I try to remain fairly rational when writing about my favourite team, but I admit that I’m still more of a fan than some sort of journalist or reporter. I don’t shy away from that. And I don’t think anyone would mistake my writing about the Blue Jays as anything other than biased and very prejudiced.

Tonight’s game write up is a perfect example of me being a fan and not a reporter. It was terrible. There were terrible mistakes from the manager, terrible performances from the mound and terrible approaches at the plate. It was all just terrible.

So many times, we as fans only tend to see one team on the field. When the Jays win they’re great, when they lose they’re terrible (like tonight). We forget that the reason they might be winning is that the other team is playing poorly or that the reason that they might be losing is that the other team is playing well. Tonight, I’m certain that Toronto lost the game far more than Detroit won it.

Two days after being no hit, tonight’s 10-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers (which, don’t kid yourself, is actually complimentary to the way that Toronto played tonight) is the low point of the 2011 season. Oh, and Adam Lind might need to go on the Disabled List with a strained back muscle. Just great.

Anatomy Of An Inning Gone Wrong

After three innings of shutout baseball in which he struck out five batters, this is how Brandon Morrow’s fourth inning went:

  • Strikes out Brennan Boesch with an 88 mph slider in the dirt, but Jose Molina looks completely unprepared for the pitch he presumably called for and it hits the dirt as the catcher stabs at it with his backhand, missing and allowing Boesch to advance to first base. It’s scored a wild pitch.
  • Walks Miguel Cabrera on six pitches. Look at where that sixth pitch lands according to Brooks Baseball:

  • Gives up a deep fly ball to center field that is hard hit, but playable for a good center fielder. Corey Patterson is not a good center fielder as evidenced by his route to the ball. Victor Martinez comes away with a double and one run knocked in.
  • Gives up a line drive to shallow center field off the bat of Don Kelly, scoring Cabrera. Martinez advances to third.
  • Collects the first official out of the inning on Jhonny Peralta’s liner right to Yunel Escobar.
  • Walks Alex Avila to load the bases on five pitches. He was again squeezed by the home plate umpire. This time on the first pitch of the at bat.

  • Is pulled for Shawn Camp who gives up a double to clear the bases.

Morrow was pulled with a fielding independent pitching number of 2.04.

Biggest Play Of The Game

Austin Jackson’s three run double to center field off Shawn Camp with two out in the fourth inning that scored all of the runners that Camp had inherited from Brandon Morrow made for the greatest increase in win probability in the game (27.3%).

Biggest Opportunity Missed

After Jose Bautista reached third base in the bottom of the first inning, there was one out for Edwin Encarnacion. He flew out but it wasn’t deep enough to bring Bautista in. Aaron Hill followed by striking out.

The Aggravating Things That John Farrell Did

Batting Corey Patterson second in the lineup is almost excusable when he’s playing well, but his on base percentage has dipped back to his career norms right now which means there’s no reason whatsoever to bat him second in any lineup. He hasn’t had a walk since April 28.

I wouldn’t have pulled Brandon Morrow in the fourth inning. He was pitching well, but bad defensive plays from Jose Molina and Patterson combined with a bloop single and some squeeze action by the home plate umpire made it look otherwise. Look over that anatomy of an inning gone wrong written out above. I can’t help but feel as though a mound visit would’ve induced some rest for Morrow and gotten him through the rest of the inning. As manager, Farrell should’ve realized the extent to which the runs being scored and put on base wasn’t on Morrow’s head.

It’s always exciting, but I’m not really sure why you try to steal a base down four runs with your best hitter at the plate.

Even down by four runs, there is no way Octavio Dotel should be allowed to enter a game in which those due up are left handed hitters or switch hitters. He walked the first lefty he faced, then gave up a home run to the next lefty he saw.

The Statistics You Won’t Believe

Coming into tonight’s game, Jose Bautista has had an incredible 34% of his plate appearances end in a walk or a home run. More than half of this year’s qualified batters don’t even have an on base percentage that high. In other words, eliminate singles, doubles and triples from Bautista’s totals, and he’s still avoiding outs at a better rate than the average batter.

Brandon Morrow’s four seam fastball is only a couple mph faster than Max Scherzer’s, but Morrow’s slider was about 10 mph faster than Scherzer’s tonight.

Corey Patterson has started twice as many games in CF this season than in 2009 and 2010 combined.

Shutdowns/Meltdowns

Shawn Camp and Octavio Dotel both decreased the Blue Jays chances of winning enough to be considered having official meltdowns.

Stray Observations Of The Game

I really enjoy Brandon Morrow pushing the velocity on his fastball past 95 mph every once in a while in the same way one might tease a dog while playing tug.

I thought high eighties sliders only existed in video games. Morrow was consistently throwing them at 88 and 89 mph.

Corey Patterson’s horrible route to Victor Martinez’s double in the fourth inning shouldn’t be nearly as criticized as the decision to play Patterson in center field.

I hear the Pittsburgh Pirates are an interesting team to follow.

In the eighth inning, Juan Rivera hit a foul ball off of Joaquin Benoit. In my mind it was close enough to drop his bat, falling eight to ten feet from the foul line. Three pitches later, Rivera dove to avoid a tag after a poor throw forced Miguel Cabrera off the bag on what should’ve been an inning ending double play. #Hustle&Heart

I’m hoping that the Rogers Centre is equipped with the proper drainage for the sewage left on the field after tonight’s game.

Comments (17)

  1. Most aggravating decision for me was Patterson stealing 2nd with Bautista at the plate.

    Patterson was 3 for 7 in stolen bases going in, so the most likely scenario (admittedly, based on a small sample size) was an out. Luckily, he got the base, but that just encouraged Scherzer to pitch around Bautista and eventually walk him with first base open, to get to the slumping E5, who struck out. Hill then finished the inning with a lazy fly out.

    WHY, John Farrell, do you encourage other teams to avoid giving our only useful hitter in tonight’s lineup anything to hit?

  2. OK, I’m with you one just about everything. Initially, I wondered why they pulled Morrow, but in the post-game Farrell said his arm slot had dropped and velocity as well. I believe that many pitching injuries come from pitching tired, losing form, and not repeating the motion. If Walton and Farrell saw the mechanics breaking down, and Morrow couldn’t correct for it, they have a responsibility to take him out of the game.

    Other than that, it stunk. And Jose Bautista needs to take it easy when he makes an out in the 9th with his team waaaaay down. I just don’t matter.

  3. I don’t buy it at all. Looking at charts his release point is consistent the whole night and also consistent with his previous start. I’ll eat my words if Morrow has a forearm strain, but the charts don’t agree with what Farrell is suggesting.

  4. Do you run Davis out there 162 as poorly as he`s playing? While UZR may like Patterson better in left, route running is no better wherever you are, save away from a major league stadium.

  5. I would have loved to have hear a Farrell explanation about stealing with Bautista at the plate down by four runs, but it seems like the Morrow ridiculousness took precedence tonight with the press.

  6. The Rays’ have a physicist studying arm angles and release points in game to guard against injuries, the Jays’ have Farrell’s gut.

    Seems about right.

  7. Yeah, but if switch to the Pirates, what are you going to say to all those Pirates fans griping about the fact that they gave up on the best hitter in baseball?

    I didn’t see the shitshow tonight, but based on what I’ve read throughout the internets, people are waaaay overreacting. This team was SUPPOSED to suck. Getting trounced by a team that – when everything is said and done – has a great shot at winning a very confused division is hardly cause for panic.

  8. @dougiejays

    Cause for panic? No, but sports isn’t supposed to be that rational anyway. There’s bound to be extremes whenever a team wins or loses. But judging by the reactions from people much smarter than I, it’s the curious, if not downright troubling manner the Jays are losing lately that seems to be emerging with greater regularity.

    A team going through a “developmental year” should be expecting a better understanding of player personnel and in-game management from a highly regarded front office and manager. So far, the Blue Jays are losing badly with a very short term outlook.

  9. I don’t see how pulling Morrow made any sense. Say what you will about Cito, but recall those visits to Romero where he didn’t pull him. That’s probably all Morrow really needed. You can’t complain about an overwokred bullpen and then pull a starter (who hasn’t thrown that many pitches) as if it’s the 7th or 8th inning and you’re trying to stay in the game. Jo-Jo has gotten more leash than they gave Morrow last night and THAT is frustrating.

    I can’t really comment on anything else in the game because I tuned it out after Camp gave up the double. (and actually only tuned in at 2-2 with runners on 1st and 3rd). But, yeah, Patterson’s supposed speed seems to be waaaaay overrated.

  10. Doesn’t AA seem like (and confirmed through his words) he’s a guy that understands why Dotel shouldnt face lefties, why Patterson shouldn’t bat 2nd or steal in that spot. Why the hell has he obviously not said something to his GM hire. I am already at the point of wanting to get rid of Farrell before this rebuilding year does more harm than good.

  11. Not saying Morrow SHOULD have been pulled… but he was having difficulty keeping the ball down. I can’t seem to get into the PitchFX data, but the charts above both show several pitches way high. Yes he got squeezed a couple of times, but he was also missing badly often – which often leads to getting squeezed.

  12. i found the “we want ci-to” chants amusing.

  13. I agree with Kenobi_bass, Morrow was no where near the zone on some of those pitches, hardly any umpire is going to give a pitcher a borderline call if he has not established the strike zone on a regular basis. Morrow should have been allowed to clean up his own mess, however if he was and it got all kinds of ugly, I can only assume we would be reading about how Farrell should have pulled him.
    As for Patterson and other players, this season is a building year, he is a stop gap until the kids in AAA season one more year. He will not be a Blue Jay for long, but he is what we have for now. Having said that I think AA and Farrell should sdvise him the CF wall is padded, it will not hurt to run into it once and a while.

  14. Good thing we have Molina and all his veteran wisdom, never mind that his fat ass is too lazy to even attempt blocking balls in the dirt. Also, I bet the fact that he throws out a cool 25% of basestealers will be offset by his brilliant bat, amiright???

    This team is pretty crappy on paper, and when they do ridiculous things like sending Snider down and replacing him with a trio of crap it’s hard not to be completely disillusioned with this franchise. They sold us fans on the rebuild, great, we’re in, we’re doing our part. Now stop fucking it all up and do it the right way.

  15. Parkes, I posted some of these comments at DJs but am curious about your response.

    At Drunks there’s some talk that Wakamatsu should be moderating Ferrell… But from the few Mariners games I saw, he didn’t seem a good manager.

    AA deserves scrutiny too now. His free agent signing Encarnacion has been awful. I think there was a consensus that we were ok with E5 as long as he was hitting only (maybe a bit of 1B). He has looked rotten at the plate and it seems just a matter of time before he gets someone hurt with his poor throws. Didn’t Nix get hurt after taking a poor feed from E5? Lind has had to go down the line several times and I saw at least one instance in which there was almost a collision. Zaun was letting E5 have it for his terrible approach at the plate in the 1st. I saw the 5th inning at bat on tv and it was unbelievably bad.

    Perhaps Dotel and Molina signings are more understandable? But I can’t see Dotel bringing back any picks at this point – to bring up his numbers and value he’d have to face righties only the rest of the season, which will be too taxing on the rest of the bullpen. Hopefully after last night’s shit show they’ve seen enough.

  16. A laughable defense behind a young pitching staff. What a great way to ruin our potential starters of the future. No way you pull Morrow in that situation. If you leave him in for one more batter, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Can’t be much worse than a bases clearing double! You can’t tell me he’s 5 pitches away from Tommy John surgery. This team appears to have no identity right now. We need something to hang our hat on other than Jose’s OBP.

  17. Morrow has a 3.06 FIP and 3.38 xFIP since the 2010 season, which ranks him in the top 10-15 pitchers in the majors (and that isn’t even taking into account the far more difficult competition he has to face with regularity).

    If any of our pitchers should be allowed to stay out in that situation, it should be him.

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