11:54PM Eastern

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:

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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!

Please give me a follow on the Twitter, you can find me @wilnerness590.

Comments are welcome, I read them all and respond to most!

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17 Responses to “Quick Thoughts”
  1. 1.

    Just wanted to let you know, Mike, that the Blue Jays Talk podcast (Miked Up) does not come up as a search in the ITunes store, and you can’t listen to it from the fan590 website via an iPhone because it doesn’t support Flash. Essentially you need to be at your computer to get the podcast, which kinda sucks. If it’s possible to make it more accessible, please do!

    - Josh
  2. 2.

    I’m hoping that Ryota Igarashi and Chad Beck do get a promotion at some point this year, not as the closer, but at the back end of the pen. Their success at Vegas has earned them that chance.

    Chad Beck would of course have to be given the nickname “Bad Check”.

    - Doug D
  3. 3.

    Speaking of “umpires picking on Brett Lawrie”, how about the check-swing strike call from the 1st base ump a couple of innings after Lawrie drilled him with the line drive? (And I’m only “half-kidding” — it didn’t look to me like Brett went around!)

    MW: I don’t remember that one – which is not to say at all that it didn’t happen. Are you sure it was the same umpire, though? He was in sick bay for a few innings.

    - Norm
  4. 4.

    That call at second last night was the correct call, for sure. I’m not sure who in their right mind could debate that and I’m sure that after Lawrie and Farrell see the replay, they will agree. While on the umpiring of last nights game, I have to give kudos. I don’t even know who the plate ump was but, not once during this game did I second guess a ball or strike call and the pitchers seemed cool with the strike zone as well. I can’t think of another time this season that I could say that. He did a great job. Nice to see Gomes hit another bomb and it was great to see Jose picking up 3 hits. So, Baltimore won again. You, and many others, me included, keep saying that there is no way that the Oriole’s will be there at the end, but, I gotta say, you are starting to sound like you did the year that you kept saying that the Rays had NO CHANCE. We all know what happened that year. I do agree with you on this, but, at what point do you start to wonder if they are for real?

    MW: There’s a difference between that Rays team and this Orioles team. That Rays team had terrific young but unproven pitching and great defense. This Orioles team has Jason Hammel and Tommy Hunter, as well as Mark Reynolds.

    - Dan From Elmvale
  5. 5.

    Greetings and Salutations Mike,

    Is there any logical reason Thames pinch hits for Rajai Davis, thereby also replacing him in the field when a) He has not been hitting better than him of late and 2) he definitely is NOT a better fielder and c) if he were to get on base, he is far less dangerous than Davis. That last one is a bit of a stretch, but I just can’t figure out why Thames would come in for Davis in I think it was the 6th or 7th inning?

    MW: Thames hits right-handers better than Davis does, and defense is less of an issue when you’re behind.

    - chris
  6. 6.

    michael,
    man oh man… romero vs. shields.
    big game even if just the end of may.
    lots going on here with this one.
    layers of questions/answers and intrigue.
    and perhaps more for the blue jays in this regard than those meatheads.
    at least that’s my observation.
    a win today and a series victory on the road would be huge going into the lone star state and this next road series vs. the rangers.
    very curious to see who comes up with the goods today for the good guys.
    hopefully there’s at least a few up to the task this afternoon.
    can’t wait.
    go get em’ boys…

    - darrell bishop
  7. 7.

    Mike.

    I heard you on the bluejays talk the other day talking about how Brett Cecil has squandered an opportunity and has slipped down the hays depth chart a ways. Who wouldyou put ahead of Brett presently in the jays system?

    MW: There are a ton of pitchers ahead of whom Cecil still is, but he’s behind the five in the bigs, along with McGowan, Carreno and Chavez, and maybe even a couple of his teammates in New Hampshire.

    - gabe
  8. 8.

    Heh– I did think you did overreact a bit. Of course, it was an ignorant suggestion — but its not ludicrous. “Trade Cecil and Evan for Verlander” — that’s ludicrous. And people DO call with suggestions like that. Nonetheless, Igarashi’s history suggests his current performance is a fluke. Maybe, however, he has earned a look (not as closer) next time one of their pictures goes down. Also: Do we have a timeline on Dustin McGowan yet?

    MW: It was ludicrous. Cecil and Crawford for Verlander is beyond ludicrous. As I said to the caller, I have no issue with wanting Igarashi to get a shot with the big club, but to have him installed as closer is kind of nuts. There’s no timeline on McGowan yet – start to get excited about his return when you think about shopping for Canada Day fireworks.

    - Jeff
  9. 9.

    Mike,
    That is a great memory in regards to the May 2nd, 1988 game against SEA. I never knew Fielder played 2nd and 3rd. It would be interesting seeing a man that large playing 2nd.

    I am interest in Lind and waivers. Why was he put on waivers? and what does it mean?

    MW: Apparently, he was put on waivers to see if there was another team out there that wanted to take his contract and the money remaining on it. No one did, so Lind remains property of the Blue Jays and is playing – and hitting very well – in Las Vegas.

    - Jamie Wine
  10. 10.

    On the replay the stunt was towards second not third, as he was on the 1st base side of 2nd then not the other side. Why would he even think that he should step on 2nd when that would require him going back a step and taking longer to reach first? Clearly looks like the wrong call made by the ump.

    MW: It really depends on the angle of the replay you’re watching. I suggest you head over to the Drunks’ site and look at the two replays. You’ll see that from one it’s very apparent Lawrie moved towards third.

    - Shmuel
  11. 11.

    Yeah it depends on the angle. How could he not touch second base again?

    MW: Exactly – you have to erase any possible doubt in the umpires’ minds.

    - Shmuel
  12. 12.

    Hi Mike

    I saw the interview with Romero after the lost – man, I feel for him, he was so discouraged. No one works harder and he has no result.

    My question to you is on Lawrie. No, not his run with the ump. It is his hitting. Last year when he came up, I found him go with the pitch more, he would hit the ball the other way to the right field. This year, it seems he a) doesn’t walk as often and b) it seems most of his outs are mostly ground balls to the left side of the infield. In your opinion, did he change is hitting approach and/or pitchers are pitching him more on the inside of the plate?

    MW: Lawrie absolutely hasn’t walked as often, but he has almost exactly the same number of hits that he had after the same number of games last season, they just seem to be going as far. It’s a well-worn cliche, but that’s because it’s true – baseball is a game of adjustments. The league is adjusting to Lawrie and his challenge is to adjust back.

    - Francis
  13. 13.

    Re Post #3 — definitely the same umpire, Andy Fletcher, after he came back from getting his “concussion” bandage (to quote Buck).

    - Norm
  14. 14.

    Bluejays are #2, only behind Texas Rangers in RS/RA differentials with +35. In fact, I think Jays might have been better in this capacity for Rays for 5 years. Why has Tampa been so much better than Jays??

    MW: Magic, I think. Though you’re incorrect about the last five years. Tampa Bay has had a much better run differential than the Blue Jays the last three seasons. In 2008, the Rays’ first good year, the Blue Jays were one run better than them.

    - Alomar
  15. 15.

    michael,
    damn those rays… i won’t say i hate them cause’ that word just isn’t apart of my constitution fortunately.
    (other than people that tell me that “the monkees” were vastly overrated) i actually hate them come to think of it.
    but man do i ever dislike them rays.
    they’re my red sox to a yanks fan or vice versa.
    and as for romero these days. interesting…. his newly found propensity to walk people these days.
    where the heck did that come from anyway?
    gotta be a small glitch in his mechanics michael don’t you think?. has to be…
    no way it’s a mental thing as some are suggesting and maybe a little shy these days to challenge hitters and pound the strike zone.
    not with his stuff and overall confidence me thinks…
    but better get back on the horse soon i tell you. afterall he is our ace…
    now off to texas and yuey d and the rangers.
    yeesh… good luck.
    that ain’t gonna be easy. never is is it…

    - darrell bishop
  16. 16.

    Is David Cooper Jewish?

    MW: Not as far as I know.

    - Josh
  17. 17.

    michael,
    love the call ups announced today for the rangers series.
    really want to take a look at this cooper kid again.
    see the quotes from his manager in triple a??
    “best hitter he’s ever had with runnners in scoring position….”
    hitting basically .300 again. does it just for fun it seems.
    nice…
    and this bp pitcher agarashi guy from japan that they picked up from the bucs i think.
    was wondering what was taking them so long to take a look at this guy michael.
    gets clocked between 95 & 97 mph quite regularly i hear…
    a few dfferent pitches in his arsenal. sweet. let’s see it.
    and i tell you. this aa is something else. he really is.
    he’s either the most proactive guy i’ve ever seen or the most impatient.
    not sure exactly which one it is at times.
    especially with the bullpenners… man they’re up and down like a toilet seat with this orgnization. it’s hilarious… honest to god.
    anyway… in tough this weekend. a little bit worried i won’t lie to you.
    later.

    - darrell bishop
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