9:50PM Eastern

A night after getting pummeled, the Blue Jays dropped an extra-inning heartbreaker in Texas as the Rangers basically ran them out of rocks.

The Jays’ bullpen was depleted because the relievers had to work 6 1/3 innings in the series-opening blowout, so Carlos Villanueva wasn’t available for Saturday afternoon, and neither Ryota Igarashi nor Jason Frasor was supposed to be.  But when you get to a 13th inning, you have to change the strategy a bit.

The Blue Jays tied the game in the top of the 7th, after Henderson Alvarez gave up back-to-back-to-back two-out solo homers to Nelson Cruz, Yorvit Torrealba and Mitch Moreland to get the  Rangers back from 4-2 down.  Alvarez was ejected after throwing a two-strike sinker inside, hip-high, on the next hitter, Ian Kinsler, in a stunning display of baseball ignorance from home plate umpire Marty Foster.  I don’t believe, though, that it had anything to do with any kind of personal vendetta from the umpires for the Brett Lawrie incident of two weeks ago or the Blue Jays’ constant chirping about ball/strike calls. I’m amazed that there still exist umpires with such little grasp of the game that could think Alvarez would be throwing at Kinsler intentionally, down a run in the 6th with two outs and two strikes and the meat of the Rangers’ order to follow.

Anyway, Jose Bautista doubled to lead off the 7th, J.P. Arencibia cashed him with a single, and the game stayed tied at fives until the 13th.

The Blue Jays were awfully lucky to have it stay tied, too, since they didn’t have a baserunner in the 8th, 9th, 10th or 11th and managed just a Colby Rasmus walk and an infield single by Edwin Encarnacion in the 12th.  Meanwhile, the Rangers were getting the leadoff man on base in every inning from the 9th on – the last Blue Jays pitcher to throw a clean inning in the game was Francisco Cordero.

Casey Janssen hit the leadoff man in each of the 9th and 10th, managed to work his way out of the first jam and needed Darren Oliver’s help to get out of the second one.  Oliver came on to strike out pinch-hitter Mike Napoli and end the 10th.  The veteran lefty then gave up leadoff singles in each of the 11th and 12th, but worked out of both frames.  Even though none of the Rangers’ six baserunners from the 9th to the 12th came around to score, that helped them turn over the line-up so that it was the top of the order coming to bat in the bottom of the inning.

First to the top, though, when the Blue Jays struck for a pair.  It was 45 year-old Omar Vizquel coming up huge in the clutch, driving a two-out single to centre to cash Brett Lawrie with the go-ahead run.  Vizquel would score as Nelson Cruz misplayed Yunel Escobar’s line drive.  The Blue Jays had a two-run lead going to the bottom of the 13th, but as I mentioned at the time on The Twitter, it felt as though they needed more.

That’s because with Luis Perez, Cordero, Janssen and Oliver having been used up to shut the Rangers out over 6 1/3 innings of stellar relief work, the Blue Jays’ bullpen was out of fresh pitchers.

All that was left was Villanueva (who had thrown 66 pitches the night before), Frasor (who had thrown 31) and Igarashi (who had thrown 41), along with Sunday’s scheduled starter Kyle Drabek, who was on his normal fifth day thanks to Thursday’s day off.

I’m assuming John Farrell really wanted to avoid using Frasor, which is why he gave the ball to Igarashi to start the 13th.  The newest Blue Jay had gotten roughed up in his long inning Friday night, and he started this outing the same way he did that one, by walking the first batter he faced.  This time, though, he followed by letting Elvis Andrus take him deep into the gap in left-centre for an RBI double and Farrell had seen enough.  I’m thinking Alex Anthopoulos has probably seen enough of Igarashi too, at this point.

The call went to Frasor and, with Josh Hamilton up as the winning run, the decision was made to pitch to the Rangers’ slugger, and it didn’t work.  Hamilton pounded a 1-2 changeup into the grassy knoll beyond the centre-field fence for his 20th homer of the season – the walk-off winner.

There’s room for disagreement, but I’m all for not putting the winning run on base via the intentional walk, even if it’s a guy having the season Hamilton is.  It’s easy to say you saw it coming, but Hamilton stays in the park in 90% of his plate appearances.  Over his last nine games, he was hitting .242 with one home run.  And you have a pitcher on fumes, who’s likely to give up a hit or two.  Make the hitter earn his way on.  It’s a shame for the Blue Jays that it ended the way it did, but I firmly believe that it was the right decision not to walk Hamilton, that it was likelier the Rangers would win the game if they had.  Hamilton certainly beat the odds by taking Frasor deep there, and more power to him for that.

After a loss like that, it was bound to be a fun BlueJaysTalk – the only thing I really don’t like is when a caller only wants to talk at me, not with me.  I’m looking for a conversation, not to be shouted down, no matter how frustrated you are by a given game.  Here’s the show, for your listening pleasure:


The series wraps up Sunday afternoon, by which time I expect there will be a couple of new faces in the Blue Jays’ bullpen (it was nice knowing you, Iggy).  Kyle Drabek will get the start against Yu Darvish in a rematch of their April 30th meeting at Rogers Centre, which Drabek left after six strong innings trailing 2-1.  We’ll be on the air across the Blue Jays Radio Network at 2:30PM Eastern for a 3:07 first pitch – join us, won’t you?

Please give me a follow on The Twitter, you can find me @wilnerness590 – seems I block more people after a game like this one than at any other time.

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

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25 Responses to “Burned By Fumes”
  1. 1.

    Fraser and Igarashi depleted from yesterday’s work (if not their own incompetencies); with only one inning worked, yesterday, Mathis would have been equally, if not more, effective.

    MW: I admire the fact that you “wrote” that with what appears to be a straight face.

    - Russ Trated
  2. 2.

    Mike when do you think the MLB umpires will have to own up for their actions because they can do whatever they want and not have to face to anyone. That Marty Foster call was one of the worst that I have ever seen.

    MW: I don’t think they ever will.

    - Paul
  3. 3.

    Hi Mike, Love listening to your analysis post games.
    I have to say as a yankee fan first (I cheer for the jays when they play anyone but the bombers), you really tell it like it is when it comes to the team. You don’t fall into the trap of being blind towards the faults of the team. Its refreshing to say the least.
    However, there was one particular caller tonight that you got quite upset with and basically said to get your facts straight before you call in. So here are the facts: the following is rankings of the BJ’s bullpen out of the 14 AL teams…..
    ERA 13th, saves 14th, Earned runs 10th, walks 13th, and BAA 12th.

    So while you you can cite the 6 plus good innings tonight, and Cordero’s recent run of solid innings, overall the blue jays bullpen has been one of the worst in the American league, just as the one caller tried to point out. You ended up making him sound like an idiot and hanging up on him. Saying to get his facts straight before calling.
    Like i said, I love your show, and your analysis is great and 99% of the time unbiased and very accurate. Tonight though, i think you may have had your blue jay glasses on.

    Still a fan,

    MW: He wasn’t talking about the American League, he was talking about the majors. And the Blue Jays’ bullpen isn’t in the bottom five in any significant category, with the exception of blown saves, where they’re tied for fifth. I don’t like when people make blanket statements and don’t want to back them up.

    - Craig
  4. 4.

    There’s no way I’m going to tune out but, sadly, this team isn’t quite what we were hoping them to be. They’re a good group, promising and fun to watch but they’ve shown their not a quite a match for first tier teams.

    MW: If you count Baltimore as a first-tier team, which it isn’t. Really, though, it all depends on what you were hoping them to be. If you were hoping they’d be a playoff team this year, then you set your hopes very, very high. A realistic hope for the Blue Jays this year was that they’d be a very good, talented, young team that finished with a winning record and stayed in the playoff race until very late in the season with a chance to sneak in. It appears that that is, in fact, what they are.

    - Bird is the Word
  5. 5.

    I know it is not considered wise to do so, but after an inning only and not another start till next week, morrow could have thrown an inning.

    MW: He could have, physically, but it would have been a very, very, very, very bad idea. Would you really want to potentially mess with the health of the guy who has been your best pitcher this season in an effort to hold down a two-run lead?

    - koolgreen
  6. 6.

    Sorry to say we are pretenders…..but only a year away from the show……

    question is Konericko from CHi tradable?? he is the only player I see that fits on first that is legit…..if we had him hiting 4 we are legit……

    very open to trade esobar, assuming KJ stays and Hucc is that good…… trade esocabar, thames, hutch, and throw in Ben…..trade gose too, colby is better……

    MW: The White Sox have a better record than the Blue Jays do right now, so I’m not sure they’d be looking to deal one of their best hitters. For Hutchison, Escobar, Thames, Gose and Francisco, though, I’m assuming they’d find a way to do it. And then Alex Anthopoulos would get fired immediately.

    - Moon
  7. 7.

    Hey Mike

    You don’t put the potential winning run on base with no outs, can’t walk Hamilton in that situation. They just ran out of pitching, it happens…

    - Rick
  8. 8.

    Sounds like the audio is the wrong show. That’s the one after the 14-3 loss.

    MW: Yeah, the dates got messed up in the files, sorry about that. It has been fixed.

    - Louis
  9. 9.

    Just wondering if the Jays could have used Hutchison in relief for an inning or two? Wouldn’t Saturday have been his normal “throw” day? (Or had that already taken place?)

    MW: Throwing on a throw day usually takes place before the game, but it was Drabek’s regular day to pitch, so he was more of an option.

    - Norm
  10. 10.

    The show was a display of emotion over reason. Worse, actually. Emotion wrapped up and presented *as* reason. You can’t argue with people who are blinded to logic when overwhelmed by frustration.

    The number of people that knew Hamilton WOULD hit a homerun. Clairvoyants all. Innumerates, more likely.

    Oh, and blame the bullpen. It’s their fault they couldn’t go 7 shutout innings after logging 8 innings the night before. Because everything in baseball is just that easy.

    Way too many knuckleheads were allowed to voice their opinions. I guess your producer doesn’t have enough time to issue IQ tests during his screening process. Pity.

    - Curious George
  11. 11.

    Hi Mike

    Tough loss…. yes, the bullpen just had nothing left, they just ran out of fresh arms. You have to like the character of this team for fighting back though. I would guess that Igorashi would be a goner and wouldd’t be surprised if they send some position players down to get some pitchinig enforcement for a couple of games.

    Texas is a pretty good team, probably the best in MLB right now, we need to remind fans of that

    - Francis
  12. 12.

    Of the four things on his to-do list in the off- season Anthopoulos managed to do the easiest; that is, put together one of the worst bullpens in the league. Wonder how the middle of the order bat and starting pitcher will turn out? Perhaps the closer when and if he does close will be better than Jansen. Perhaps.

    MW: Sigh

    - Kenneth
  13. 13.

    Not saying I WOULD have used Morrow for a couple of innings yesterday, but I will admit, i gave it some thought. The only thing I don’t agree with you on, with the argument you gave with the caller is this. A starter, like Morrow, is used to throwing 100, plus pitches a game. You compared that to the fact that the bullpen arms were taxed from throwing beyond their limits. It’s not the same thing, Morrow threw way less pitches than he usually does and so therefore, likely COULD have been available. It wouldn’t have been the first time I had seen it, and wouldn’t have been as bad an idea as you kinda made it sound.
    It’s all my fault anyway. I listened to the first 12 innings in the car on a road trip home from Windsor. We got home for the last inning. After the Rangers led off 4 innings in a row by getting on base, I asked my wife, “do you think they will do it again” to which she replied “yes”. I then predicted that if they did, in fact lead off the 13th by getting on base, the Jays would lose the game. Like I said, it’s all my fault. I hate it when I’m right sometimes. Once again, no accountability by the umpires. That crap in the 6th was just hard to understand. I think that if Allan could have gotten onto the field, he would have been ejected. What was the “dumpire” thinking? I know you don’t think this has anything to do with the Lawrie thing, but how long will this continue? Why are the Yankees and Red Sox allowed to complain every time they have a strike called on them, but the Jays aren’t? Those teams have a reputation of “working the count” and the Jays? Well they are just whiners! Double standard. What do Yu think? Go Jays!

    MW: The Blue Jays are allowed to complain, same as the Yankees and Red Sox. I haven’t seen a Blue Jay ejected from a game for arguing a strike call yet (except for Vizquel, who was tossed from the bench). As for Morrow, it’s not the same. You can’t look at it as “he only threw 44 pitches Friday so he should have 50 or 60 left for Saturday if needed”. Starting pitchers train themselves to be able to throw every five days, and you’re risking too much by asking them to stray. I can’t remember ever seeing a starter pitch in relief the day after his start other than in the 2001 World Series.

    - Dan From Elmvale
  14. 14.

    What about having Morrow warm up for the 13th? He didn’t throw that many pitches on Friday night.

    MW: See above!

    - Ted S
  15. 15.

    Thanks for your insight Mike. I was at the Tampa game (11th inning loss) and at an airport bar in Dallas-Fort Worth yesterday afternoon watching the extra innings. It is too bad that the pen was depleted but these things happen in baseball over a long season. I am getting the feeling that it will be another year before we really do challenge. Starting pitchers, as good as they’ve been, are still young and may have some slumps ahead. And the bats, unlike the Yankees or Red Sox (of previous years, for example) don’t have enough consistency, in my mind. My thoughts, and do enjoy your commentary.
    Mike in Calgary

    MW: I believe that the Blue Jays will challenge for a playoff spot this season – I don’t think they’ll be an also-ran. But another year until they’re a serious threat? That should have been what was expected going into this season.

    - Anonymous
  16. 16.

    Hi Mike, that was a loss that was hard to take, they played tough against the best team in MLB and with some luck may have won. What was up with the Alverez ejection and did Foster give an explanation? that may have led to the loss because they were running out of pitchers and even 1 or 2 more innings could have saved their bullpen. I hope the umpires aren’t holding a grudge.

    MW: Alvarez was probably not coming back out for the 7th, anyway. Did Foster give an explanation? That’s a good one.

    - Mark
  17. 17.

    The Blue Jays have now dropped 4 in a row, two of them being heartbreakers to Tampa and Texas. In the case of both games, it was the other team’s bullpen outgunning the Jays’ hitting. Yesterday’s loss was caused purely by Morrow’s and the bullpen’s failure on the day before. I say the bullpen because of Frasor and Igarashi’s inability to get through a frame without throwing an incredible number of pitches the day before. Igarashi I hope is on the plane to Vegas. Maybe it’s time to see Chad Beck up here in Toronto.

    What the Tampa and Texas series is showing me however is some deficiencies on the Jays team. Texas can hit and they can pitch. If the team stays healthy, they should win the AL and compete in the World Series. Tampa’s story to me is about managing and pitching. Tampa has great starters and good relievers. Texas has good starters but FANTASTIC relief (WHIP 0.863, ERA 2.03).

    It’s a tough stretch for the Jays to be sure. Tampa has kryptonite for the Jays especially while Tampa is at home, and Texas is just a great team.

    Hopefully, the Jays realize that, lick their wounds, and take the season one game at a time.

    Now, the Alvarez call. What a rotten umpiring decision. And while it is probably not related to Lawrie’s call, it just shows the absolute stupidity of the umpiring crew.

    I can understand a missed ball / strike here and there, and a poor call of force outs and tag outs once in a while.

    It was just a stupid decision to toss Alvarez.

    I thought by the way, though it’s now lost, that there was some great run production in the top of the 6th.

    When do you see Adam Lind coming back to the Majors? And were you wrong about him being optioned?

    MW: When Lind got sent down, I said I thought he would be back around the all-star break, so I guess I’ll stick with this. I wasn’t wrong about him being put on outright waivers (well, my source wasn’t wrong), he was. As for Beck/Igarashi – good call.

    - Tim in Niagara Falls
  18. 18.

    Mike I would have extremely high blood pressure if I had to deal with some of these callers. Are they at all thinking of bringing up Deck Mcguire ? I feel they would be rushing him

    MW: I don’t know why they would be thinking about that at this point.

    - Dougie
  19. 19.

    There is one thing that you did not mention in your blog that could have potentially changed the outcome of the game.

    I honestly believe Igarashi struck out Kinsler to start the 13th. It clearly looked like Kinsler swung at the pitch that was called ball 4. If Kinsler gets rung up to start the inning, who knows what happens?

    I know that major league pitchers need to be able to get outs after bad calls by the umps, but if Iggy gets that first out, maybe the Jays win and he is still here.

    - Fred
  20. 20.

    After a second listen to the call yesterday by Jeff from Fergus, he said the league. Well one can argue whether he meant the american league or all of MLB but thats not really the point.
    Forget about the caller, the statements he made, and whether or not he had anything to back them up.
    The point is that statistically, the Jays bullpen ranked bottom 4 in most of the significant categories in the AL going into last nights game.
    They have promise, they have had injuries, I will give them that. The main issue is that this bullpen was touted prior to the season as being greatly improved from last season. It was going to be a major difference maker to the team record. Whether you believe the stats, or whether you want to get hung up on a few solid outings here and there, the bottom line is that they have generally under performed, and have been a huge let down considering what the management team sold the fans on this pre season.
    Casual fans see it, passionate fans see it, i’m not sure why you can’t see it and admit they have been a major let down at this point in the season.
    I don’t think the majority of us are calling for another major overhaul of the bullpen at this point. Just a simple acknowledgement that its generally not getting the job done that was promised before the season.

    MW: I’m sorry, but give me a break. A simple acknowledgement? Of course the bullpen has been a huge letdown, of course they haven’t performed, as a group, nearly as well as we had a right to expect them to. I haven’t denied that for one second at any point this season, you’d have to be a fool to do so. But to say that “they’re terrible” or that the Blue Jays were pulling the wool over the fans’ eyes by suggesting that this should have been a vastly improved bullpen is ludicrous.

    - Craig
  21. 21.

    Thanks Mike,
    I’m sorry if i missed you saying that on previous shows. I don’t get to listen as often as i would like.
    I agree also that management wasn’t trying to pull the wool over our eyes. On paper this is a vastly improved pen. I was very excited about what they had assembled, and I still have faith that they will get it together.
    Thanks for the replies, its nice to have a civilized conversation with someone in the know!

    - Craig
  22. 22.

    I think it’s time to get Gene Tenace back as our hitting coach. Dwayne Murphy hasn’t got it and it shows. I don’t think the players believe in his system. I bet Adam Lind might be thinking of hiring him as a personal batting consultant because since he left it has been a tough slide for Lind.

    MW: You’re giving the coaches far too much credit.

    - yaz from St. Mary's
  23. 23.

    Blue Jays are the worst sports franchise in North America. I can’t think of a worse run organization. They are, quite frankly, a farce.

    - Mike
  24. 24.

    Mike, in your Blue Jays talk this afternoon (Sunday), you made reference to the Jays’ record not being “at .500″ since “opening day” (and once “since they were 2-2″). Have you forgotten their “pattern” in most of the month of April? They were .500 at 2-2, 4-4, 8-8, and 10-10 (as of April 27). It was not until the first week of May that they managed to “leave .500 behind”, at least until this weekend.

    MW: Yeah, I really messed that up.

    - Norm
  25. 25.

    Wow! I am surprised we have so much trade talk all in the wake of Adam Lind’s surprise demotion.
    Why spend when the team has so many holes that a playoff-bound team can exploit?
    Spending the kind of money many are suggesting is only done when you need to patch up one or two problems – not something like starting pitching, relief, DH, left field, first base…
    All this adds credence to what many of us have said all along, this club will be competitive (fun to watch) but will be hard pressed to make the playoffs this season.

    - Joseph P.
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