Friday, 29 April 2011
3 outta 4 is pretty good
Holy shit! That was scary, huh? In case you missed it, some guy was trying to brush back the 10th wonder of the world on an 0-2 fastball and actually barely missed his head. The ball got him on the hand, which is just as scary really, given all the small breakable bones there. Bautista laid on the ground in pain for about a minute before heading to first, only to be stranded there when Adam Lind struck out with the bases loaded to end the 7th inning.
If you missed this game due to not being lazy and actually doing something with your day at from 2-5PM, I've got you covered. Adam Lind hit a big 2-run blast in the first inning after Jose Bautista walked, which is awesome enough to earn the Zaun-head, his second in three games. If there's anything that's going to stop Bautista from being pitched around, it's Adam Lind heating up. Or maybe they'll just keep walking Bautista and he'll have the best offensive season ever that way and take their chances with Lind, who knows?
Texas answered back with a run in the bottom of the first, and another in the third, both aided by stolen bases. From there, it was pretty much business as usual for two pretty good pitchers in Brandon Morrow and Alexi Ogando until they came out after the 6th. There was the odd baserunner here and there, but both pitchers were fairly effective, despite pretty high pitchcounts from both.
The Jays got a rally in the 7th, loading the bases after the aforementioned Bautista HBP, but couldn't materialize that in to anything. The Rangers got what seemed like a rally of their own in the 8th, though maybe that's just my mind playing tricks on me since Jason Frasor was in the game and took his usual 5 minutes between pitches.
In the top of the 9th, Corey Patterson surprised nobody except the Texas Rangers by bunting with a runner on 3rd base, yet he somehow ran it out for an uncontested hit. Jose Bautista then walked to load the bases, and Juan Rivera lined one to 3rd base, where the usually sure-handed Adrian Beltre made his first error of the season, allowing another run to score.
Maybe that HBP knocked a screw loose in Bautista's head though, because this little gem happened next. Even when this guy fucks up it still turns to gold. My interpretation of that video is that Bautista, ever so clever, realized that nobody had called time-out, and that nobody was covering 3rd base or paying attention to that fact. As result, he opted to try and sneak a free base. The problem being that Corey Patterson was already standing on third. I think it was Isaac Newton who once said that no two objects can occupy the same space, so naturally, Darren Oliver freaks out and throws the ball in the right field, scoring another run.
Frank Francisco, who came in with 2 outs in the 8th inning to face a lefty (not Octavio Dotel!) pitched a perfect 9th to secure the win.
So the Jays took 3 of 4 from a pretty good Texas team (without Josh Hamilton, mind you) in their own ballpark and improve to 12-13. Next stop is Yankee Stadium for three games, then to Tampa for 3 more before heading home.
A few things from behind the scenes in Bluejay land. I would hazard a guess that the most important one is that Travis Snider was optioned down to AAA Las Vegas to work on his swing. Pretty fucking stupid really. Parkes and Stoeten from Getting Blanked and Drunk Jays Fans, respectively, summed this one up pretty much as well as possible here, and fangraphs chimes in too. Basically what they're saying, and I agree with them, is that Snider struggling isn't really holding the team back (which is true; let's face it, this team isn't going anywhere this season and we all know it), and that this season is all about getting reps for the young guys, or in other words, getting Snider 600 AB's, getting JP Arencibia his AB's, and probably more importantly, time behind the plate with a young pitching staff. Snider still doesn't have an entire season under his belt without either being sent down or missing serious time due to getting injured. Obviously the stance of the team is to send him down and get some confidence and work out the frustration, rather than doing so against the AL east. Whatever. I mean I understand it, but there was a reason that he got called up to be the everyday leftfielder a couple years ago, and that is the fact that he put up such crazy numbers in his minor league seasons. Former hotshot prospect David Cooper comes back up the other way. The Jays' 2008 1st rounder put up a pretty good spring, and has an OPS over 1 so far in AAA. The Jays also outrighted Chris Woodward, which allows Rajai Davis to rejoin the team.
I'm trying to figure out what these moves do from a lineup perspective, which I suppose we'll figure out tonight and over the next few days. Cooper is a first baseman who was raking it down in AAA. It won't be a big deal for Lind to take a day off at some point this weekend, especially with two daygames and a travel day, but if they are just calling Cooper up to sit on the bench then they'd have been better off to just leave Woody up with the big club, since it gives another infield option with Nix and Hill both still hurt. Leads me to believe that one or the other are back within a few days.
I'm more concerned about Snider's plate appearances though. Assuming Cooper isn't just sitting on the bench, he'll either be DH-ing or playing 1B, spelling Lind. This will push Juan Rivera to LF? Ugh. Or Lind to LF with Cooper to 1B? Kind of ugh. Or Patterson in LF? And still batting 2nd? UGHHH. * Patterson is a pinch-runner and emergency 5th outfielder at best. Basically what I'm saying here is that I'd way rather see another outfielder up instead of a 1B. The only other outfielder on the 40-man is Darin Mastroianni, and his AAA numbers aren't that good 20 games in to the season. Eric Thames is another option, despite not being on the 40-man roster yet. He's having a big year so far though, with numbers better than Cooper's and the ability to play both RF and LF. Okay, enough prospect porn.
* denotes: moment of clarity several hours later. With Davis and Yunel up top, there is no need for Patterson hitting 2nd. Carry on.
Elsewhere in the League:
I'd like to highlight an article by one of my favorite baseball guys, Kyle Boddy. Kyle writes a little bit for The Hardball Times, but mostly for his own blog, www.drivelinebaseball.com. He specializes in pitching mechanics and injury prevention, but just knows a whole bunch about baseball in general (He's also a fellow poker player, so I'm biased I guess). Anyhoo, this article is about A's pitcher Kyle McCarthy, and the mechanical change he's made in his delivery that has translated to some decent success to this point in the season. Oh, big surprise, Oakland went and got some pitcher and made him good.
Rays super-utility man Ben Zobrist went crazy yesterday, knocking in 8 runs in the first half of a double header, going 4-for-6 with a HR, and then hitting another 2-run bomb in the second game to make it an even 10 RBI on the day. And you know what else? Those two HR's both happened at Target Field, which is a tough park to mash taters in. Between him and the robots that are Jered Weaver and Jose Bautista, the AL player of the month race is pretty interesting. Bautista leads all the important offensive categories (despite the start of this paragraph, RBI's are not an important stat), and Weaver has been fucking ridiculous dominant.
Alex Rodriguez continued to be a douche last night, hitting a ball to right field and doing that stupid "stand there are watch it" thing that he does when he thinks he has a homerun. It hit the fence. Good effort bro, earn that paycheck.
Nationals starter Livan Hernandez was recently named as an accomplice or something in a drug trial at home. He answered by going 8 innings in the win, striking out 5 and getting two hits.
Canadian content: Ryan Dempster pitched a gem last night, almost getting two outs in the first inning against Arizona. He gave up 7 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks, getting just 1 batter out. Stick to curling, maybe?
Ricky "Mr. America" Romero (Ricky dates reigning Miss America, Rima Fakih) takes the mound tonight for the Jays. He goes up against a surprisingly effective (to this point, anyway) Freddy Garcia for the Yanks. This one starts 7 ET.
Rivera LF (deep breath...)
Encarnacion 3B (another)
Cooper DH (good luck kid)