Jays can't sweep away Marlins
Jays pitcher Jesse Chavez allowed six runs on seven hits, losing to the Marlins in Miami on Sunday, June 24, 2012. (Darren Hauck/Reuters/Files)
Seldom have the Blue Jays gone so quietly and meekly to their fate as in Sunday's 9-0 whitewash at the hands of the Miami Marlins.
Good pitching can make even the most aggressive teams look passive and it didn't take long for Mark Buehrle, the Marlins' ace, to establish his own brand of soft-tossing dominance.
By game's end, this 35th defeat of the season had become a foregone conclusion, lost in the news of the imminent return of Adam Lind to try to re-discover the success at the big-league level that he has obviously rekindled in Las Vegas.
Lind and Ben Francisco, rehabbing a left hamstring at Double A New Hampshire, have been activated and will be in Boston Monday for the start of a three-game series against the Red Sox. To make room, David Cooper and Mike McCoy were shuffled back to Las Vegas.
"I don't know what we're going to get when he gets here, but I know that everyone who has seen (Lind) play, and the staff that has worked around him, say he's ready to come back," said general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "He's definitely earned his way back here. He's made some adjustments and his confidence is back, which I think is big."
Lind has been tearing the cover off the ball (as everyone seems to) at Las Vegas. In 32 games, including one at-bat Sunday before he was pulled from a game against Sacramento, he has hit eight homers and driven in 29 runs with a .395 batting average and an OPS of 1.120.
With interleague play now closed for the season, Lind will step back in at first base for the most part against right-handed pitching. Edwin Encarnacion will DH against right-handers and play first base against lefties. Francisco offers the option to have another right-handed bat in the lineup against some lefties, which will allow Farrell to limit Lind's exposure to left-handed pitching if he chooses.
"The way he's been swinging the bat in Vegas, he's gone down there and done exactly what we hoped he would do," said Farrell. "He's back in a positive frame of mind. He's gotten much better rhythm to his overall approach and swing. He's ironed some things out and seems to be back in a good place."
Where that puts Lind in the lineup is anyone's guess. Kelly Johnson has scuffled somewhat in the No. 5 hole, so it's possible Lind could step in there. If Farrell wants to start Lind off slowly, he might hit him seventh.
"John has talked about various scenarios and hasn't committed," said Anthopoulos. "I think he's going to think about it on the plane."
Farrell will probably save a few thoughts for Jesse Chavez, as well. In his second start, Chavez gave up four runs in one three-pitch sequence in the second inning and two more runs in another three-pitch sequence in the sixth that allowed Miami to win for only the third time in 18 games.
The most destructive blow was a three-run home run to former Jay John Buck that capped Miami's four-run rally in the second.
"That was the one that stung," admitted Chavez. "I was just trying to get ahead with a contact pitch and I didn't get it down enough, trying to get a ground ball. After that I settled in for a little bit. We had that one hiccup in the sixth. Other than that I attacked the zone and kept away from the walks. It was just one of those things."
In between the Buck homer and Jose Reyes' leadoff walk in the sixth, Chavez wiped out 12 of 13 hitters.
"He settled down and kept the game under control after that," said Farrell. "The way Buerle was pitching we were able to get some hits but unable to bunch too many together. A disappointing way to end this series, yet it's a series win on the road. We have to regroup and go into Boston."
The Jays, with a 9-9 finish to interleague play, have now gone five seasons since they had a winning record against the National League.
After a promising first inning, Chavez came out throwing beach balls in the second. Greg Dobbs led off with a single then Chavez got ahead 0-2 on Omar Infante before he doubled, touching off a devastating three-pitch sequence for Chavez. Scott Cousins hit the next pitch for an RBI-single, then Buck belted the next one over the wall for a three-run homer.
While Chavez was accepting blame for the Marlins' uprising, truth was they only needed one run to win this for Buehrle, who allowed only one baserunner, Brett Lawrie, to get beyond second base.
Lawrie was gunned down trying to score from second on a Colby Rasmus single in the fifth inning.