Some mornings when I’m writing a post after the Blue Jays have lost, it feels like I’m writing a post-mortem.
Video Recap April 21
Jose Bautista continued to be angry. Looked like this ump hated both sides with a staring contest with Bautista and an ejection of Matt Wieters of the Orioles in the 5th inning.
After seeing Donaldson’s 2015 catch in the stands on the highlight reel like a hundred times, I didn’t expect to see him miss one. This Trumbo foul shot, Donaldson had in his glove, but dropped when he fell into the stands. This time, he didn’t have Toronto fans protecting his face.
Pitching and Offense
The talk all off-season was ‘the starting rotation…, the starting rotation…’ and the offense was a given. Well the starting rotation is just fine, but what is with the offense?
The 3 key offensive players, Edwin Encarnacion (AVG .299), Josh Donaldson (not Josh MacDonald, Buck) (AVG .284), and Jose Bautista (AVG .276) have been doing fine and Michael Saunders (AVG .321) seems happy in the leadoff spot. The Jays were 5-7 with Pillar in leadoff, and 3-2 with Saunders in leadoff. But the rest of the lineup is still struggling with 2 and a half hitters still below .200.
Passed balls and Permeable gloves
Remember how disappointing Wednesday night’s game was when Joe Biagini got his signs crossed and threw the wrong pitch to Josh Thole. Thole who tends to turn his glove away towards balls pitched towards his opposite side, allowed a passed ball which scored the tie-breaking 10th inning run. Thole looked like he was going to cry. A lot of people asked, why wasn’t Russell Martin in there instead? Well, turns out, the very next day, Martin also allowed a passed ball pitched from Brett Cecil in the the bottom of the 8th. This allowed Joey Rickard to advance to 2nd, which then allowed the tie-breaking run when Bautista couldn’t come up with Manny Machado’s bloop to right field.
Machado also got a fluke hit after his line drive went right through the webbing of Donaldson’s glove. It’s interesting to hear opposing team commentary. The Orioles commentator’s statement was ‘that’s why you’re not supposed to catch the ball with the webbing’. Whatever dude.
Same thing happened to Tulowitzki’s glove on April 5th. This one was predictable since his glove has been on it’s last legs for a while.
Sigh. Overall, considering the Blue Jay bats are stale, they are still managing to hover around a .500 record. If they could just clean up a few things, they could still stay in the running. If they clean up their defense which for the most part is great, AND the bats wake up, they really should be unstoppable, right? Sounds easier said than done.
So R. A. Dickey had his typical bad 1st inning on Wednesday and allowed 3 Baltimore runs. The Toronto Blue Jays then slowly clawed their way back to a 3-3 tie scoring a run in the 3rd, 5th and 7th innings.
Michael Saunders scored on a single by Edwin Encarnacion in the 3rd. Josh Donaldson got his 6th homer of the season on a line drive to right centre field. He’s on pace to hit 59 homers this season! Possible? Heck yeah! (Well, on the other hand, he’s also on pace to have 187 strikeouts.) And Edwin got another RBI on a line drive double to score Saunders in the 7th to tie the game.
Things were looking promising for Josh Thole when he threw Nolan Reimold out trying to steal 2nd base in the bottom of the 9th, a la Russell Martin. But the elation wouldn’t last…
Ubaldo Jimenez’ pitching windup. Looks like his arm gets dislocated behind before he sling shots it over his head. This is after a praying mantis set-up.
#1 Pillar’s 1st at bat was pretty ugly. He pretty much gave up that he was looking for one away, (as he always does), so of course they jammed him up on the inside.
#2 Ryan Goins stole 2nd base in the 4th inning although didn’t make it home. But in the 6th, he was thrown out at home on a line drive single by Josh Thole.
#3 I’m liking Michael Saunders in the number 1 slot for hitting, but not so much his baserunning. Twice on Wednesday he made a mistake baserunning from 3rd base. In the 1st inning he succumbed to the double play after the pitcher caught the line drive by Encarnacion and threw Saunders out at 3rd.
Then in the 7th, he again didn’t stay on the bag until the pop fly was caught and by the time he went back to tag, he was too late to run home. Luckily, he was then sent home by Edwin with his double. So is there a stat for baserunning? Turns out there is.
BsR (Base running runs above average, includes Stolen Bases or Caught Stealing)
Saunders -0.7 compared to Pillar 0.5 and Donaldson 0.6.
So yeah, Saunders needs some baserunning practice.
What’s worse than a catcher that can’t catch? The bottom of the 10th. Extra innings. I’m not sure why Gavin Floyd wasn’t left in to pitch the 9th. He’s certainly doing better than Storen, and if the Jays successfully made it through the 9th, they knew they would need another arm. But after switching to Storen for the 9th, which he barely got out of, they had to bring Biagini in for the 10th. He loaded the bases but that wasn’t the worst of it. Josh Thole had a passed ball with Adam Jones batting, and the ball got far away from him so the winning run scored. Is that not the worst way to lose or what?
Reading this post you’ll sense my ennui. The Blue Jays lost their 4th straight game on Saturday for the first time since last May. Actually, they lost 5-in-a-low that time. This time losing the 2nd game of the home opening series to Boston. Today the feel around the city of Toronto felt down…subdued. Still they say, don’t worry, it’s early.
Despite 2 awesome 2-run homeruns by Jose Bautista, those 4 runs gained were negated a bit by a crazy bounce in right field on a line drive over the head of Jose which had him turning around and chasing it to the wall. This allowed 2 runs and left a runner on 3rd who eventually crossed homeplate as well.
A rare error on a missed throw by Dickey to 2nd base actually started the free fall. Dickey’s knuckleball however was looking quite amazing, which of course meant a few misses at home plate by Josh Thole. These cost a few bases as well.
Ok, I’ll be patient. Hoping for a win Sunday.
The Blue Jays gave us more of what we’ve come to expect on Monday night. Three homeruns (1 was a surprise), a flying catch by Pillar (that lands him in the wall), and tough plays made easy by shortstop Tulowitzki.
Why do I say 93 to go? Well, the Jays won 93 games last year to win the division, but, Kansas City won 95 to catch 1st in the American League, so I figure 95 is a good target!
Three homeruns. 1 surprise by Thole who hasn’t hit a HR since 2013, almost had it taken from him and he didn’t get to do a proper HR trot!
Flying catch by Pillar (that lands him in the wall)