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Walk Off Wins are Great

Rays 2 Blue Jays 3

We've lost enough games in walk off style, it is much nicer on this side. That 9th inning was interesting. Down by a run, facing J.P. Howell. John McDonald leading off the inning and Cito lets him hit. Truly a stupid move. Mac gets on base worse than almost anyone that plays professional baseball. And, surprise, he didn't get on. Then Cito pinch hits Rod Barajas for Raul Chavez. Chavez has been hitting better than Rod, but Rod is the streakiest hitter we've ever seen and he did hit a homer just Monday and has 4 hits in his last two game. I'm going to give credit for Cito knowing that. And he hit one out to tie the game, against an excellent closer. 

Then Marco Scutaro walked on 4 pitches. Aaron Hill flied out deep, he just missed it. Then Vernon Wells walked on a full count pitch. The ball four pitch looked like a strike to me but then strike two looked like a ball, so it all balanced out, winning run to second. Kevin Millar walked on 5 pitches, good job Kevin. I'm not a fan (no friggin' kidding) but he is smart enough to wait out a pitcher who has shown he has no control. Ruiz got to 2 strikes then Howell bounced a pitch 10 feet in front of the plate, Zaun tried to block it but he really had no chance. 

Now I really want to rag on Cito for not pich hitting for Johnny Mac but we won. But still, how do you not pinch hit in that spot? I'm sure John is a great guy. I was very impressed, watching in Seattle, that he and Scoot stayed out taking ground balls longer than anyone else, each game. You would think a guy that only played occasionally wouldn't be the last one out there every day. But still, he can't hit at all, you gotta pinch hit for him there.

Offensively, we didn't do much at all until that 9th inning. We did load the bases in the 2nd inning but Mac struck out and Chavez ground out and we blew that chance. In the 5th Travis Snider lead off the inning by getting brushed by a pitch. Mac was up after him, I thought I hated the sac bunt more than anyone but I'd have had Mac bunt. Cito didn't and Mac popped out. Raul Chavez doubled but Travis couldn't score. A Scutaro pop out and a Hill strike out and that threat ended. We scored in the 6th off a Millar (!) double followed by a Jose Bautista double.

Pitching? Marc Rzepczynski went 5.2 innings of hitless ball, but by then he had thrown over 100 pitches and a single and Gabe Kapler homer and he left the game after 6 innings down by two. Scrabble was really good, he did walk 5 which is what got his pitch count up so high, but he struck out 7. He looks like a keeper. Lots of young pitchers walk too many but if he can keep the hits down he'll be good.

Our pen was great. Jesse Carlson pitched a perfect 7th. Scott Downs gave up a hit and a walk but started a nice DP on a ball hit back to him. And Brandon League gave up two soft hits but struck out the side around them. The guy can't throw anything straight, every pitch he has moves. He got the win.

It was a strange game. Two plate umpires were hurt by balls hitting them. The first, Jerry Crawford, took a pitch dead off the mask. The masks are great but if a ball hits straight on there is only so much force it can absorb. Then later in the game the new plate umpire, Tom Hallion took a ball in the chest. Again the padding is great but you get hit hard enough and it is going to hurt. So we were on to the third plate umpire. I don't think I've ever seen that before, three plate umpires in one game. Having guys changing into plate umpire padding a couple of times during the game made for a long game. 

Jays of the Day are Barajas (.466 WPA),  Ruiz (.239) and Bautista (.142). Hmmmm let's take that one away from Ruiz, looks like Fangraphs credited Ruiz for the wild pitch. Honorable mention to, oh lots of guys, Scrabble, Downs, Carlson, League, and Millar. Could say Wells too, he took some close pitches to get that walk, but I won't. Suckage Jays are McDonald (-.260 on a 0 for 4, though he made two terrific plays at third in the first inning) and Hill (-.194 for an 0 for 5 game). Snider came close at (-.098) but he did take one for the team to lead off the 5th which could have been a good thing had we scored him. 

Anyway, tomorrow the Jays have an off day then we have 3 in Boston. Hopefully we'll win a couple. In other JP Riccardi said the Jays wouldn't be calling up J.P. Arencibia in September. I don't think any of us were expecting he would be called up. 

And yep, I'm tired of seeing Millar in the cleanup spot and even more tired of watching him in the field. He did have a good game today, walking twice and hitting a double. But still, enough is enough. Let's go the last 37 games games without seeing that.