Monday, June 7, 2010

Getaway Day Gets Away

By
Another day, another late-inning lead that slips away.

It was a rather deflating way to lose the final game in what was a relatively successful home stand. Before we delve into the intricacies of the game though, let's look at the positives.

A combined 6 and 3 record against two of the best teams in baseball (oh, and who could forget the and lowly Orioles). Not too shabby at all and definitely nothing to be disappointed about.

As I was live blogging the game yesterday on The Score, at the time I really didn't see any kind of mismanaging on Cito's part during the 8th inning. With first base open and two men on, the Blue Jays opt to intentionally walk Mark Teixeira to load the bases for Alex Rodriguez.

I can see Cito's logic there: not only does it put the force out at any bag, but now it sets up a double play possibility and the Blue Jays could emerge from the inning with a tied game. Instead, Gardner scores on the wild pitch but A-Rod strikes out anyway.

Now here's where things get tricky. After the wild pitch, all the runners move up a base which means first base is open and Cito has the option of giving Robinson Cano the free pass to first base if he so chooses.

Apparently the manager gave Jason Frasor the option of intentionally walking Cano or going after him. Frasor chose the latter. Robinson Cano made them pay with a two run-double.

There is no question that was the turning point of this game - but did Cito Gaston make the right call by letting Frasor pitch to Cano? My answer might surprise you, but I say yes.

There has been a lot of talk lately about how Cito has a lot of faith in his players ... sometimes too much faith, as we have seen very recently. But sometimes you have to forgo the numbers, forget the statistics and just go with your instincts.

Cito probably felt with his gut that Jason Frasor could get Robinson Cano out. After all, Frasor is one of the best strikeout pitchers in the bullpen and just struck out Alex Rodriguez with the bases loaded, so why couldn't he get Robinson Cano out too?

Sometimes you just have to give credit for the other guy for a great piece of hitting too. Derek Jeter got a hold of a slider that was low and outside the zone and ripped it down the right field line. Scott Downs made a great pitch but Jeter got just enough of it to keep the rally alive.

I don't think we can hang out hat on the manager or the bullpen for this loss either, for that matter. The lineup had their fair share of struggles as well. Simply put, you are going to have a very tough time beating the New York Yankees when you only manage to get three hits off them.

I probably feel worst of all for Brandon Morrow because he had one hell of a game and was just making those Yankee hitters look foolish out there. That now makes back to back starts where he has tosses seven innings.

The Blue Jays have the day off today to rest up before kicking off a nine game road trip starting with the Tampa Bay Rays. Considering the Blue Jays have a better record on the road then they do at home, that's probably not a bad place for them to be right now.

5 comments:

  1. I gotta say, walking Tex to get to A Rod was a little crazy. Though "the book" might say setting up the force is a good idea, the reality of Teixeira looking completely lost at the plate versus A-Rod's dominance with the bases and current hot streak made me wonder.

    I worked out in the end (sort of) but still a worrisome move in my mind.

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  2. Could you imagine Tony LaRussa giving a 1.7+ WHIP reliever the option of walking or pitching to someone? Unreal...

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  3. Drew, I was hoping that the stats backed my argument, but they didn't. Teixeira was 0 for 6 career vs. Frasor and Rodriguez was 6 for 14 career vs. Frasor.

    Matthias, you make a good point - it's not like Frasor's stats earned him the right to choose whether or not he should go after Cano or not.

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  4. The positive of this game was definitely Morrow totally dominating the Yankees for 7 innings. Striking out Jeter twice and only throwing one walk. Bad-ass. If dude can pitch like this more often from now on, the Jays have got themselves a serious rotation going.

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  5. Morrow was a pleasure to watch. He had is pitches under control (which was a great sign) and he tossed seven innings in back to back starts. Very impressive and I think the Morrow 2.0 that we've been seeing lately.

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