Just one bad inning, I guess. A really, really bad inning, granted, but one bad inning nonetheless. It really just appeared that nothing was going right for the Jays all night long-- whether it was the number of close calls that went the other way (I'm talking about bang-bang plays at 1st, the ball that landed on the line in LF that got called foul, or the odd ball/strike call), but those games happen all the time. I'd like to talk mostly about that one dirty bastard of an inning though.
The Jays entered the 5th inning with a 63.2% chance of winning, by virtue of the 1-0 score. Brandon Morrow, to that point, had allowed 0 hits, striking out 6 and walking 3. Standard Morrow performance, really. I don't think anybody really believed that he was going to get away with never walking anybody again the way he did in those 3 starts or whatever.
Will Rhymes lead the 5th off with an 0-2 double in to the corner, which was fielded gracefully by Eric Thames in left field. After a Chris Gimenez sac fly, moving Rhymes to 3rd, Elliott Johnson knocked a run in with a single, so far so good. Ben Zobrist reached on a groundball to second, where Johnson busted up a double play (kind of). BJ Upton walked to get runners on first and second, before the wheels fell off. Adam Lind booted a groundball, which allowed Ben Zobrist to alertly score from 2nd. Morrow covered first for the clumsy fake first baseman and got upset when the close play went the other way.
JP Arencibia couldn't handle strike 3 to Carlos Pena, which allowed the runners to advance and the inning to continue. Luke Scott and Sean Rodriguez followed up with hits to score the 4th, 5th and 6th runs to score, before Will Rhymes flied out to end the inning. In total, the Jays' win expectancy dropped from 63.2% to 8.3% in an inning that featured a single earned run. Morrow escaped the game with the loss, and a WPA of -.366, despite bringing a no-hitter in to the 5th inning.
Baseball is certainly a game in which you need to make your opponents pay for their mistakes, and the Rays did exactly that to the Blue Jays last night. It is really, really difficult to win a game in which you give the opponent 5 outs in an inning, especially a team as good as Tampa. Morrow really did deserve better. He obviously gave up the hits and walks in that 5th inning, but the defense didn't exactly help him out a whole lot in terms of getting out of the inning without seeing the Rays get a crooked number on the scoreboard, or throwing a pitch in the 6th, for that matter.
Speaking of mistakes, Adam Lind is still on this team, and is hurting the club with his defense now too. Spectacular.
The silver lining is that the Rays used 6 pitchers yesterday, and if the Jays can get the Rays in to the bullpen today, we might see a blowout or at least some shitballing. The Rays will play the Red Sox after the Jays, so they'll hopefully have a taxed bullpen (assuming we're cheering for whoever leads the ALE to lose games, for the Jays' sake).
Anyway, the Jays didn't really bother scoring runs or anything throughout the rest of the game, so it doesn't really matter a whole lot either way. Kelly Johnson was 2-for-5 and that's about the end of it. I'll go ahead and give Morrow the Zaunhead, I guess, since nobody else went out of their way to earn one and I'm a big Morrow apologist. He really should have been out of that inning at some point before the last of the 6 runs scored, which fucks around with his pitch totals and whatnot, so the -.366WPA doesn't really tell the whole story and it's kind of tough to give negative WPA to anybody but the pitcher when the fielders fuck him around, so meh.
Henderson Alvarez pitches tonight against David Price, which kind of fucks with my plan of taxing the bullpen. Alvarez was supposed to be the subject of a Jeff Sullivan piece on SBNation today (yesterday?), but Brett Lawrie just kind of weaseled his way in to it. Cliffnotes: Lawrie is pretty good at defense, as are the other Jays infielders, and that's helped out Alvarez (and other Jays pitchers) quite a bit so far this year.
RJ Anderson looks at Kyle Drabek for baseball prospectus (behind a paywall). Basically, Drabek has the stuff to be a big league pitcher, he just isn't one yet because he's wild as fuck and has some pretty big mechanical flaws holding him back. He says it better, and says more than that, but that's really the main jist of it. Just read it to see what I mean.
Nowhere Plans' MLB Power rankings are up. The Sports Illustrated ones are up too, which happen to place the Jays in 28th of 30 teams. That's obviously retaded, and Tango looks closer to figure out how that can happen.
Joe Posnanski takes an interesting look at the early struggles of Albert Pujols.
Jeff Niemann is probably going to miss a few months after taking an Adam Lind liner to the leg and fracturing his fibula. Adam Lind literally destroys Niemann.
Big thumbs up to me for having this all written out literally two hours ago and not posting it.