Jays unable to find winning formula
Bats can't reach Tribe's Lee after Richmond falters early
TORONTO -- Indians starter Cliff Lee has been dominating American League hitters all season long. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, Sunday's 4-0 loss to the Tribe at Rogers Centre was no different, as the pitcher showed exactly why he is considered among the front-runners for the AL Cy Young Award this year.
"Sometimes you have to give credit to the guy on the mound," said Jays slugger Vernon Wells, who went 0-for-4 in his return from the disabled list. "[Lee's] done it all year, and unfortunately, he was able to do it today."
The Jays (59-59) were able to garner eight hits off of Lee, but the starter scattered those throughout his eight innings of work. Lee seemed to own the strike zone throughout, as indicated by his pitch count.
Lee (16-2) threw 104 pitches, 83 of which were strikes. It was a statistic that impressed Toronto manager Cito Gaston.
"That's a pretty good average right there," Gaston said. "That's awesome. He pitched strikes, good location. We got eight hits off him, hit the ball hard a few times, but when we got some guys on base, he seemed to reach back and get a little bit more and got us out. That's the sign of a guy that's 16-2."
With the loss, the Jays were swept in the three-game series. Over the three games against Cleveland (52-64), they managed a total of just four runs.
On Sunday, Toronto starter Scott Richmond was the latest pitcher to suffer from a lack of run support. In just his third Major League start, Richmond (0-2), was not at his best, as he had to make do without command of his best pitch -- his fastball.
Richmond worked himself into jams during the game, as he allowed a career-high nine hits. However, the right-hander only allowed three runs -- an RBI double from David Dellucci and run-scoring singles from Jhonny Peralta and Ryan Garko.
Richmond has given up three runs in each of his starts this year.
"Not bad," said Gaston. "To get a win, you have to score some runs for him. He went up against one of the toughest pitchers in baseball. If he can continue to give the opposition three runs, I'll tell you what, he's got a chance to be a good pitcher."
Gaston was also impressed with the fact that the pitcher did not fold, despite allowing a plethora of baserunners.
"He's battled out there," Gaston said. "That just says what he's about. He's been battling all his life. He doesn't quit out there, neither. Hopefully, one of these days we'll score some runs and give him some breathing room."
In addition to the loss on Sunday, the Jays learned after the game that third baseman Scott Rolen was headed to the 15-day DL with soreness in his left shoulder. He is the 15th player to go on the DL for the Jays this year.
"This is a club that has had a lot of injuries this year," Gaston said. "Teams that win, they stay pretty injury-free for most of the season. It hasn't been that way this year. And we had a bit of it last year, too.
"You can't suffer too many injuries, and we've had quite a few this year."
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.