A guy figures, “This is dumb.”
Yeah, it is, and look at them on the field, too.
Another lost season long ago turned into a look ahead to 2013. There’s a constant whine about injuries — as if other teams haven’t been bitten just as badly or worse — but one problem seldom mentioned out loud is the terrible way the Jays play too many nights. Not every night, obviously, but there’s far too much of:
• Not being able to bunt when asked to.
• Constantly taking the bat out of their best hitters’ hands.
• Costly mental mistakes.
The Jays, because of injuries, have young players here who shouldn’t be here. Nor does this refer to ordinary fielding errors. Errors are part of the game and everybody makes them, although there’s no excuse for so many inaccurate throws from the outfield and cutoff men missed. It’s the preventable stuff that needs to be substantially reduced if this team is ever going to compete.
In the Friday game, tied in the eighth inning with none out, Brett Lawrie was thrown out at third base trying to advance on a grounder in front of him to shortstop. This was after Lawrie, at third base (which he usually plays very well) tried to chase down a runner with two out instead of taking the easy out at first base, the way every kid is taught. It eventually cost the team two runs.
Saturday, Lawrie somehow missed a sign (so they said) with two runners on base, none out, and Eddie Encarnacion, by far their best hitter, on deck. Naturally, Boston walked EE and by now he must be used to having the bat removed from his own hands.
How many times this year have we seen someone thrown out trying to steal a base, often third base, with two out and either Encarnacion or Jose Bautista at the plate? Once is too many and we’ve seen it several times.
Rajai Davis usually is the main culprit; he’s an almost unstoppable base stealer, but sometimes he runs at the wrong time. Plus, let’s not forget Lawrie’s early-season attempted steal of home with Bautista up, nor Colby Rasmus getting doubled off third base on a line drive to the second baseman in a one-run game in New York.
Later that Saturday game, in which the Jays also had a runner thrown out at home by 25 feet, manager John Farrell chose to pitch to Dustin Pedroia, Boston’s best player, with first base open in a tie game. That decision resulted in a discussion in the Boston clubhouse, a press box pal later mentioned.
“They don’t want Encarnacion to hit, but they want to pitch to Pedroia? Really?”
That weekend, and in New York on Wednesday, the Jays also left a handful of leadoff doubles right at second base. The art of hitting behind the runner, of making productive outs, appears too infrequently. Similarly, Farrell bunts too often (at least for this liking) but when the bunt makes sense, too often the Jays can’t get it down properly. Watching Anthony Gose pop up a bunt after a leadoff double, down 3-0 to the Yanks, was painful.
That same game, with everyone knowing Andy Pettitte was approaching his pitch limit, the Jays gifted him with a seven-pitch fifth inning.