BOSTON — It was pinata day at Fenway Park and just about everybody in attendance took their whacks at Jo-Jo Reyes.
Or so it seemed.
The Blue Jays lefty had one of those days that a pitcher surely dreads; he had absolutely nothing from the first pitch he tossed.
Reyes, who allowed just one earned run and lasted seven innings in his prior start against Seattle, was nothing like that on Saturday in taking the loss in a 4-1 defeat.
Reyes, who looks like a lock to be the odd man out when Brandon Morrow returns, allowed the first five batters he faced to reach base — three hits and two walks — as the Red Sox built a quick 2-0 lead.
He needed 37 pitches to get through the first inning, 30 more in the second when Jed Lowrie touched him for a two-run home run and fired 84 in his three-plus innings.
By the time he was yanked by manager John Farrell — which marked the lone time anybody made a mound visit — the score seemed like it was 20-1 instead of the 4-1. In all, he was dinged for seven hits and walked five.
“You don’t want to have an outing like that,” Reyes said. “Warming up I felt good. I didn’t have any problems in the bullpen so I’ll look at film and see what was wrong. I wasn’t able to make the in-game adjustments today. The biggest key was not throwing strikes.”
Morrow is back at class-A Dunedin rehabbing and is scheduled to make his third start Sunday. That would put him in line to start on April 22 at the Rogers Centre against Tampa (Reyes spot) if the Jays are so inclined.
“Brandon’s scheduled to make his third and final start on rehab tomorrow and we’ll have a number of days to figure out and assess what our plan will be going forward,” Farrell said.
Look for Morrow to be back next Friday.
While Reyes struggled, Josh Beckett, a pitcher the Jays have had great success against in the past, cruised. In seven innings, he allowed one run on three hits and struck out nine.
“His curveball was really great today,” Farrell, his former pitching coach said. “He mixed in his off-speed pitch a little bit more than he typically used. He was able to spread the zone top to bottom and was very good with his overall strike zone. He pitched a very good game.”
Fenway Park likes to bill itself as “America’s Most Loved Ballpark” — a self-serving aggrandizement if there ever was one. Actually it’s an old dump with some quirky charm, one being the right field foul pole known as Pesky’s Pole. It’s an oddball corner at best as the foul line runs right next to the stands which turn slightly to the left when viewed from home plate. Viewed from home plate, the foul line looks to be a continuous line down the field to the five-foot wall and up to Pesky’s Pole, the line and the pole being painted a bright yellow.
The problem, as exhibited by Adam Lind’s curving line drive in the opening inning of Friday’s game, is that when viewed from anything but behind home plate, the lines don’t appear to match up. As Farrell noted correctly, there’s the line on the field, the line on the wall and the pole itself and if you move left of home late, they don’t seem to line up at all. And that’s exactly where Lind’s ball travelled on Friday. It was fair, curved towards the line, hit atop the wall, probably in fair ground, and then skipped right of the pole, missing it by a couple of hairs. First base ump Paul Nauert initially called it fair, a three-run home run.
But then the Red Sox argued, the umpires held a conference, they went to look at replays and ultimately ruled the ball to be foul which meant it was a long strike and nothing else.
On Saturday morning, the lines and the pole were still a hot topic of discussion.
“There’s only one Fenway Park,” Farrell exclaimed. “It was a topic of discussion last night and continues to be today. If you stand at home plate and look down the line, it’s one continuous line. When you take any other angle, there are three yellow stripes. You’d think one of two things has to happen, either you make one continuous stripe, a foul line, or on replay you only use an angle that keeps it one continuous line. That’s my logic. When you take a different angle on the replay, it opens up so many other questions. Where does the line start and end and does it really negate the use of instant replay? I don’t know what the next step is?”
It’s Fenway. It’s baseball.