There is still a bit of a buzz around Blue Jays nation following a move made by manager John Gibbons on April 16th. Gibbons brought Rajai Davis off the bench to pinch hit for Colby Rasmus – and three days later everyone is still asking “what if”…
Rasmus had been 2-2 with a homer, but was about to face a lefty. He hasn’t had many at bats vs. lefties this season, but is just 2-10 (.200 avg) with 7 K’s. Yikes. Davis, on the other hand, is 5-12 vs. lefties (.417 avg) and only hitting .200 vs. righties. Seems like a natural move to make in a tie game, right?
But Rasmus has unbelievable power and it’s hard to take a homerun guy – who is the winning run – out of a game. Also, Rasmus is by far the best defensive CF on the team. And when Emilio Bonifacio took a bad route to a ball in CF moments later, the media and fans jumped all over Gibbons.
But here’s the more puzzling move (or non-move)…..
Why did Gibbons not bring in Casey Janssen to pitch the 9th in a tie game at home? When at home you won’t get a save situation in extras, so you might as well throw your best reliever at the opposition in the 9th – your closer – and hope to score in the bottom of the 10th. Gibbons is starting to make a habit of throwing one-inning guys multiple innings. It worked when Aaron Loup pitched 3 inning of 9 up, 9 down ball. It obviously did not work when Steve Delabar pitched (or tried to pitch) 2 innings on April 16th. I didn’t mind stretching out Loup as much because we had a 4 run lead. But in a tie….use one-inning guys for one-inning and play for the home half.
Davis or Rasmus late in a tie game vs. a lefty – that move gets questioned either way and frankly I have no problem with either. If Davis had of got on a stole a base or two, nobody would be saying anything about the swap. It’s just a move that backfired and those will happen over 162 games to any manager. It’s the bullpen use that I’m questioning here, which is thought to be a strength of Gibbons.
Overall, I think Gibbons has done a good job managing the early overused bullpen. But let’s all keep our eyes on whether he starts using our one-inning guys for one inning.