Not that it’s at all related to this game other than the Detroit Tigers are playing, but when I was in grade three the funniest joke in circulation went like this:

Did you hear about that new book about ferocious felines? It’s called Tiger’s Revenge by Claude Balls.

It’s really a shame that the Tigers and Blue Jays aren’t in the same division. Games like tonight’s 4-2 Blue Jays win are exciting and the traveling fans making the short distance from Ontario to Michigan (and vice versa for games in Toronto) would make for an excellent rivalry if only they played more against each another.

Anatomy Of A Winning Inning

With the score knotted up at one in the top of the eighth inning, the Detroit Tigers went to newly signed reliever Joaquin Benoit after a fine outing from starter Max Scherzer. Benoit, much like his three year $16.5 million contract to this point, was disappointing.

  1. The first pitch that Jose Bautista swings at finds a hole between the shortstop and third baseman to almost leak into left field.
  2. Edwin Encarnacion hits a single only slightly harder to a similar spot on the field.
  3. After going down 0-2 on two straight swinging strikes in which he was miles ahead of off speed pitches, Aaron Hill takes two balls and then drives a ball into the left field corner for a double that scores Bautista, making the score 2-1 for the Blue Jays.
  4. Juan Rivera hits a deep fly ball to right field that allows Encarnacion to score from third and Hill to advance to third base.
  5. J.P. Arencibia hits the ball to the warning track in left field that allows Hill to tag up and score putting Toronto ahead 4-1.

J.P. Arencibia’s Perfectly Passable Patience With An Assist To Miguel Cabrera’s Decently Declining Defense

While the entire lineup has looked better at the plate in terms of approach in recent games, no one better exemplifies the patient approach more than J.P. Arencibia. It’s one thing to use plate discipline to get ahead in the count, but it’s quite another to have a consistent approach even after falling behind. During his six pitch at bat in the sixth inning, the young starting catcher only swung at strikes and took pitches outside the strike zone despite being behind in the count.

His patience paid off, with an assist to Miguel Cabrera’s fear of the tarp in foul territory, with a single to left field.

Most Important Play(s) Of The Game

Aaron Hill’s double in the eighth inning was impressive for two reasons: Primarily because it was the most important play of the game in terms of win probability, increasing the Blue Jays chances of victory by 21%, but also because it came after a horrendous at bat in which he struck out on four pitches, with a little help from the umpire.

Biggest Opportunity Missed

With a man on second base and only one out in the seventh inning, a tired Kyle Drabek got Ramon Santiago to pop up to John McDonald for the second out of the inning. A different outcome on this at bat would’ve meant a very different ballgame.

The Aggravating Things That John Farrell Did

Speaking of opportunities missed, I probably wouldn’t have brought Kyle Drabek out for the seventh inning after he threw 101 pitches and only 52 for strikes, but I definitely would’ve taken him out for Marc Rzepczynski with switch hitter Ramon Santiago due up with one out and a runner in scoring position. Santiago’s splits: .667 OPS as LHB vs. RHP and .613 OPS as RHB vs. LHP. Thankfully, it worked out alright.

The Statistics You Won’t Believe

Jose Bautista has more stolen bases than intentional walks and hasn’t ground into a single double play all season.

Based on sight alone, I would’ve guessed that Target Field in Minnesota is way bigger than Comerica Park in Detroit, and therefore gives up less home runs. This year, Comerica Park ranks twenty-seventh in the league for home runs. Target Field ranks twenty-first. Last year, Target Field was dead last, and Comerica Park ranked twenty-first.

After tonight, Marc Rzepczynski leads the Blue Jays with the best shutdown to meltdown ratio of 8:1.

Kyle Drabek’s FIP tonight was 4.94. His xFIP was 6.61. This is what happens when 49% of your pitches are balls. Claude Balls!

Shutdowns/Meltdowns

As you may have guessed Marc Rzepczynski’s scoreless eighth inning was an official shutdown. Technically, Frank Francisco’s save in the ninth inning counts as a shutdown too, but giving up a home run, a walk and a couple of well hit balls in the ninth inning show us that there are still some kinks to iron out with this stat.

Stray Observations Of The Game

Every Jose Bautista plate appearance is must see.

I think Lumber Liquidators knew what they were doing when they paid for advertising behind home plate for this two game series against the Blue Jays.

I actually wrote this down right after Andy Dirkis got on base and narrowly missed getting picked off: How cruel would it have been if right after collecting his first Major League hit, was immediately picked off? Two pitches later, he was picked off.

It’s funny that the Rogers Sportsnet broadcast crew promoted Jose Bautista leading off the sixth, completely forgetting that Yunel Escobar was thrown out trying to steal second in the fifth inning, meaning that Corey Patterson would actually lead off.

Patterson is insanely fast. It’s disappointing he isn’t a better base runner.

John McDonald’s seventh inning bunt with men on first and second, none out and down 1-0 was a rare sacrifice that I didn’t mind.

Is there any fielder in the league who can transition a ball from his glove to a different destination faster than John McDonald?

It almost seems unfair when Jose Bautista gets a seeing eye single.

Despite what you may hear from commentators trying to give an overview of tonight’s game, Kyle Drabek did not have a good outing.

More On This Later

Adam Lind has been placed on the DL. Eric Thames is getting called up.