After leading the division as late as May 23rd and being 8 games over .500, the Blue Jays have faded 14 games under and 25 1/2 back. They are currently twice as close in the standings to the Orioles than the Rays... and that's never a good thing. Even our optimistically-named pal eyebleaf is having a hard time stomaching the downward spiral and it's tough to blame him.
Roy Halladay wasn't traded, which should have made most Jays fans happy, but due to his poor performance since the deadline and the erosion of the time left on his contract, his value is steadily decreasing for what is looking more and more like an inevitable trade this offseason. Alex Rios is gone and in return, the club got salary relief which theoretically could be used in the future, but the fans got a heaping helping of nothing for now. We don't even need to talk about Vernon Wells.
However, tonight's starter for the Jays, Ricky Romero has been one of the remaining bright spots on the team. The 24 year old rookie lefty has pitched 136.2 innings, struck out 104, is averaging 6 innings per start, has a 3.95 ERA and a 11-6 record, behind only Halladay in those categories. The Yanks have seen him twice this year and he's earned a win and a no-decision by pitching 6 & 6 1/3 innings and giving up 3 runs each time.
Chad Gaudin will be making his second start as a Yankee today. He had a rather odd start his other time out, facing another one of his former teams, the A's. Gaudin gave up no runs, and onyl one hit in 4 1/3 innings, but walked 5 and saw his pitch count quickly escalate, finishing with 90. Gaudin didn't get the win, but the Yankees did. It's hard to expect a whole lot out of Gaudin today and logic dictates that his pitch count will be limited once again. But the bullpen is deep with call ups and waiting to back him up.
Gaudin was one of the minor moves Brian Cashman executed this season and I discussed earlier today; just a small solution to a seemingly big problem.
So if you are the big tree,
We are the small axe,
Ready to cut you down (well sharp),
Sharpened to cut you down.