That’s the look of a game gone wrong. Or, more accurately, a look that, at the time, suggested that doom was pending.
It’s early, and there is a great deal of parity right now in the east as each team deals with injuries (Rays)/growing pains (Yankees)/poor preparation (I’ll get to that).
But at the end of the season, if you finish three or four games out of the playoffs, you ask yourself, how did we blow sizable leads in games that seemed like sure things?
How did we blow a 6-1 second inning lead against an east division rival’s ace and somehow still allow him to pick up the win?
Those questions, and a few other crucial questions asked at the beginning of the season came to mind tonight that, though admittedly in a very small sample size, were answered in tonight’s 10-8 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
1. Is it wise to shorten a bench in favour of an eight-man bullpen?
Well, on the one hand, Ryan Goins hit a home run! On the other, you only have one guy on the bench who can play the middle infield.
Bringing Josh Thole in as a pinch hitter paid off earlier, as he had a pinch-hit RBI to bring the Jays within a couple of runs, but you weren’t going to then keep him in and pull Dioner Navarro, whose three more hits put his average at .290 tonight.
Therefore, Jonathan Diaz had to be kept in the game, for better or worse.
With the bases loaded, 1 out, and Orioles failed starter-turned-rookie closer Tommy (Goes Boom) Hunter on the ropes, Diaz grounded into a game-ending double-play.
Diaz is now hitting .172. Goins, .154.
2. Can a team succeed with players that are based around their lack of options, as opposed to depth on the bench?
Todd Redmond allows a grand slam, allowing all three of Dustin McGowan’s inherited runners, then allowed three more hits in two thirds of a clusterf$%k inning.
J.A. Happ only allowed a solo home run to Matt Wieters, but his two walks still frustrate me.
Again, can a contending team rely on guys like Diaz and Goins sharing second base, or Juan Francisco getting a golden sombrero with four Ks in place of Adam Lind?
Should the Jays be blamed for relying on guys like Redmond or Esmil Rogers in their bullpen, instead of signing free agents in the off season?
That way their rotation could have potentially had one more reliable starter, and the Jays wouldn’t have to rely on…
3. Dustin McGowan: has it stopped being the awesome come-back story and started becoming a true concern?
On this, I say not yet.
While his line doesn’t look great, with 6 earned runs in 4+ innings, consider that his 5 Ks and only one walk looked pretty good, as well as how he was pretty unlucky that almost all of his base runners wound up scoring.
Also consider that it was 6-3 with the bases loaded when he left, and that Redmond allowed all of McGowan’s base runners to score on one pitch.
In some games, you get out of that situation unscathed.
But in most games, that bad inning that McGowan had would happen in the 7th or 8th, and you can bring in your set-up crew, as opposed to in the 5th inning, forcing you to go to someone like Redmond (who had a 0.68 ERA in 12.2 innings coming in, by the way).
For this, you don’t blame McGowan, you blame the Jays for not stretching him out in Spring Training.
If this short outing trend continues into May, you’ve got a problem. For now, you’re stuck with the result of poor preparation (told you I’d get to it…).
– Brett Lawrie crushes his 5th homer of the season, his 3 RBI give him 18 on the season. His batting average?? *Sigh* .165…
– Jose Reyes hit his first homer of the season! It came in the 2nd inning, as did Lawrie’s, in a 6-run bat-around inning against Chris Tillman.
– Melky Cabrera and Navarro had three hits apiece (no RBI between the two of them, but what can you do?)
– Colby Rasmus was 1/5 – his one hit doesn’t atone for two more Ks and 3 LOB. Hit batting average dips to .192. The bottom of the order continues to under-produce.
– Edwin Encarnacion was 1/5 – same thing – the RBI single, which is nice and all, doesn’t hide his 5 LOB.
– As I said in TWIJ, this was billed as a pitching duel, since McGowan and Tillman each spun gems in a 2-0 Jays victory last week.
Tonight, McGowan was alright, which unfortunately, wasn’t enough. Two long homers by Chris Davis and Nelson Cruz, who are both very good. But again, going into the 5th, his line was: 4 innings, 4 hits, 3 ER, 0 BB. 5 Ks. Not horrible, but not great.
Tillman had that awful 2nd inning, but wound up pitching into the 6th and picking up the win, despite allowing 7 ER on 9 hits and three dingers. He also fanned 7, but that isn’t that much of an accomplishment against the Jays these days.
– Francisco, golden sombrero, yada yada.
– Redmond, three runs, four hits, two-thirds, blah blah blah.
– As a team, the Jays struck out 12 times and left 10 guys on base. I know this is nitpicking if you win the game, and that on most days, 8 runs on 16 hits is something that you don’t complain about, but… 12 strikeouts needs to be improved upon.
– I can’t promise I’m always going to come up with a neat stat in games the Jays completely blow like this one.
That’s why I’m thankful that Pete tossed this my way. While Colby appears to improve a bit by cutting his long locks and dirty facial hair, the Brettuation seems to benefit from his decision to don the dirty ‘stache. Two homers in these two games, both three-run shots.
I know, I know. Small sample size.
I’ll be attending my first game of 2014 tomorrow night! Drew Hutchison takes on Bud Norris in what I can’t believe I’m calling the rubber match. Again, I know that you should generally be happy with splitting a couple games against a tough division rival, but a 6-1 lead, 2nd inning or not, is a 6-1 lead. Good teams hang on.
For Jays Balk, I’m @TheAsherRoth.