No one seemed very sure what happened to Dice-K in that fifth inning. He wasn't having his best game ever, having given up two runs in the first, but he wasn't bad. Aside from allowing a few too many base runners and throwing too many pitches for comfort, I was pretty pleased with him, so I was more than baffled when he mysteriously came out of the game after allowing a single to Ichiro to lead off the fifth. I've since watched replays, and I'm still not sure what happened to him. Now, I know they called it a strained right elbow... I just didn't see any sort of reaction from him to lead to his exit. Apparently, Tito said they were a little quick-handed in removing him since he's not scheduled to miss a start as of right now. Whatever happened, someone saw something that they didn't like, and Dice was lifted from the game.
Albers came in to complete the 5th, allowing a run on a sloppy error, and bringing the score to 4-3. He also pitched a pretty nifty 6th. At this point, everyone in the crowd was feeling pretty good, and lavishing praise on Mike Cameron, the man with the 100 watt smile and two home runs for the night.
And then came Jenks.
I feel like I've written that before, and I know for a fact it won't be the last time I'll write it. To say that Jenks was anything less than terrible would be misleading. He was terrible. In his one inning of work, in which he had a one-run lead, where we were counting on his closer experience to navigate us closer to victory, he took a sharp left turn off a cliff. Allowing two doubles, a single, and a walk, he left the mound at the end of the seventh, not only blowing the game, but allowing the winning run to score. In only took him nine pitches to surrender the tying run and fifteen pitches to send us all home angry.
I can't just harp on Jenks, even though I want to. Our bats had plenty of chances to pick him back up and couldn't do it. As with every other loss this season, there was plenty of squandering going on. Again, they just can't hit with runners in scoring position. It's disheartening, but maybe they just aren't that good. Maybe what we've seen is what we get. I mean, how long does a team have to play .300 ball before we acknowledge that they're not good? Acknowledging won't make me love them any less, it'll just make the disappointment sting less. After all, how can you be disappointed in a bad team for playing badly?
Next up, another loss brought to you by a lack of offense. Sigh.