certainly we have guys that can do the job and hold the fort. But it is what it is http://www.jaysfanaticsjersey.com/aaron ... y-c-9.html, and it’s where we’re at right now.”
The Jays’ bullpen has carried the team for much of the season but there have been some cracks forming in recent games.
Fireballer John Axford has struggled in his four appearances Edwin Encarnacion Jersey, giving up eight hits and seven runs in 2.1 innings. On May 13, he had an ERA of 1.31. Now it’s 3.91.
Axford had been mentioned as a potential closer, but it’s doubtful either he or Clippard will be pitching the ninth inning any time soon. That leaves either Seung hwan Oh or Ryan Tepera as the possible closer in the immediate future.
Oh has closed, Tepera not so much. Clearly not an ideal situation.
“ But they’re all capable,” said Walker. “They’ve had such good seasons to this point and obviously a couple of tough ones lately . Oh’s certainly done it before and had a lot of success. Tepera hasn’t necessarily closed games but he’s been throwing extremely well the last couple of years and has pitched in some high leverage situations, so I’m sure he could be out there as well. I think it’s going to come down to our matchups late in the game at this point, who we consider to be the best matchup for the eighth or the ninth inning.”
The one stat that sticks out in terms of the Jays’ struggles on the mound is walks. The Jays are second in the American League in walks given up with 185.
“Obviously walks are a concern,” said Walker. “And it seems like lead off walks and two out walks, and just untimely walks have hurt us.
“Attacking the zone is a priority for this staff, starters and relievers,” Walker added. “Give up the solo home run every once in a while. It’s not the worst thing in the world. Sometimes those walks seem to get the ball rolling a little bit.”
ESTRADA DON’T WRITE US OFF YET
Even though it’s only May, it’s tough to fathom that the Blue Jays will have any chance of making the playoffs this year.
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are starting to look like the juggernauts most baseball people thought they would be. The Jays, on the other hand, are tumbling out of the picture. With Thursday’s 8 1 loss to the Angels, Toronto fell to 23 27.
But pitcher Marco Estrada for one, believes it’s too early to write his team off.
“Well, this is a funk right now,” said Estrada, who took the loss Thursday. “But I think we’re going to be just fine. Every team goes through this, unfortunately we’re going http://www.jaysfanaticsjersey.com/edwin ... -c-18.html through it right now. We’re better than this, we really are. Whether people believe it or not, I don’t really care because I know we are better.
“I know I’m much better. I’m not pitching like it right now, but I will get better.”
Most frustrating for the fans is that the Jays aren’t even winning at home 12 17 .
“We always love playing at home,” said Estrada. “We just got to turn it around because we love playing here. Just got to start winning ball games to get more fans. We like when the stadium’s loud and it hasn’t been and obviously it just starts with us winning.”
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