TORONTO — The bullpen has been the source of frustration for the Blue Jays for the bulk of the 2012 season, although Darren Oliver and Casey Janssen have proved themselves to be exempt from the criticism.
Unfortunately, the pair of relievers were responsible for the the runs that sealed Toronto’s fate, an 8-5 loss at the hands of the Boston Red Sox (65-80) on Friday night at Rogers Centre, putting an end to the Blue Jays (65-78) six-game winning streak.
This three-game series is the final meeting of the two teams, as they battle to stay out of the basement in the American League East.
Janssen came into the game after Oliver allowed a single in the ninth. He put the first batter away, but gave up a single to Cody Ross, followed by a two-run triple to Mauro Gomez.
Gomez would eventually score on a sacrifice fly.
In his second start since rejoining the rotation, Aaron Laffey looked like he would breeze through the Boston line up as he has in his previous starts against the club, but all took a turn for the worst in the fourth.
He offered up singles to the first two batters, and allowed Ryan Lavarnway to drive them in with his second career home run to tie the game at 3-3.
Laffey lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on four hits. He issued three walks, and struck out one batter before manager John Farrell called the bullpen. It was the shortest outing of the season for the 27-year old.
Earlier in the week, Daisuke Matsuzaka discussed with the media the pressures of wearing the historic Red Sox uniform as a reason for his upsetting season with the club. The pressure was apparent in front of 21,888 in Toronto for the Friday night affair.
Toronto took an early lead in the third, taking advantage of the pending-free agent’s inability to find the strike zone.
Without a hit in the frame, the Blue Jays were privy to three runs as a result of three walks, a hit batter, and two wild pitches.
Matsuzaka’s evening turned around in the next innings, and he retired the next six batters he faced, lasting 98 pitches. He struck out five, and allowed just three hits, helping the Red Sox avoid their sixth straight loss to the Blue Jays.
Brett Lawrie made a costly error in the fifth with two outs, allowing the Red Sox to tack on two more runs.
The Jays’ third baseman tried to get creative with the final out, instead of throwing for the easy out at first. He attempted to get in the way of Mike Aviles on his way to third, but Aviles snuck by and was ruled safe.