The sight of Brian Tallet last night was more than a little surreal. It was a bit like running into an ex, where you're left just a bit slack-jawed, thinking "oh, heeeeyyy...it's...you."
We'd never figured we'd see him much of Tallet again. Certainly not in a Jays uniform. Even after the trade that brought him back to the fold, we thought it was a long shot that he'd get back into the playing shape. We figured he'd head off into the sunset, and work on whatever side projects he and his fellow members of Broken Social Scene have planned for the Winter.
(That's him, second from the left...right?)
But there he was, his lanky frame once again draped in the familiar number 56 uniform, taking the ball in a most unfamiliar situation - looking for his first career save in six tries. We likely don't need to enlighten you as to what ensued, but in case you're reading this twelve years from now in some internet archive, Tallet basically threw the ball anywhere but in the strike zone, giving up two walks, two hits and two runs while getting just one out.
It would be easy to bury Tallet - and people on Twitter and elsewhere were calling for him to be DFAed before his cleats even left the playing surface - but we'd be somewhat charitable towards him given the extraordinary circumstances. Tallet hadn't pitched a big league game in almost two months after dealing with serious kidney issues, but Jays interim manager Don Wakamatsu had few other options than to run him out after having his pen run ragged in the series against the Rays.
When Casey Janssen couldn't go back out after a clean ninth, Wakamatsu basically had a choice between lefty Rommie Lewis and Tallet to go out and face a lineup full of right-handed bats heading into extra innings. Given that it was Tallet's first game back, holding Lewis for any subsequent extra innings was probably the right choice, unpalatable though it may have seemed.
We're not saying that Tallet's is an arm that we want to many more times this season. But we'll cut him some slack before calling for his immediate release. It wasn't the ideal situation for anyone involved.
UPDATE, 3:52 PM: And now, he's gone again. If we hadn't watched last night's game, we'd barely believe that he was here at all. We probably would have told you that you were mistaken, and it was just someone who looked like him.
We feel terrible for Tallet.