Nuke Laloosh Rides Again
Well that was a painful way to follow up sweeping the World Series champions. Hard to call that a game that “should have been won” seeing that the Jays didn’t pitch (or field) particularly well, but if baseball worked like it does in the movies no team would lift itself heroically off the mat twice only to lose to a couple of dinky two-out hits.
The real story of course is A.J. Burnett. I am reminded of a poem:
“There was a little girl, who had a little curl, straight in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good, she was very, very, good. And when she was bad she was HORRID”.
Remember all that talk about pitching, mixing in the changeup, etc? Be careful what you wish for. THAT was A.J. Burnett without his Cy stuff and trying to pitch. He threw more changeups than he ever has in a game, mixed in plenty of first-pitch offspeed stuff, pretty much tried everything in his arsenal to stop the bleeding. Maybe that whole “be like Doc” idea is a bit of a lost cause. Go ahead and chuck the ball with your eyes closed, Nuke, and we’ll accept that this sort of thing happens from time to time. Because there is no B game. Straight from A to F.
I’m not going to foul this page with the graphic that is the pitch f/x chart, but suffice it to say that just like last week, A.J’s Curveball wasn’t curving. In the first inning he threw an 1-2 curveball that Barton poked to left for the game’s first hit that made me stand up and try to figure out who was actually on the mound, because there is no WAY a noodle that limp came from Burnett’s arm. Two pitches later he threw a hanger for the ages that started the parade of extra-base hits. The 96 mph low and away fastball that sailed straight to the backstop was also entertaining.
Also of note:
- Brandon League finally made his first appearance of the year. They must not have full confidence in him yet- there was some talk about him being a setup guy, but he was warming up in the 4th (Frasor was up in the third, which makes him the mop-up man again, poor bastard). He came in throwing as well as he ever has, slinging 97 mph sinking fastballs like he used to. But his offspeed stuff seemed inconsistent, and he dropped down to 94-95 and threw 8/9 pitches for balls before Arnsberg went out to the mound and straightened him out in time for the last out.
- Brian Tallet has some serious trouble fielding his position. Last year in a critical situation (Yankees?), the same thing happened- a third out hit to Overbay, but Tallet could not get over in time to cover first base (The problem is he falls off the mound and then is totally out of position and moving the wrong way). It happened twice this game- the first play he barely made it in time, and then the second (not a great throw by Eckstein, but Tallet was moving the wrong way, not on the bag, and had his feet backwards anyway) resulted in a two-run error that was the difference in the game.
- I guess Embree is their setup man, but putting in a lefty in the 8th to face the heart of the Jays’ lineup? Did someone not get the memo? I was still laughing when Vernon smashed a double, and then the Dome just went bezerk when Thomas came to the plate for his blast. Doesn’t it feel strange to have a heart of the lineup that beats occasionally? Vernon has put more good swings on good pitches so far this season than he did all of last year.
- Scutaro may have stolen our hearts with his “steal every time you get on base” routine, but errr…has anyone noticed he’s hitting .150, and slugging….errr, .150. Sure results mean nothing at this point, but they are somewhat backed up by the fact that the ball is making a “thwup” sound off his bat. Right now there is a J-Mac sized hole in the lineup without the killer D to make up for it.
- Along similar lines, is it too soon to make fun of Stew for being branded a “pure hitter” (like it’s currently so fashionable to do to Eck for being “scrappy”)? Ok, a couple months. But he’s not making solid contact. Even in BP he doesn’t have the power needed to be passable in LF. Did I mention Adam Lind is hitting .412/.476/.647 in AAA?
- There was another series of pretty serious fights in the stands. This could be a problem soon- what’s to stop some punks who aren’t even watching the game from forfeiting their 2$ ticket for a little highly-intoxicated public brawling? The men in yellow are clearly terrified teenagers who wait until it’s over and then point and politely escort people out. I think if you really want to nip this in the bud you need a pack of evil bouncers who suddenly materialize, wade in and drag them out rather unpleasantly (see: Bills games)