Mission ’13, Game 8: Jays win 8-6

The game was delayed by rain for about two and a half hours and, rather than starting with a recap, I want to make some observations. In the bottom of the first Prince Fielder came to the plate with runners on the corners. Austin Jackson was on 3B, but slow-moving Miguel Cabrera was on 1B. Lefty Mark Buehrle was in an ideal position to get a double play and get out of the inning. Then something happened that I didn’t expect. Fielder hit a weak grounder to Reyes, then ran HARD to first. He beat the turn on the DP and the Tigers scored the first run of the game. Fielder also ran hard on a weak grounder to 2B in the 6th to keep the inning going.

In the top of the second, Colby Rasmus came to the plate with Arencibia on 1B, hit a weak grounder toward the mound. Inexplicably, he didn’t run hard to first. On a cool, wet day when the ball is slippery, running hard puts pressure on the defender—in this case the pitcher, Rick Porcello—to make the play. Colby didn’t, and I honestly can’t think of a good reason why he didn’t.

In the bottom of the second, Emilio Bonifacio made another error at 2B—his fourth—and an unearned run scored to make it 2-0 Tigers.

The Blue Jays are being outplayed in every facet of the game by a team not known for its strength in the fundamentals. Bonifacio’s woes are on the line between acceptable and unacceptable for two reasons: he’s a better OF than IF, but Brett Lawrie’s injury has left them short in the IF. However, it’s remedied by playing Maicer at 2B and DeRosa at 3B. They’re also being out-hustled by a team not really known for its ‘hustle.’ Colby Ramsus being out-hustled by Prince Fielder is inexcusable.

These are some of the little things that win ball games. However, along with their woes in the field, at the plate, and on the mound, the Jays really aren’t doing many of these little things to help themselves scratch out a win or two.

Then in the top of the fifth Colby hit a bullet off the wall in right. Wily veteran Torii Hunter decoyed, making it look like he had a play on the ball. Again, Colby didn’t hustle and he ended up with a single instead of a double on the play. This time, some little things made a difference in a good way. Izturis came to the plate and Manager Gibbons put on the hit and run, which kept the Jays out of a double play as Rasmus was safe at 2B. The next batter, Emilio Bonifacio, blooped a double into shallow left field, scoring Rasmus.

Unfortunately Mark Buehrle retired only one batter and gave up another run in the bottom of the fifth before John Gibbons brought in Steve Delabar to extricate the Jays from a bases loaded jam. He didn’t: after two walks and a bloop single, the Jays trailed 6-1.

In the top of the sixth, Melky, Jose and Edwin all collected hits to score a run. It was Edwin’s second double of the game. Then Mark DeRosa doubled to score two more before a fly out and two strikeouts ended the threat.

Aaron Loup, Brett Cecil, Darren Oliver, and Casey Janssen pitched four innings of 3-hit, no-walk baseball, and the Jays were home free.

There were several encouraging signs in this game. The Jays pecked away at any lead they faced. Both Melky and Edwin had multi-hit games, which may signify that they’re breaking out of their respective slumps. John Gibbons argued a call. He was wrong, but at least someone has some fire. Aaron Loup wasn’t sharp, but he pitched another shutout inning. With a double and a walk Mark DeRosa had 3 RBI off the bench. JP Arencibia continues to hit well, as his 3-run double against Octavio Dotel capped the comeback for the Jays.

There’s one real head-scratcher, though. When they acquired the speedy players, the team I envisioned them playing was DET. Why? DET has arguably the worst fielding corner infielders in baseball. I’m still waiting for the bunt-a-thon. There have been a couple attempts thus far, none of them successful.

It’s good to see the Jays pull one out of the hat. It wasn’t pretty; it was timely. When it gets mixed in with the rest of the wins at the end of the year it won’t matter what it looked like.

Wes Kepstro

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8 Responses to “Mission ’13, Game 8: Jays win 8-6”


  1. 1 Kaylene May 15, 2013 at 6:51 pm

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  2. 2 Felipe April 22, 2013 at 5:57 pm

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  3. 3 Pat Free April 11, 2013 at 7:01 am

    Although not good for the heart, gotta love it when a team can come back from behind late in the game to win it. Just goes to show that you can’t give up on this team.
    You see how Reyes was pumped up after Arencibia’s hit in the 7th? That dude is the heart of the team, LOVE him.

    • 4 Wes Kepstro April 11, 2013 at 8:00 am

      Agreed. Even though they’ve played pretty poorly so far, I don’t see the same sorts of frustration that we’ve become accustomed to over the last few years (glove slamming, helmet tossing, etc.). This is a veteran team that won’t roll over in games.

      Reyes’ enthusiasm will help this team immensely once they put things together. I got a kick out of one stat during the game. When Reyes came to the plate, they flashed his line: even though he was 0-3, he was still hitting .400. Hopefully he can keep up the high-level, high-intensity play.

      I think they’ll be just fine, especially once the pitchers hit their stride.

      • 5 Idiot Fan April 11, 2013 at 12:10 pm

        They will absolutely be fine. THe over/under at Vegas was 89 according to @ALEastbound on twitter. It might be tough for any AL EAST team to win 90+ this season. Whoever thought we would steam roll this division wasn’t paying attention. This division is still tough.

      • 6 Wes Kepstro April 11, 2013 at 7:19 pm

        Late reply, Idiot Fan…

        I can’t help but agree. Even really early on no one is ‘good enough’ (that sounds like the wrong phrase, but I’ll use it for now) to start distancing themselves. Many chose TOR and TB to lead the division, and they’re bringing up the rear.

        There’s a lot of baseball to be played yet. Last years Oakland As aren’t normative, but they’re more anecdotal evidence that one prolonged hot streak can make a gigantic difference. The ’11 Red Sox, with their prolonged cold streak (aka collapse), are evidence of the opposite.

        Even an 11-1 thrashing is only one loss. Frustrating? Yes. Disappointing? Yes. Unexpected? Yes. Mind-boggling? Yes. Is it the end of the world? No, we can’t even see it from here.

        90 wins is a heckuva improvement for TOR. Are they capable? Yes. Will they get it together in time to reach such a lofty goal? If I knew the answer to that… Let me put it succinctly: I’d rather they go 3-6 in the first nine than the last nine.

      • 7 @ALEastbound April 11, 2013 at 10:03 pm

        The AL East bet was tough this year. Toronto was a heavy favourite (moved by a ton of action from Jays fans I’m sure) but I really never considered taking the bet. Even come August my guess is the division will be WIDE open. Even the Yanks will be better when they get healthy (Pineda, Jeter, Granderson etc).

        One thing, how great is Andy Pettitte? Dude is still dealing…

      • 8 Wes Kepstro April 11, 2013 at 10:28 pm

        The problem I have with the NYY is: (1) the rest of the staff between CC/Pettitte/Kuroda and Mo; and (2) their age. They spent a bundle but they’re not necessarily better, just perhaps good enough to stay in the mix.

        Right now Cervelli (1.064 OPS), Youkilis (1.141 OPS), Wells (1.187 OPS), and Hafner (.975 OPS) are playing above expectations.


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