Blue Jays 2, (Devil) Rays 3
Deep breathing, that’s the key. Nice, deep breathing. In through the nose…hold…out through the mouth… Focus on how the lungs are filling with air…then the release, and notice how the body softens and relaxes… Picture a calm blue sea…hear the seabirds, feel the salt spray…
There now, isn’t that better?
No. Me neither.
One and four. They’re one and four. But, I’m not going to panic. I’m really not.
Except I kind of am.
Bad enough they lost (again), in a close game (again), in extra innings (again), after having and missing their chances (again), to a division rival (again)…oh, who the heck am I kidding, that’s all bad enough without anything else.
But…no…there is more. Ick. First: welcome to the big leagues Casey Lawrence, here’s the deep end, just jump right in and have fun with that. Poor kid, I feel for him, I really do. I’m pretty sure I saw the moment when he lost complete confidence in his pitches during that last at bat (you know, when he walked in the walk off run? It’s taken me seven paragraphs to get to that). By the time the count was three and two I already knew he was going to walk him. Like I said, though, I feel for the guy.
And then there’s also (and I hope finally), this:
Two for twenty-two is really, really not good and Wilner’s right (it pains me to admit this, but he usually is), it’s not going to happen very often. But that doesn’t change the fact that last night it did, which sucks because Sanchez was Sanchezing away, which is a really pretty thing to watch, and to have it all go for naught is pretty painful.
Now, to be fair, seventeen of those twenty-two at bats were against Archer and I would never ever fault anyone for failing to get a hit off of Archer. He is, so far as I am concerned, the very definition of greatness in a pitcher. But then again, in the first at bat after he came out of the game, with Ezequiel Carrera on second, José Bautista went up against Tommy Hunter who is, so far as I am concerned, the very definition of garbage in a pitcher, and this…this…is what happened:
Three pitches, two of them junkball curves, and one of those right in Bautista’s wheelhouse, and the bat never even left his shoulder. Just…ick. Because, really, on the whole, in spite of a solid spring Bautista has looked pretty terrible to open the season: he struck out four more times last night bringing his season’s total to nine, tying him with Josh Donaldson for the team lead. While Donaldson, though, continues to get on base and drive in runs, Bautista has been just dismal on that particular front: of the twenty baserunners he’s had this season, one…one…has come around to score. You have to go back to 2004 when he played for the Orioles, the Devil Rays, the Royals and the Pirates to find a performance that bad in his line.
Yes, sure, OK, I know, very small sample size. But it’s still pretty frustrating.
Now, I don’t want necessarily to single Bautista out, there’s been a lot of shoddy hitting so far this season (and even it’s outright absence: looking at you Mr Russell Martin), but Bautista is batting third in this lineup. How many of those four losses could have been wins if he weren’t hitting so poorly? Two? Three? Possibly. The margins have been so narrow, it wouldn’t have taken much to win them.
Like getting a single solitary little hit off garbage Tommy Hunter.
But to do that, José, you have to take the bat off your shoulder.