The Blue Jays were victims of straight up bad infield defence, two bad pitches by R.A. Dickey, and a couple of questionable moves by John Gibbons in a very dissatisfying 6-2 loss on Sunday. Yes, they won the series, but not before bowing out of the finale with four errors, 8 men left on base, and another loss by the “ace” in the getaway game.
To his credit, the Dickster was very good, with exception to two pitches that left the infield – a deep 2-run triple in the 4th by Alex Rios that was misplayed by Anthony Gose, and a 2-run bomb by Mitch Moreland (ugh) with a runner on base that reached on an error.
As usual, he started exceptionally (3 no-hit innings), ran into some trouble (2 runs on 2 hits, with a walk scoring immediately) midway through, then blew up in the 7th – though, this time, it wasn’t his fault, really.
First, Rios reaches on a routine grounder misplayed at third by Juan Francisco (tsk tsk), then Moreland homers to make it 4-2, then a walk, then another error (Reyes catches a high throw, but decides not to touch the bag for some reason), then a sac-bunt. Dickey gets pulled after getting only one of five batters out – though, he SHOULD HAVE been out of the inning.
Despite the loss, Dickey picks up his 6th straight quality start. Thank God for small miracles.
With exception to two big homers by Johnny McFrank (8th homer to make it 1-0) and Edwing (9th homer to make it 2-2), the Jays offence struggled to connect. Once again, 8 hits, good, 8 left on base, bad.
And as I mentioned in the preview, facing a starter who hadn’t started in a month was a solid opportunity to strike, and they simply didn’t.
What did Gibby do wrong? Let me explain in the return of:
– Dickey – like I said, he was nearly perfect through three innings, and he only allowed two balls hit out of the infield – they just happened to land 4 runs against him.
– Francisco homered, singled to reach base in the 9th when base runners were needed, and made a cool play you’ll see more on in a bit.
– Dustin McGowan and Brett Cecil came in with runners on base and did not allow them to score. Once again, thank God for small miracles…
– Reyes had two hits, that’s good. But not landing on the bag, then arguing about it as if he was in the least bit right just looked silly. He also struck out whiffing at a high fast ball to end the game. Should have been ball four…
– Anthony Gose was caught stealing in the 5th. Not a bad idea for him to steal, but Nick Martinez was clearly distracted by him, and Robinson Chirinos has a great arm. Martinez probably would have walked Reyes, and Cabrera wound up singling after Reyes popped out. He also misplayed Rios’ triple off the wall. Should have been a double.
– Jays defence – I don’t think Lawrie can be blamed for bobbling a tough grounder in the 3rd, but bobbling the ball on a double play was bad – and he was lucky he was credited with the out at second on the play. Francisco made two errors as well, which continues to stoke the Lawrie/Francisco infield debate.
Gibby made two (arguably three) decisions that one could argue cost the Jays the game.
1. Pinch-hitting Kevin Pillar for Anthony Gose in the 7th – I don’t know how the rest of you feel about Pillar, but I’m not sold that he’s a major league hitter. Gose is so valuable both as an outfielder and as speed at the bottom of the lineup. He could have faced Soria in the 9th instead of bringing in Navarro (the arguable 3rd decision). Pillar wound up striking out uselessly in the 7th, and wasn’t a noticeable improvement over Gose in centre.
2. Todd Redmond coming in to pitch the 8th – DiNic and I spoke during the game about how completely frustrating and irrational this call was. The bullpen has not been over-worked over the weekend, and, in fact, you had Dustin McGowan in the game, who had induced two outs on just three pitches.
I know that McGowan complained about recovery time from heavy workloads, but I’m pretty sure he was good to go after throwing only three pitches. Redmond is a pretty good spot starter and a decent long relief option. But as a guy to bring in when you’re trying to hang on to a two-run lead? That was a bush-league call. And even after he brought Redmond in, he could have yanked him at least two or three batters sooner in favour of Brett Cecil.
Gibby is normally good with his bullpen, but this was inexcusable to me.
Gibby did, however, win a challenge!
A solid play by Francisco, as he makes a leaping catch with two runners in scoring position, then has the wherewithal to touch third with his glove to get the force-out.
The umpire at third calls the runner, Chirinos, safe, but this is clearly the wrong call. Gibby challenges, and prevails. At the time, that seemed like a rallying point. Then, Todd Redmond was brought in…
A day off! Then it’s a visit to gorgeous Fenway Park to face the annoying John Farrell and the Bosox for three games.
This loss especially sucks because every other team in the AL East lost as well, which means a win would have put the Jays in a tie for first place.
Instead, they’re a game out – ho-hum. We can bitch all we want, but 2 out of 3 in Texas could be worse. They’re still right in the thick of it.
BY THE WAY:
Marcus Stroman was sent down to AAA Buffalo after the game. I don’t care what you say, this is the right move. Even if he’s going to enter the rotation (Which I think is a ludicrous decision this season), he needs to be stretched out, and the big leagues aren’t the place to do that.
He’s had a chance to get an idea of what big league hitters are like. He’ll probably get better as a result of it. That doesn’t mean he should join the Jays’ rotation next week, though. Let the kid fermet like a fine wine. Everyone knows old pickles are better than the fresh, boring ones (I bet my man Pillar knows what I’m talkin’ about!).
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