Say what you will about tonight’s 7-6 loss to the Texas Rangers, but it certainly was exciting. A back and forth battle ended when third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, whose third inning error led to the Rangers putting up six runs, missed his chance at redemption with two on in the botom of the ninth and struck out swinging on the ninth pitch he saw.
It’s frustrating to see such an offensive outburst go to waste, but I suppose that’s what happens at the Ballpark In Arlington.
Anatomy Of A Zero Earned Run Inning
The bottom of the third inning:
- With Jo-Jo Reyes on the mound, David Murphy lines out to Yunel Escobar.
- Yorvit Torrealba reaches first base on an error by, you guessed it, Edwin Encarnacion.
- Reyes strikes out Mitch Moreland in eight pitches.
- Torrealba advances to second on a wild pitch.
- Ian Kinsler draws a walk in eight pitches.
- Elvis Andrus singles to left field, scoring Torrealba and advancing Kinsler to third base. Andrus gets all the way to second on Travis Snider’s throw back into the infield.
- Michael Young doubles to left center field. Both Kinsler and Andrus score.
- Adrian Beltre gets hit by a pitch.
- Nelson Cruz singles to right field, scoring Young and sending Beltre all the way to third base.
- Mike Napoli doubles to left field, making Corey Patterson look foolish, and clearing the bases for two more runs.
- Jo-Jo Reyes is mercifully relieved by Carlos Villanueva.
Summary: Throwing 53 pitches, Reyes lasts two and two third innings, facing 15 batters, allowing five hits, walking one and hitting another, while only striking out one batter. The Rangers score six runs while Reyes is pitching. His ERA for the night: 0.00.
When will this experiment be over?
Biggest Play Of The Game
Michael Young’s bases clearing double in that infamous third inning increased his team’s chance of winning by more than 20%.
Biggest Opportunity Missed
With only one out in the second inning and Travis Snider on first base, J.P. Arencibia grounded into an inning ending double play that reduced the Blue Jays win probability by .119. Only Corey Patterson getting caught stealing with none out in the sixth came close to being the most disappointing play of the game.
The Aggravating Things That John Farrell Did Tonight
How is it possible to do worse than Corey Patterson batting second in the lineup? Why not try positioning Mike McCoy and his career .263 OBP in the lineup right behind Yunel Escobar and ahead of Jose Bautista? Yep, that will do the trick. It ended up working out okay tonight (ignoring the top of the ninth), but let’s hope that Rajai Davis’ impending return eliminates this option from future use.
Octavio Dotel has absolutely no business being brought into a game to face left handed batters. After the Blue Jays tied the game in the top of the seventh, he was brought in for the bottom half of the inning. The first batter due up was the left handed Mitch Moreland who stepped up and hit a home run off the second pitch he saw Last year, opposing batters accumulated a .993 OPS against him. When facing Dotel, the average left handed hitter is like Jose Bautista.
The Statistics You Won’t Believe
Before tonight’s game, Toronto Blue Jays players have combined for three wins above replacement. 2.1 of that belongs to Jose Bautista.
Juan Rivera has a six game hit streak going right now. His OBP in 27 PAs during those last six games is a Bautistaesque .519.
Carlos Villanueva continues to impress me. I was excited about the Blue Jays acquiring him so cheaply from the Milwaukee Brewers this offseason, and he hasn’t disappointed. Tonight was no exception. Coming into the game in the third inning, Villanueva pitched three and a third scoreless innings, earning a .162 WPA for an official shutdown.
Octavio Dotel had a meltdown by giving up the Moreland home run that anyone who’s ever visited Baseball Reference could’ve predicted. He contributed to his team’s WPA dropping by .125.
Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver both get a shutdown for Texas, pitching a scoreless eighth and ninth inning respectively.
Stray Observations Of The Game
In the third inning, a Texas Rangers fan reached over with his baseball glove and snagged a sure Jose Bautista foul out away from Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre. Bautista ended up walking later in the at bat. It’s reassuring to know that Toronto doesn’t have a monopoly on clueless baseball fans.
It’s pretty easy to criticize the way that Corey Patterson treats the warning track (like it’s that game you played when you were a kid where the carpet was hot lava and you couldn’t let your feet touch it), but let’s try to remember that at this point in his career, he’s not really a center fielder. He’s started a combined 24 games there the last three seasons.
I’m not sure why John Farrell gets credit for Jose Bautista running hard on an infield grounder.
Are there any regrets associated with the Mike Napoli for Frank Francisco trade? I’m not there yet, but I was impressed with Napoli both at the plate and surprisingly in the field tonight.
Corey Patterson continues to play so much better than Corey Patterson ought to be playing. He got on base three times tonight and scored two runs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get chances in the lineup against right handed pitching even after Rajai Davis comes back.
Totally observation based, but J.P. Arencibia looked better behind the plate tonight than what I’ve seen in the past.
Nelson Cruz is a really good baseball player.