Toronto Baseball Guys
Saturday, May 28, 2011
  14 Inning Rollercoaster
And that’s exactly why I’m addicted to this drug called Blue Jay!
The highs, the lows and everything in between, It gives me purpose!

Saturday’s game had it all:
High 1: The Legend Grows: The recently quiet bat (call me an alarmist, but I was on the verge of calling slump) of Jose Bautista reminds Edwin Jackson that the major league player you most want to pitch around wears a bird on his hat (blue not red). It’s fun watching your team hit a three run homer in any case, but the combination of the vicious swing, the death stare and the bat toss along the first base line evoke emotions of pride, while generating an adrenaline rush that is usually accompanied by Joe Carter jumping around like a spaz (’92 or ’93 your choice).
Low 1: For starters, he’s not a starter: Watching Carlos Vallanueva crumble under the load of joining the rotation is infuriating, especially when he’s the bullpen stalwart that's needed to come in and clean up the starter’s mess.
Low 2: Santa, can I get a Pedroia for christmas? Aaron Hill can’t stay healthy, can’t hit line drives any more, and can’t glove hot shot grounders unless they’re directly at his body.
High 2: I run therefore I am: For the second consecutive game Jose “Bolt” Molina makes stuff happen with his feet. Our resident speedster broke for second on a 2 out, 2-2 pitch to Corey Patterson in the seventh, creating a hole in the infield turning an inning ending grounder, into a single leading to a three run inning.
High 3: I wouldn’t have sent VW to the Angels if they didn’t send that Rivera kid in return: Today’s two out three run double to put the Jays up 8-6 in the seventh, along with a relatively hot bat of late, will help to provide some much needed protection for Jose Bautista. He’s even been doing a nice job in the field, as evidenced by his fancy scoop on another Jayson Nix special in the sixth with a man waiting to score from second. Juan’s been getting the gears from the Toronto faithful for appearing to not care, but I’m starting to wonder if he’s just so smooth (I’m not kidding) that it looks like he’s not trying even though he is (think Devon White).
Low 3: Speaking of Devo and D-Fence: Even though Chicago’s Brent Lillibridge was credited with a triple off Octavio Dotel in the eighth, I was not particularly enthused by Rajai Davis’ failure to make the out on that play at the wall. It wasn’t an easy play, but it was definitely makeable, especially after Rajai finally took the right route to a ball. Knock VW all you want, but that guy knew exactly where the ball was going to land the second it made contact with the bat and his glove rarely missed a ball if it was in the vicinity. Even though he’ll be OPSing 0.550 I’m looking forward to the Gose era. Remember, they test for steroids now, all you need from your centre fielder is solid defence.
Low 4: This isn’t hockey: I’m not sure that Alexander Oechkin can slip the puck past goalies at the rate that baseballs have been eluding Jays’ catchers with wild pitches and passed balls in the last few games. You knew that the passed ball allowing Chicago to get within one run in the eighth was going be a problem.
Low 5: I’ll get the burger with a side of luck: Man! Konerko’s blooper fell within two feet of three different Jays’ gloves and brought home the tying run instead of representing the game ending out. I’m all about delayed gratification…can we save up our luck for a season when we’ll actually challenge for the playoffs? That blooper further supported the idea that “former closer” Frank Francisco isn’t exactly shedding the “former” part of that label. Oddly enough, he actually pitched quite well, but just didn’t get the breaks.
Low 6: The ultimate low came as Jason “Should be closing” Frasor gave way to Luis “mop up duty” Perez with men on first and third and one out in the eleventh. At this point, the ESPN game cast had Chicago’s win probability at 123%. I was so certain the game was over, that I turned off the TV to go for a pleasant walk with the Toronto Baseball Wife and child. The sun was shining, I was with my loved ones, and had no work to do, but spent the entire walk brooding about the win that had just slipped through our hands.
“Devo would have caught that triple”
“Henke wouldn’t have blown that save”
“Manny Lee wouldn’t have made that error at second”
“George Bell would have drop-kicked that Sox pitcher”
I was down in the dumps, with no way out until tomorrow’s opening pitch. We got back from the walk and the sadist in me went straight to the computer, somehow thinking that learning the details of the Jays’ loss would ease my pain…
High 4: Jays 9 Sox 8 (14 innings) we’re back baby! What happened, did they throw Patterson another two strike pitch over his head?

Some other thoughts:
-I’m kind of liking Corey Patterson. Corey, what are you doing tommorrow? Why don’t you come to my place so we can practice reading fly balls?
-Johnny Mac on the DL, Encarnacion sore toe and JP Arencibia’s catching hand thumb looked to be heavily taped today. Which three players not named Lawrie will be called up now? Hey, can you just call up Mike McCoy three times.
-I’m done with John Farrell. This guy’s a control freak who’s over managing pitchers in an attempt to win now. He’s showing no faith in his staff, and isn’t letting them work through difficult situations. Last year, Cito managed players first, games second. Last year, it was commonplace to see Cito stride to the mound to speak with a member of his young staff who had pitched himself into trouble. He would look them in the eye and ask if they wanted to take on the next batter. If he saw the fire in their eyes, he’d let them continue, if not he’d pull them. More often that not the pitchers stayed in the game, teaching these young men about playing through adversity, and working out of jams. These days, Farrell just jumps out of the dugout, angrily slaps his arm making the call to the ‘pen. There’s no way to quantify this, but it sure seemed like last year’s starting rotation was collectively more comfortable, confident and tenacious than this year’s group…but hey John, maybe we’ll get a few more wins this season, helping the Jays challenge for third place in the AL East.

Good luck with that.

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