If you missed the game yesterday, you missed a bit of everything.
Finally, John Gibbons started Maicer Izturis at SS and Emilio Bonifacio at 2B. Thank you – it’s about time. The offence had the long ball going, as the Blue Jays hitters bashed four homers. But then the Jays squandered a 5-2 lead and allowed the Orioles to tie the game and force extra innings. Gibbons got tossed in the 9th by defending Brett Lawrie (who was arguing balls and strikes – big surprise). Jose Bautista made an error when he lost a routine fly ball and fans across the country were thinking “here we go again”. But Rajai Davis saved the day by throwing out the walk off run at the plate in the bottom of the 10th to set up a go ahead bases loaded walk to Izturis to take the lead. Casey Janssen was spectacular again, tossing a 1-2-3 inning with two K’s.
But I want to talk about something else. With the offence struggling, why are the Jays not trying to manufacture more runs? In two of the past four games, the Jays have had a situation where Munenori Kawasaki comes to the plate with one out and runners on 1st and 3rd. He is the definition of a slap hitter and more often then not hits a ball on the ground and hope it sneaks through a hole or he can beat it out. Why not bunt up the first base line? The 1B is glued to the bag to hold the runner and can’t charge the ball, you guarantee a run, move the trail runner into scoring position with two out, and play for a two run inning. Chances are Kawasaki is going to hit a ground ball somewhere and it’s important to stay out of the double play. Not bunting in these two situations makes no sense to me.
In the two cases, a bunt would have accomplished more than what transpired. In the first, Kawasaki hit a sac fly. Great. We scored a run. But we could have scored a run AND moved the trail runner into scoring position. Wasted opportunity. In the second, Kawasaki hit into a double play and ended the inning. Even worse.
If I look at the current starting nine, at the very least the Jays should be bunting in this situation with either Kawasaki or Izturis at the plate. I might even do it with others like Davis or Bonifacio depended on the situation.
Everyone in the lineup save maybe the 3-4-5 hitters should be capable of pulling off this play on a major league team, in my opinion. The Tampa Bay Rays use this play all the time and have more wins in the past five years then any other team besides the Yankees and Phillies. With a stuttering offence, it’s time to take the guaranteed runs when they are there.