I had a nice weekend away—a great time with old and new friends. I maybe stayed up too late and maybe had just a little too much to drink, but a good time was had.
I got back for extra innings of yesterday's game after listening to the game on the radio. Ben Wagner didn’t like the plate umpire. But the Umpire Scorecard shows that, while it wasn’t great, it was fair from the worst we’ve seen this season. If all the percentages are 90 or up, that’s the best we can hope, I’m afraid.
In what I watched, there were a couple of moments that stood out:
In the ninth inning, Danny Jansen doubles. Cavan Biggio coming up.
If I ran a manager’s school, the number one lesson would be “DO NOT GIVE THE OTHER TEAM FREE OUTS.” Double down on that when you have a baserunner already in scoring position.
Bunts with runners on second are not all that easy, and, of course, the cost of messing up is greater than messing up with a runner on first.
Throw in some extra variables:
- A batter who has only had two successful sac bunts in his career and none this season.
- A runner on second who, while not slow (for a catcher), is not one of the fastest guys on the team).
- A pitcher who can throw very hard and has a good slider.
You always hear the analysts say, ‘They should be practicing bunting’, but it is pretty tough to simulate bunting off a guy who can hit the high 90s with his fastball and pairs that with a very good curve and a slider and sinker.
If you can bunt for a base hit, great, do it.
And the next at-bat was frustrating, too.
Santiago Espinal, who is hitting .213, with a .576 OPS, who is only in the game because Bo had to leave, gets three balls to start his at-bat. Dan Shulman says, ‘Espinal will be taking the next pitch and likely the pitch after’ (paraphrasing).
The next pitch is well below the strike zone, but Espinal swings and misses. How can that happen? When he knows you have to take the next pitch, how come the guy at the plate doesn’t He had ball four, could have moved Biggio into scoring position, and Brandon Belt would have come up to the plate. Two more strikes, and the inning is over.
I don’t know if Espinal was given a take sign (obviously, he should have been) or if the coaching staff thought they didn’t have to tell him to take a pitch because, well, he’s gotta know that or perhaps, the team doesn’t have a ‘take sign’ (which would explain a lot about the Jays season).
And, of course, along with the loss, Matt Chapman and Bo Bichette came out of the game with injuries.
Chapman has middle finger inflammation again (or, more likely, still). Chapman is hitting .156/.229/.188 since returning to the lineup after missing a few games with the finger issue, so I doubt he was healthy at any point in the last couple of weeks.
Bo Bichette has been “feeling it” in his quad and playing through it.— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) August 27, 2023
John Schneider called it a precautionary move and “separate” from his right patellar tendinitis. #BlueJays
Everyone has pointed out that saying it is “separate” from the tendinitis is a bit of a stretch. Legs have many parts, and they all tend to be attached. Something hurts; we tend to strain things around that something.
Obviously, Bo’s injury was serious because I am sure he didn’t want to leave a close game. I would have loved having him up instead of Espinal in the ninth inning.
If either has to go on the IL, it might be a nice chance to see Addison Barger.
The Jays host the Washington Nationals for a three-game series. If you hope the Nationals will be an easy opponent, you might be out of luck. The Nationals are 16-8 in August. If the Jays were 16-8 this month, this series wouldn’t be as important as it is now. The Jays need wins.
FanGraphs has the Jays with a 49.2% chance of making the playoffs. Losing this series would lower that substantially.