So much for the Blue Jays' new and improved bullpen. The Blue Jays did not do much during the offseason, but they sure did rearrange their relievers.
After all, last year's bullpen blew 25 saves. Some were in the same game and some in games the Blue Jays won. But they were only 33-for-58 in save opportunities.
A little more than a month into this season, the new, improved bullpen has seven blown saves already. After Francisco Cordero, who has 329 career saves, coughed up his third save opportunity in five chances on Tuesday, the Blue Jays are now 4-for-11 in save opportunities.
"I didn't make any good pitches tonight," Cordero said. "It's hard for me to explain but I've got to start getting people out or I won't have any job at all.
He was called upon after the Blue Jays did their best to try to waste a leadoff triple by Eric Thames in the top of the ninth. But almost despite themselves, they were able to take a 3-2 lead on the Oakland A's.
Cordero, filling in for closer Sergio Santos, who is on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, took little time to waste that lead. And then he made the loss rather emphatic.
After allowing the game-tying run on a leadoff double, a sacrifice bunt and a single, Cordero allowed a stolen base, an intentional walk, was victimized by Jeff Mathis' passed ball before giving up another intentional walk, and then gave up a grand slam to Oakland's Brandon Inge, who recently was cut loose by the Detroit Tigers.
As an aside, Mathis is now 1-for-6 on steal attempts and regular catcher J.P. Arencibia is 5-for-12.
Mathis, who is known for his defensive prowess, seemed to have some trouble catching Cordero in the ninth besides the passed ball. He was in the game because -- get this -- Omar Vizquel batted for Arencibia. This was with runners at the corners with one out. Like Arencibia can't hit a fly ball?
"Right there, we were looking for a safety squeeze," manager John Farrell said. "As good a bat-handler as Omar is, I felt we could execute that play and I wanted to stay away from the double play."
Arencibia is batting .354 with one homer and 10 RBIs in his past 15 games. He has grounded into one double play in those games and two all season.
Vizquel popped up a bunt for the second out and pinch-runner Rajai Davis smartly returned to third. Kelly Johnson saved the inning with a two-out single, but Cordero couldn't save the game as the Blue Jays lost 7-3 to the A's.