For the third consecutive game, the Toronto Blue Jays squandered a strong start from Marcus Stroman.
This time Stroman pitched eight scoreless innings against the American League West leading Oakland Athletics. In that span of time, he limited the home team to three hits while striking out seven batters and issuing three free passes to first base.
Stroman has allowed three runs (all earned) and eight hits over his last three starts. Normally, that’s a recipe for success, but when your team suddenly can’t hit, it really doesn’t matter how many zeros you toss up since the offence isn’t there to carry its weight.
Baseball’s unique in that a pitcher can’t win games alone. It’s the one sport where a single player’s dominance can only carry his team halfway to the win column. A goalie can steal a shutout in hockey and we saw LeBron James carry the Cleveland Cavaliers for years, but there’s no real equivalent in baseball.
(If you want to get technical, I guess a pitcher in the National League can win on his own, but we’re talking about the Jays and the American League right now. I’m not sure anyone on the Jays is interested in winning these days anyway.)
Today’s loss to the Athletics is surely upsetting to Stroman, who deserved a stronger effort from the offence, but the loss on the whole must be pretty disappointing for the Jays. They’ve now conceded more ground in the American League East to the Baltimore Orioles and after a super hot May, their slow fall down the standings continues and shows no signs of ending anytime soon.
The Jays now stand 0.5 games behind the Orioles for first place. Baltimore has a doubleheader tomorrow so they have an excellent opportunity to pick up even more ground against the Jays, but that’s not the best news. We’ll get to see if the Jays can blow another strong start from Mark Buehrle tomorrow, who’s gone winless in his last five starts.
These are the joys of being a Jays fan these days.