On a night when the public address system crashed, the Blue Jays lost the game thanks in large part to one of the more reliable cogs in the team’s wheel breaking down. John McDonald’s ninth inning throwing error, his first of the year, eventually led to two runs being scored, but all the White Sox needed was one of them, as Chicago beat Toronto 3-1.
Pitching fans were treated to two very different styles from the two starters tonight. Brandon Morrow relied only on a fastball and slider (what Orel Hershiser would call a small repitwah) to strike out five batters and only allow four hits and one run. Meanwhile, White Sox starter Phil Humber went seven and two thirds relying on five different pitches that he worked into the game evenly, only running into trouble when Yunel Escobar took him deep in the sixth inning.
While Morrow certainly did his job keeping the White Sox to only a single run through seven innings, it’s hard to blame the Blue Jays bullpen for reasons that we’ll take a closer look at in the breakdown below.
The Simon And Garfunkel Lyrics Of The Game
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence.
Anatomy Of A Failed Slugger
When Adam Dunn signed his four year $56 million contract with the Chicago White Sox this past offseason, it seemed downright reasonable compared to some of the other free agent deals being handed out. Almost 200 plate appearances into the season and calling Dunn a shadow of his former self is an insult to the player who hit at least 38 home runs for seven years in row coming into 2011.
Tonight was yet another disastrous outing.
In Dunn’s first at bat, the model of consistent power struck out looking, taking both the second and seventh pitch of his at bat, which were as close to identical as you can get.
Earlier today, I took a look at Zack Greinke striking out five batters yesterday afternoon on swinging strikes with sliders. I’m going to assume Brandon Morrow was reading it because that’s exactly what he did to Adam Dunn in the fourth inning.
And again in the sixth inning.
I’m assuming Marc Rzepczynski was watching those last two at bats and read my story on Greinke today because he absolutely embarrassed Dunn on a slider nowhere near the strike zone.
Yes, Adam. It really was that far away.
Most Important Play(s) Of The Game
Juan Pierre’s base hit scored two runs in the top of the ninth, increasing the White Sox chances of winning by 40.5%. The worst part was that it was probably the exact type of contact that pitcher Marc Rzepczynski would’ve hoped for. Pierre simply beat Rzepczynski to the bag, and Juan Rivera didn’t help matters when he tossed the ball at the reliever’s feet. The White Sox took a 3-1 lead and never looked back.
Biggest Opportunity Missed
Juan Rivera’s groundout in the bottom of the eighth decreased the Jays chance of winning more than any other play in a bottom half of an inning, but I’m going to go with what happened just before Rivera’s at bat as the biggest missed opportunity.
The Aggravating Things That John Farrell Did
I thought we’d already figured out that running while Jose Bautista is at bat isn’t a good idea. Nonetheless, Corey Patterson stole second base, meaning that with a 3-1 count, Bautista was given a free pass instead of a chance to hit the ball with the game tied in the eighth inning. Juan Rivera came up next and ended the inning with a ground out.
You could definitely question the thinking behind keeping Marc Rzepczynski out there for almost 30 pitches, but he did look good striking out two batters and the two guys who did reach base did so in the flimsiest of ways.
The Statistics You Won’t Believe
Adam Dunn has five home runs this season. Dunn hit his tenth of last season on May 27th, 2010. His slugging percentage coming into tonight’s game was .355. Jose Bautista’s batting average was .342.
The Blue Jays lead the league in infield fly balls, sending 16.3% of their fly balls straight up into the infield. Surprisingly, the team leader isn’t Aaron Hill. It’s Corey Patterson. Must be all the fastballs.
Brandon Morrow collected eleven swinging strikes tonight. Eight of them were sliders.
Including tonight, Aaron Hill has only nine walks this season. He has more infield fly outs than walks.
Marc Rzepczynski gets an official meltdown, but we’ll give this one to John McDonald whose throwing error accounted for the likelihood of the Chicago White Sox winning the game by 17%.
Carefully Selected Quote Cliche Of The Game
From Baseball Prospectus, tonight I’ll go with:
We just had a tough day. We just haven’t gotten many breaks. That’s part of the deal. We couldn’t get a break. Every team is going to have a game like this. We’re not out of anything. This team will bounce back. I know it. We have to forget about today. Come Friday, our heads will be clear and we’ll be ready to go again. Get some sleep and come back ready to play.
Stray Observations Of The Game
For a couple of glorious innings during tonight’s game, the PA system at the Rogers Centre went down and the game was played in silence. No announcements. No songs. No promotions. Just baseball.
I wonder if other teams’ fans are just as happy to see Corey Patterson batting second in the lineup as I was to see Juan Pierre leading off for the White Sox.
I was saddened to learn that reporter Joe Cowley didn’t travel with the team to Toronto, opting instead to follow the Bulls in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. What a shame.
Adam Dunn looks awful. He must really hate baseball. That joke isn’t old. You’re old. What do you mean that doesn’t make any sense? You don’t make any sense.
John McDonald recorded his first error of the season, transitioning too quickly in an attempt to throw Alex Rios out at first on a grounder to third. He clearly forgot that Rios doesn’t actually run out those types of hits.
No one in Toronto misses Alex Rios. Not even a little bit.