Frank Francisco took the blown save and loss for Tuesday’s brutal meltdown in the Bronx, but manager John Farrell should also get an “L” for this one. There’s no way Marc Rzepczynski should have been allowed to face Russell Martin in the eighth inning with a runner on second. Martin, a right-handed hitter, drilled a single to centerfield for his second RBI of the game, bringing the Evil Empire to within 4-3 heading into the ninth. Francisco couldn’t hold the lead and the Jays lost 5-4 to the Yankees despite another outstanding game from Ricky Romero, whose ERA dropped to 2.91.
Sure, Francisco may have still botched the game even if the score was 4-2, but a two-run cushion creates a lot of different situations and emotions than a one-run game. And although you can’t be certain that Octavio Dotel or Shawn Camp or whichever righty might have faced Martin would’ve gotten the slugger out, you can’t ease up for a minute. But that’s what Farrell did — and what he’s done too often with his bullpen — in letting Rzepczynski pitch to one more hitter than he should have. Rzepczynski came in with two outs and a runner on third to do one thing: Get left-handed-hitting Robinson Cano out. When he failed to do that, allowing Cano to drive in a run with a double, he should’ve been pulled. Even though he’s done his job all season, you’re playing in the Death Star and no Jedi was ever named Rzepczynski (not even George Lucas could come up with that one).
The ninth was awful. The eighth, though, was where this one was lost.
The setback also ruined a decent night for J.P. Arencibia, who was 1-for-4 with an RBI and run scored in the Jays’ exciting fourth inning. They scored three runs using some patient hitting, smart base running and an outstanding John McDonald bunt. They also left the bases loaded when Jose Bautista struck out to end the threat. The Jays (24-24) led 4-1, but never came close to scoring again off C.C. Sabathia (5-3, 3.17 ERA) and that hurt.
WEDNESDAY: Jo-Jo Reyes (0-3, 4.07 ERA) at Freddy Garcia (2-4, 3.12 ERA), 1 p.m., Sportsnet
2011 J.P. Arencibia Statistics