I was gonna write something about how the Jays offense has been sucking. But I'm tired of reading & writing about why Wilkerson shouldn't lead off (cause he sucks); or why Lind isn't playing LF in the majors (cause the Jays like hitting a collective 226/307/294 as LF's and Lind might actually do better than that...). So instead, I'm going to write a tribute to, arguably, the MVP of the bullpen.
I'll be honest - if you mentioned Carlson's name to me before the 08 season had started, I'd probably stare blankly at you and say we have enough lefties with Downs, Tallet & Ryan. But you know what, ever since his first appearance, back on April 10th against Oakland, with the bases loaded, I've been a huge fan of the guy.
He comes in with the bases loaded, and I'm just thinking "please god, just don't let him give up a grand slam...". I didn't have much faith in him until I started seeing that ridiculous breaking pitch, and that mid 80's fastball. For his first major league game, he was pretty damn calm and controlled. And before you know it, he's got his first major league strikeout. In his first major league appearance, with the bases loaded, he gets out of the jam and keeps the Jays in the game. That made a hell of an impression on me.
Not even a week later, the Jays were playing the Rangers. All the relievers had been used, and Gibbons went to his last Southpaw. Carlson dominated for three innings, allowing 1 hit, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts while keeping the Jays in the game, giving them every chance to win. Sure, AJ messed up in relief, but I'll always remember how Carlson dominated for 3 innings. Some of the hitters got to face him a second time, which usually means trouble for relievers. But Carlson adjusted to the hitters, and still got them out.
Whenever he comes into the game now, I'm just expecting him to get out of it without a problem. He's become a huge part of the bullpen, and he's definetly earned his spot. His stats are unbelievable - 1-0 record, with one save to his credit. He's got a 1.77 ERA, 22:6 K:BB, and a 0.93 WHIP. He's pretty damn effective against both lefty & righty hitters.
Honestly, I don't know where the Jays would be without him. I'm positive he's singlehandedly saved 2-3 games for the Jays. And I'm confident in the fact that once the league has seen him, and they know what to expect, Carlson will still find a way to adjust, surprise them and get them out.
So here's a salute to Jesse Carlson, the Southpaw who defied the odds to become one of the best arms in arguably the top bullpens in the game.