Ferguson: Jays' frustration mounts after tough 10 days

Scott Ferguson
5/16/2012 7:02:16 PM
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Brett Lawrie's helmet tossing meltdown Tuesday night at Rogers Centre embodied all the anger and frustration the Toronto Blue Jays and their fans have been feeling over the past 10 days.

Not only did the Blue Jays get swept by the Tampa Bay Rays, they dropped to 4-10 against their AL East opponents and fell below .500 at home to 8-9.

Lawrie certainly deserved to be upset after home plate umpire Bill Miller clearly blew the calls on 3-and-1 and 3-and-2 pitches from Rays closer Fernando Rodney.  Both were balls and Lawrie should have been on first base instead of being rung up on strikes.

Unfortunately, throwing his helmet got Lawrie a four-game suspension. Yes the helmet bounced, but it was thrown in Miller's direction and hit him in the side.

Brett and the club are filing an appeal to the suspension, which will allow Lawrie to play out the rest of the homestand at the very least.

The interesting thing is the very same group of umpires headed by crew chief Dale Scott will be working the Yankees series, starting tonight at Rogers Centre, and Miller will be at third base Wednesday night.

The Jays have now dropped seven out of their last 10 games and their defence, once the strength of the team, is falling apart. It's hard to believe, but the team now leads the American League with 37 errors.

The Yankees hit town tonight holding down the second Wild Card spot with a 20-16 record.  Injuries, especially to their bullpen, have held them back.

Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of them all is gone for the season.  His replacement, lefty David Robertson, went on the DL this week with a strained rib cage muscle, leaving the closing duties to Rafael Soriano, who had 45 saves with the Rays two years ago.

Outfielders Brett Gardner and Raul Ibanez are hurting as well.

The Jays need Kyle Drabek to recapture his mechanics from his first three starts this season and break out of his four-game slide in the opener against Hiroki Kuroda, one of the Yanks big free agent pick-ups in the off season.

In the series finale on Thursday night, rookie Drew Hutchison, who was outstanding in his last start against the Twins, goes up against Phil Hughes.

As mentioned, the Jays are under .500 at home this year, but oddly enough only five teams in the entire American League are above .500 in their own ballparks so far this season. Those teams would be the Baltimore Orioles, the Rays, Yankees, Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  There are 10 teams in the National League that are above .500 at home.  I can offer no explanation in either case.

A team that I have trouble figuring out are the Angels.  They did exactly what fans implored the Blue Jays to do in the off-season. They added a quality starting pitcher in C.J. Wilson and picked up a superstar bat in free agency in Albert Pujols.

So where are they now?  They're in third place in the West at 16-21 and Pujols is hitting .197.

You knew something had to give. So on Tuesday night the team fired hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, a close friend of skipper Mike Scoscia, who had been with the team going back to their World Series Champion team of 2002. Rookie GM Jerry DiPoto replaced Hatcher with Jim Eppard who had been in the organization for close to 10 years.

A quick thought:  I wonder if Josh Beckett is celebrating his combined shutout Tuesday with another round of 18?

Scott Ferguson is the Sportscentre Update anchor from 4pm et tp 7pm et from Monday to Friday and Blue Jays analyst/reporter.

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