Casey Janssen pitched a clean ninth– the first time the Jays have received one in a save situation all season– as Brandon Morrow dropped the ground ball act, and three maligned hitters powered the Jays over the A’s to salvage a spit in their mini-series, and a split of their west coast swing, that tonight takes them back to the interior of the continent, as they visit Minnesota.
It’s a pretty fucking rosy, borderline disingenuous thing to say, but before the road trip began– and before the first two spectacular games against against the Angels, and a close loss in the third– I’m pretty sure we’d have taken a .500 record heading into Minnesota. So, as long as we can keep out of our heads how the three losses went down– especially the first one in Oakland– and how the filth being tossed by Morrow and Alvarez in Anaheim made it seem like the Jays had a real shot at having an actual winning trip out west for once, it really hasn’t gone so badly.
Better– and perhaps more ingenuous– still is how, while he’s hardly perfect, the Jays have a manager who is at least eventually able to come around to the side of common goddamn sense when it comes to some of the screamingly obvious problems with the way he’s been running the club. And, let’s be honest, if he reacted as hastily as fans they’re entitled to have him do, there’d be a new closer after every blow save, and massive changes in the lineup every week. So I get that Farrell has to walk the fine line between showing faith in his players, not creating an atmosphere where everybody is looking over their shoulder after every bad day, and doing right by the rest of the team by getting shitbags out of positions where they’re costing games and runs.
That Lind “responded” to the demotion with a two-hit performance, including the key two-run blast, and that Arencibia “responded” to being pinch hit for by Omar effing Vizquel with one of his own– and shit, perhaps even Encarnacion “responded” to no longer having to wonder why he kept finding himself hitting behind the worst regular 1B/DH in baseball two years running– and that Janssen showed hints of having the Clozer Mentality is kinda immaterial to me, and anybody who doesn’t get caught up in superstitious After School Special narrative bullshit. If being angry, or having faith shown in you, actually literally leads directly to success, then… um… I don’t know, because it fucking doesn’t!
But it worked, and more importantly than a single result, the Jays are setup for success better today than they were with Cordero closing and Lind batting cleanup.
Sure, for Cordero and Lind to have been in those positions anyway– the notion of starting the year with a clean slate, and the manager making decisions based on this year’s performance alone, ignoring the wealth of data from 2011 that these guys are not what their reputations said they were– was a little bit goddamn absurd, and it makes hard to actually give the team credit for fixing it with a straight face, but… sometimes that’s just the pace at which baseball works.
Maybe it shouldn’t be, but making these kinds of decisions is a little more complicated than it seems when we’re all in the throes of an involuntary emotional wretching after yet another sporting clusterfuck. Maybe I’m being way too understanding here, but getting it kinda right eventually is at least better than not ever getting it right at all.
Image Ezra Shaw/Getty.