Saturday, 21 June 2014

It Was 8-0


The second inning of this Reds game felt awful. Ominous, ugly, sickening. I went for a walk in the fifth or sixth inning, which is my usual response to the Jays playing like garbage and (even more maddening) the response of people on Twitter to it. Please, people, stop tweeting nonsense that the Jays were playing "above their heads" in May and this rough patch is "who they really are." The players responsible for the winning had all proven before that they were capable of performing like that and have demonstrated that in past seasons- either with the Jays or elsewhere. Encarnacion has figured something out with his hitting and has demonstrated he is capable of having many months like his 2014 May. If he keeps playing like this and the Jays go on a serious run, he's the 2014 AL MVP. Book it.

The only difference about that streak of great baseball a few weeks ago is that the players were having their time of great play simultaneously, and the momentum caught on. That is what the difference was, not that they were "playing above their heads."

Stretches of great play and stretches of terrible play is what makes up a season of baseball. For every team. Every team in the history of the league. The really successful teams have longer stretches of great play to cushion the terrible play, make it less damaging. Baseball is a game of failure and I can't really believe that anyone who watches it with any kind of regularity hasn't noticed that. I'm sorry the Toronto Maple Leafs have ruined your lives and driven you insane, but don't take it out on the reasonable of the world.

“That kind of thing happens,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “But I can’t remember one like this — not at this level.”

"One like this" meaning being down 8-0 and winning 14-9, the second biggest comeback in team history.

I'm not going to pretend that I predicted this unbelievable comeback in last night's game. I just had a sense that something crazy was going to happen. This offense has the potential to put up a lot of runs- certainly more than eight- especially when the crooked number is put up in the second inning. Chipping away at that lead and then pounding the door shut, combined with some great relief pitching was the prescription. Statement game, character building game, whatever you want to call it, it was great to watch. Encarnacion, in the house that created the E5 nickname that followed him around for so long, hit two 3-run homers- making Reds fans hilariously question the Rolen trade of 2009.

(P.S. I still love Scott Rolen.)

I also want to credit John Gibbons for an excellently managed baseball game. Many argue that the only way a manager can actually have influence on winning is in game personnel management, and Gibby was masterful last night.  I hope he didn't pack up his office after so many fired him in the second inning.

After that awful series in New York, the Jays needed to swing out whatever bad feelings that lingered. Feelings of futility, terrible umpiring and being generally outplayed in Yankee Stadium, which has turned in house of horrors of late.

I think that whole series was best illustrated bizarre call on the Navarro pop up. I still don't buy interference, and since Texeira made the play on Navarro (indicating that maybe it wasn't really interference). It should be Encarnacion safe and Navarro out. And no double play called ever.  

For those keeping track at home, Bautista remains the best. As John Lott of the National Post puts it,

He is enjoying another banner season: .309 batting average (52 points above his career mark), 15 homers, 48 RBIs, 55 walks, .433 on-base percentage, .536 slugging and .968 OPS. And so far he has 15 opposite-field hits. For the full season last year, he had 11.
Is Bautista focusing less on power?
“Maybe in some of those situations, yes, [if] I’ve already got two strikes or behind in the count, with a big hole over there,” he said. “You just weigh your pros and cons in those situations. That’s what Seitzer has really helped me do. I think in those situations, it’s easier for me to succeed doing this than trying to hit a home run."
Bautista is just really smart. Congrats on 1000 hits, Joseph Bats.

Big up to @BlueMetropolis for the above screen grab.

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