Monday, July 05, 2010

Luck or Design?

The Blue Jays threw three Yankees out at the plate on Sunday. They hit three homers against Phil Hughes (because Posada was catching). The kept Robinson Cano hitless and struck him out twice. They made Curtis Granderson look like a left-hand hitting Soriano (maybe he is). Young starter, Brandon Morrow, struck out seven in six innings and walked only one. The Blue Jays caused only the second blown save of the year for Mariano Rivera after Rivera had gone sixteen outings in a row without giving up a run. And they lost.

Morrow has to be wondering what he has to do. He pitched great. He benefited from some amazingly bad third base coaching by the Yankees. Though saying that, the Blue Jays arms really gunned down those runners. The throws had to be perfect and each time they were. Thanks to Posada's catching, the great Phil Hughes (who also had a bad outing the last time he was caught by Posada) gave up three homers and Morrow was sitting pretty with a 5-3 lead. The Yankees wouldn't even have three runs if it wasn't for a dumb fielding play by Lyle Overpaid. The first baseman fielded a bunt with men on first and second and somehow thought he could throw out Brett Gardner at third. Big mistake. But still, Morrow had a two run lead and was pitching great.

In the sixth inning, Morrow had a runner on base with two outs and induced Gardner to hit a can of corn to centerfield. End of inning right? Oops. Nope. DeWayne Wise, who had hit a three run homer off of Hughes and had thrown out two of those runners at the plate, settled under it and suddenly started acting like a July 4th firework was heading right for his head. He ducked in the sun. The ball clanked off the back of his glove. Wise hit the ground and Gardner flew around the bases for an inside the park home run. The camera panned to Morrow who was incredulous. The worst thing about the whole thing was now he wasn't going to get a win AND those two runs which weren't his fault are earned runs and go against his ERA. Poor guy.

So now the score is tied 5-5 and in the seventh inning, Cito Gaston brings in Camp to replace Morrow. Camp has retired the first batter he has faced in an inning a league leading 85% of the time. His first batter is Derek Jeter, who is in a terrible slump. Of course, Jeter promptly singles. Swisher then singles just out of the reach of second baseman, McDonald's dive attempt. Teixeira doubles in Jeter. Swisher stopped at third (the only smart call by the third base coach all day). Camp got A-Rod to strike out and Cervelli is up with the bases loaded and one out (Cano was intentionally walked). Cervelli hits a foul pop to right field, medium depth. Bautista catches the ball, hits the wall and still manages to throw out Swisher at the plate trying to score on a tag play. 6-5.

The Blue Jays get three dink hits as the great Mariano Rivera fell victim to some BABIP leavening and tied the score. The hardest hit ball of the inning came with two out and runners on first and third after the Blue Jays had tied the score. A-Rod made a great play to stab the screamer and just barely threw out Wise at second for the force. Frasor easily took care of the Yankees in the ninth. On to extra innings.

In the top of the 10th, the Yankees brought in Roberston, who has been simply awful this year. Not just a little awful, but unbelievably awful. Robertson promptly gave up a single to Bautista and a walk to Lind. First and second with no out. The Fan was thinking that it's over at that point. Gaston, who if nothing else, always paints by the numbers, asked Edwin Encarnacion to bunt. First off, wasn't Encarnacion let go a week or two ago? How is he back? Encarnacion didn't look happy but made his attempt. He popped it to third. Everyone thought that A-Rod was going to catch it. Lind didn't run from first. Encarnacion didn't bother to run at all. A-Rod smartly let it drop and threw out Lind at second and Encarnacion was thrown out at first. Geez. Not a good moment. Robertson walked Lyle Overpaid intentionally because everyone knows that Molina can't hit. Gaston could not pinch hit for him because he already used Buck as a pinch hitter earlier (not too bright). Molina struck out and that was it.

David Purcey came in to pitch for the Blue Jays in the bottom of the tenth. Purcey has pitched well this year. His WHIP was under 1 and his batting average against was around .160. But he walked Cano, which is very hard to do. Cervelli put down a perfect sacrifice but Granderson, who looks totally lost, struck out. But then Purcey walked Gardner and Marcus Thames, who hasn't hit in weeks and just back from the DL, hit a flare to center and the game was over.

So many who watched this game would say that the Blue Jays were unlucky in this game. Many will say that the Yankees are the luckiest team in all of baseball. But is it luck? Or was the Yankees win simply a combination of one manager making more mistakes than another and one team not performing when it mattered? This Fan believes the latter is that case. Cito Gaston appears to be managing on cruise control on his way to his consultant gig at the end of the year. The Blue Jays made critical mistakes at critical times. This Fan was sad for them.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

I felt bad for Morrow. Should have gotten out of that inning without giving up those 2 runs.