Just when you thought it was over, the Jays loaded the bases in the 8th and 9th innings Tuesday night with none and one out and failed to cash a single run. They also grounded into three double plays to retake the league lead.
The funny thing is the Jays offensive woes haven’t really gone anywhere at all. Coming into today’s game, here are their numbers for April and May:
So they’ve been slightly better with RISP, but still rather terrible. Their pitching has been similar, with a 3.75 ERA in April and a 3.65 in May. So what has lead to a 12-6 (12-7, now) May and an 11-17 April? The answer is one-run games. In April, the Jays were 2-8, and in May they are 5-1. And that, sadly, is mostly luck. So don’t buy talk of a turnaround- if the Jays keep playing the way they are now, they will be not quite as bad as they were in April, but not as good as they’ve been in May.
As for tonight, obviously both pitchers had good stuff so instead I’m going to pitch f/x the location two key pitches- first, Shannon Stewart’s GIDP, partly because the phrase “Shannon Stewart DP” is going to triple my traffic overnight, but also because without looking at the pitch, I 100% guarantee it’s an inside fastball:
Argh! He’s moved on to Curveballs smack down the middle. Anyway, I bring this up because Shanny now has 8 double plays in 113 at-bats. At this rate, it’s only going to take him 508 at bats to smash the all-time single-season record of 36 GIDP (which took Jim Rice 657 AB). I don’t think DP’s are as fatal a flaw as John Brattain does in his latest MSN article, but that’s just ridiculous for a pretty quick player- and almost all of them are on him predictably getting jammed inside with fastballs.
Brattain also mentions how the Jays don’t swing at the first pitch very often. He’s right in general, though I don’t think it’s the cause of the RISP woes because the Jays actually swing at more first (and other) pitches with RISP. But what did catch my eye is that with RISP and three balls, the Jays are hitting .165. Unbelievable! For some reason, they’re working the count in their favour and then choking on mostly grooved fastballs. Like this one to Alex Rios to end the game: