1:31 AM Eastern
The Blue Jays and Royals seemed to sort of sleepwalk through their series opener, though maybe it only appeared that way because both teams’ offenses were clicking on a very few cylinders.
Through the first six innings of the game, there had only been four hits combined, and each team had scored just one unearned run. The Jays appeared to break through in the 7th as Juan Rivera and J.P. Arencibia opened the frame with singles, and Aaron Hill followed with a run-scoring grounder to put the Jays on top, but that was all they could get.
Brandon Morrow left after six innings of two-hitter (and three-walker), giving way to Shawn Camp, who allowed a single around a couple of outs. With a runner on first, two down and a lefty coming up, John Farrell made the call to go to the generally-reliable Marc Rzepczynski, who this night was anything but.
Zep walked Alex Gordon. Then he walked Melky Cabrera to load the bases. Then he walked Eric Hosmer, forcing in the tying run. Zep threw a grand total of 13 pitches in his ugly outing, and only one of them was a strike. Octavio Dotel came in to put out the fire, then threw a perfect 8th and watched Casey Janssen throw a perfect 9th. Jason Frasor wiggled his way through the 10th and turned it over to Frank Francisco for the 11th.
Chris Getz took advantage of Francisco’s shortcomings as a defender by dropping a bunt on him right away and reaching. Brayan Pena was next, and he hit a two-strike pitch on the ground, but not at anybody, and it snuck through for a single to left. The runners were bunted over, and the automatic intentional walk was issued to load the bases, setting up a force at the plate. The infield and outfield came in, and Cabrera scorched a line drive towards left field that was somehow flagged down by Mike McCoy, who had come in in the 9th as a pinch-runner. McCoy, playing in, dove to his left to snare the liner, making an almost impossible catch to keep the Jays alive.
But he only kept them alive for about five seconds, because Hosmer smacked Francisco’s next pitch – a curveball – into centrefield for the walkoff single.
Francisco certainly didn’t pitch well, though he only gave up one hard-hit ball (the line-out), but it makes no sense to get beat on your second-best pitch. The pitch that Cabrera hit was a 97 mile an hour heater, he’s got a rookie coming up and a second life, and he goes to the curve. Not the best idea.
At some point, Francisco is going to turn his season around and start pitching the way he’s shown he can over the course of his career. One hopes that point is going to come sooner than later.
The loss took a backseat – on this night anyway – to the beginning of the first-year player draft. The first and supplemental rounds took place during the game, and the Blue Jays had five picks in the first 57, all of which were used on high schoolers.
The Jays took right-handed pitcher Tyler Beede with their first pick, 21st overall. The 18 year-old stands 6’4″and boasts a textbook delivery, a fastball that can touch 95, a great curveball and an above-average change-up. He also, apparently, scores off the charts as far as character is concerned, and while that doesn’t mean nearly as much as the 95 mile an hour fastball, it’s not insignificant, especially to Alex Anthopoulos.
Beede is committed to Vanderbilt University, so the Jays will have to buy him out of that commitment, but they’re prepared to do so, so long as it fits in with their idea of his value. Every high schooler drafted has committed to a college or university of some sort – if they aren’t good enough to be recruited, they’re not good enough to be drafted – but some are more committed than others.
There’s an idea floating around that Beede, a Massachusetts kid, told teams that he was not going to sign because he wanted the Red Sox to draft him. I don’t know how true that is – it might, like a lot of stuff that floats around here on the good old interwebs, be a complete load of crap – but if it’s true, one would think it’d be a lot easier for the Blue Jays to buy him out of his commitment to Vandy.
Beede is on The Twitter, you can find him @youngbeedah, and earlier in the evening he sent out a tweet thanking Blue Jays fans for their instant support and saying it was an honour to be drafted by the Jays.
The Jays split their next four picks between pitchers and outfielders, all of whom spent this last year in high school. The pitchers, both right-handed, are Joe Musgrove and Kevin Comer, the outfielders are Jacob Anderson – winner of the home run derby at last year’s All American Game and Dwight Smith, Jr., son of the former Cub.
The draft continues Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Blue Jays will choose another 50 players before it’s done.
Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
We will endeavour to have either Jays’ Scouting Director Andrew Tinnish or Tyler Beede himself join us on the pre-pre-game show Tuesday at 7:00 pm Eastern. You can hear that on Sportsnet Radio The Fan 590 or right here on this very website, ahead of the Network pre-game, then at 8:10, it’s Kyle Drabek against Vinny Mazzaro. The last time Drabek pitched, he couldn’t get out of the first inning, retiring only two of the eight hitters he faced. The last time Mazzaro pitched in the big leagues, it was out of the bullpen. He retired seven hitters – but he also gave up 14 runs. Join us, won’t you?
Give me a follow on The Twitter, you can find me @wilnerness590- I promise you won’t regret it.
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!