Friday, August 3, 2012

August 2: Oakland 4, Jays 1

Jays can't score - tough outing against Colon

The Blue Jays are without Jose Bautista, JP Arencibia, and Adam Lind, and the walk came back to haunt the team.

It's difficult to win games when you walk people. Toronto leads the AL with 374, 90 more than league leading Texas. That's like giving up one more hit per game. And walks wear out the pitchers, forcing them to throw more pitches, not only to the player at bat, but at the next AB.

Alvarez walked 5 in 5 innings, but none of the walks that Alvarez threw resulted in runs. Alvarez's three earned runs happened in the bottom of the 3rd due to a single, wild pitch, single (to score 1) and a Josh Reddick home run.

Delabar came on in the 6th , and perhaps Oakland had seen alot of him in AL West play, but he looked shaky with two walks and a wild pitch, but got out of the innings without damage.

Happ came on in the 7th inning, and ran into trouble right away, giving up two walks and a single before giving up a bases loaded single to Brandon Inge. The ball was hit to short centre allowing Rasmus to preserve a second run from scoring.

As with most major league starters, the first inning is the 2nd hardest inning to pitch (the sixth is the hardest). JA Happ is no exception -- players OPS is .838 in the first inning, and he gives up .54 walks in the first inning pitched. It takes preparation to start, so when JA Happ is in the bullpen, he needs to prepare and be sharp for that relief appearance. But if JA Happ wants to win a place back in the rotation three things needs to happen: a starter must fail; Happ needs to be stretched out to be able to throw 80 or so pitches in a start; Happ needs to demonstrate that he's good enough to start a game. Well, Happ threw 51 pitches in yesterday's appearance over two innings and 49 pitches 10 days before that, and just hasn't been very good.

On the offensive side, the Jays couldn't put anything together against Colon, sprinking 7 singles over 8 very good innings pitched by the veteran. The Jays only got runners to scoring position in three innings, and their best hope before the 9th was in the 2nd inning when the Jays loaded the bases with two outs, but Rajai hit into a ground ball to end the rally.

The Jays did threaten in the 9th. Moises Sierra got his first RBI as he beat out a double play ball to score Cooper who hit a double into the gap in left to start the inning. Then Lawrie got a single to put the tying at bat in Colby Rasmus on board. Colby hit into a fielder's choice at 2nd to end the game.

With left-handed Doolittle (not their closer) on the mound with one out, I thought the Jays made an interesting choice in batting Moises for Gose. This forced the As to go to their closer righty Ryan Cook to get the final two outs. Now Moises bats right and Gose bats left, and the choice to bat Moises to get a righty-lefty matchup makes sense.

But when you look at the numbers, Doolittle's numbers against lefties are reversed: against lefties he's sporting an OPS of 1.006 while against righties, the OPS is .394. And, Doolittle is a rookie. So, why force the closer to come on who has a fairly equal OPS against righties and lefties at around .490. Sure, Cook walks people at a rate of .5 / inning but he's a far better pitcher.  

But why force the situation? By the numbers, the lefty in Gose should fare better against Doolittle, and Gose has speed. I just think this was the correct choice given the situation. You want to leave in Doolittle, who was struggling, as long as possible, and to force in your closer takes away the opportunity to win.

The Jays are at the lowest point of the season so far, at three games below .500 and 5 and a half out of the 2nd wild card. They are without three of their bigger bats, and they are playing in a pitcher's park. The Jays are a home run hitting team, but they have to manufacture runs on the west coast ballparks. To do that, the players need to relax and not feel so much pressure to perform (Lawrie says there is no pressure) with the injury outages. I think if they can put one win on the board tonight or tomrorrow in Oakland, they'll win the next game too.

No comments:

Post a Comment