With a day game after a night game coming up, I’ll touch quickly on a couple of the major talking points that came out of the loss to the Rays:
-Going to Evan Crawford in the 5th inning was a fine move by John Farrell. It may have been the by-the-book move or the safe move, but that’s what your bottom-of-the-bullpen guys are there for, to be used early on when you’re losing. You hope they keep the game where it is so that you can have a chance to come back, but sometimes they give up runs. With the Rays loaded with left-handed hitters and switch-hitters who are better from the left side, the likeliest call was Crawford with the Blue Jays down 6-4 in the fifth, then Luis Perez later on.
-Brett Lawrie calming himself down before attacking second base umpire Rob Drake was a very good thing indeed. Drake called Lawrie out on appeal for not retouching second base on his way back to first after Lawrie took off on a pitch that wound up being hit into right field and caught. Lawrie slid into second, got up, and to my eyes appeared to at the very least stunt towards third before running back to first base, but he didn’t touch second on the way back. It amazed me how many people who watched replay after replay are firmly convinced they saw completely different things. As I said, I think Lawrie was on the third-base side of the bag, but even if he wasn’t, he should have known that it was close enough to have stepped on second on the way back. It’s not as important that you know you didn’t need to touch it as it is that the umpires know.
Anyway, when Drake went up with his fist, Lawrie came sprinting towards him off first base, causing Drake to shake in his boots and put his hand up to stop Lawrie, as though that would have helped. But the light went on in Lawrie’s head – you could almost see it as it was happening - and he slowed down before he got too close and put his arms out to the sides as if to say “It’s OK, I only want to talk”, and that was all he did. It was good to see, but it didn’t help his cause any, because he was out. That wasn’t the umpires picking on Brett Lawrie, that was Lawrie being rightfully called out.
-Drew Hutchison gave up a five-spot in the fourth inning, a Rays rally that was capped by a three-run Carlos Pena homer. It’s the third big inning Hutchison has allowed in his young career, and 14 of the 23 earned runs he’s given up in have come in three of the 37 2/3 innings he’s pitched. Take away the three big innings and the 21 year-old has an ERA of 2.93. Obviously you can’t do that, but it does sort of illustrate that he’ll be just fine if he can stay away from the big inning.
Here’s tonight’s edition of The BlueJaysTalk, for your listening pleasure – I apologize for not being able to contain my incredulity at the suggestion that Ryota Igarashi should be called up from Las Vegas to replace Casey Janssen as the closer:
The series wraps up with Ricky Romero taking on righty James Shields. Romero has struggled with his control lately, walking 14 over his last three starts. Hopefully it’s a bump in the road that he’s gotten over and he’ll return to his now less-recent dominant self. A Blue Jays win gets them back to within a game of the Rays for second in the A.L. East and would give them their first series win at the Rays in 15 tries. It’s a matinee, so please join us along the Blue Jays Radio Network at 1:00PM Eastern!
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