This was supposed to be up earlier in the day but, you know, life.
The Blue Jays have spent the whole season with in 2 games of .500. I think this is the toughest thing for a blog. If the team is lousy, there is a lot to write about, if the team is great, there are a lot of things to write about. When the team is middling....you sit around hoping for a win streak to put you in the race and try not to overreact to each win or loss.
Most of our losses seem to follow the same pattern, one bad inning. Last night, Aaron Sanchez gave up a 5-run second inning. Monday, Marco Estrada gave up 3 runs in the first. Sunday, R.A. Dickey gave up 4 runs in the first. A week before that, Drew Hutchison (with help from Jeff Francis) gave up a 6-run 5th inning. That one inning continuously costs us.
Last night, that one inning just seemed to snowball on Sanchez. A couple of walks. Thank Showalter, a bunt. A double. a ground out. Back-to-back doubles. A wild pitch. Another single. And we are quickly down 5-0.
I really don't understand the bunt. 2 walks, and then you give the pitcher a few out, but I'm glad they did it.
We are going to have to find a way to stop having that one bad inning a game.
Not that the bad inning excuses the offense. It seems, a lot of those games where we give up the big inning, we also don't score much. We only had 4 hits and 3 walks on the day, so we didn't have many chances to score. I wonder if there is a lack of focus that comes over the team when they are down by a few runs. Or maybe, it's just that the other team's pitcher is having a good game.
Our one chance was in the 8th. We scored 1 in the inning, making the game 5-1, we had 2 on base and Jose Bautista up and his friend Darren O'Day pitching. Jose jumped on the first pitch and ground out. Bautista almost always lets the first pitch go by. In fact, he's only swung at 6 first pitches this season, and has 2 hits, not that it is a sample size that matters.
I think it is a good idea to occasionally jump the first pitch. If you never swing at the first pitch, pitchers will know that and just throw a batting practice fastball over the plate. Some pitchers, once they get ahead in the count are very hard to hit.
But, if you are going to swing at that first pitch, hit it hard and Jose didn't.
Brett Cecil pitched the 9th inning, with us down by 5, which doesn't seem optimum, but it had been a few days since he last pitched and I think the team will have him pitch every 3 or 4 days. I think we'll see the same with Roberto Osuna and Aaron Loup. I don't think they will be as worried about making sure the other guys in the pen get regular work.