The waters have been a little choppy for Jays closer Jeremy Accardo over the last two weeks. Including Friday night’s blown save against the Dodgers, the right-hander has allowed seven earned runs in his last six games (5.1 IP), while suffering the loss in each of the last two. That works out to an 11.81 ERA after posting a mark of 0.00 through his first 19 outings (21.0 IP) this season.
It’s a tough job being a closer, that’s for sure. You’re either a hero or a goat — and usually nothing in between. Whereas Tom Henke and Duane Ward were certainly more hero than goat when they served as the Toronto Blue Jays closer, the same cannot be said of Joey McLaughlin.
It was during the 1983 season that McLaughlin drew the ire of Blue Jays fans. Toronto, who for the first time since their entry into the league were legitimate contenders, found themselves just 2.5 games behind the Brewers and 2 back of the Orioles when they opened a series in Baltimore in late August. With a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the tenth in game two of that series (Aug. 24), McLaughlin coughed up a home run to Cal Ripken Jr., blowing the save opportunity in the process.
Four days later, McLaughlin entered with a 2-1 lead in the ninth against the Detroit Tigers. With runners on first and second and two out, the right-hander surrendered a walk-off three-run homer to Chet Lemon, marking the fourth time in five games that the Blue Jays had lost in the final inning. Needless to say, it had not been a good two weeks for McLaughlin. The fifth-year reliever had allowed a run in six straight appearances, going 1-2 with a 13.50 ERA during that span. Toronto, meanwhile, would go on to finish 9.0 games back of the division-winning Orioles.
Interesting fact: McLaughlin’s penchant for creating heartbreak among Blue Jays fans did not stop Toronto from drafting his son, Joey McLaughlin Jr., in the 18th round (537th overall) in the 2004 amateur entry draft.