Jul 20, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Casey Janssen (44) is relieved by manager John Gibbons (5) during the ninth inning in a game against the Texas Rangers at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

As Casey Janssen Continues to Struggle, the Toronto Blue Jays Continue to Fall

If you ignore the final inning of yesterday’s matchup against the Detroit Tigers, it’d be fair to say the Toronto Blue Jays did everything else right on the night and put themselves in good position for the win.

Aug 8, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Tigers outfielders Rajai Davis (20,) Ezequial Carrera and Torii Hunter (48) leap in celebration behind shortstop Eugenio Suarez (left) after defeating Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The offence clicked, giving the team an early 4-0 lead and combined for 13 hits overall. That’s a fair amount of production for guys supposedly struggling at the plate these days. It’s true they left 13 runners on base and 10 in scoring position, but those things will smooth themselves out over time. The key thing is making good contact with the ball to start everything off.

For his part, starter R.A. Dickey survived a scare in the third inning to leave the game after six frames with the lead. He allowed two earned runs off five hits and four walks, striking out six batters along the way. The win would’ve been his tenth one of the season, which isn’t bad considering his struggles earlier in the year.

Dickey also managed to keep the ball in the park last night – an incredibly rare feat for him. He’s currently tied for fifth among all MLB pitchers for the most home runs allowed this season (20).

After Dickey left the game, Dustin McGowan and Brett Cecil each pitched a perfect inning of relief. This was another bonus to see considering the recent struggles of these two relief arms.

This set the stage for Casey Janssen, who entered the game in the top of the ninth inning with the Jays ahead. Normally, no one would double guess the decision to call on Janssen to close out the game, but he’s been struggling since the all-star break and the Jays desperately needed this win to remain in the playoff conversation.

Janssen quickly gave up a double to the first batter he faced, then conceded a pair of home runs one batter later to see the Tigers jump ahead 5-4. He would record the second out of the inning before allowing another double, which marked the end of his night. Aaron Loup replaced him to retire the final batter via strikeout.

Over his last ten appearances, Janssen has allowed nine runs in 8.1 innings of work. His struggles have been well documented, but he’s coming off a trio of good outings against the Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles so many people simply assumed the struggles were over.

Thus, you can’t really blame John Gibbons for bringing Janssen into the game, but it does give you cause to rethink the Jays’ luck these days. They can’t pull off the win even when everything else goes right for them.

It really is a tough time for the Jays. You can understand their frustration. We’ll have to wait and see how tight they look in today’s game.

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Tags: Casey Janssen Toronto Blue Jays

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